When I first got started selling real estate 36 years ago, representing a buyer who was interested in purchasing a home was sometimes mystifying, so to speak! The seller understood, in an informal way, you were working for them; but the buyer with whom you drove around, had lunch with, and developed a relationship with, thought you were working for them. In many cases, it got to the point that the realtor wasn't even sure what the proper protocol was.
In 1992 the Department of State made it very easy to differentiate the two. They put in writing a disclosure form that is required to be shared with the buyer, outlining where the fiduciary responsibility lies.
FIDUCIARY? Yikes . . . what’s that about? It’s stating that the Agent is required to keep the Sellers and Buyers information protected. Meaning, the Agent is not allowed to give out any information to either party that is not related to the transaction.
When buying a home, one of the first things you should request from a potential Real Estate Agent, is a comprehensive consultation. This Agent should listen to your concerns (that’s why Agents have one mouth and two ears) and understand your needs as much as your wants. You need to make sure your personalities fit. There is nothing worse than having to deal with someone that you clash with and can potentially get on your nerves!!!
Your Agent should understand the market that you are looking in. They should have the ability to spend time with you so that you are provided the TLC needed during this process. Being an expert in the real estate market is a nice claim to fame, but all that matters is that your Agent be knowledgeable of your particular situation.
No investigative work can be stronger than meeting a potential Agent face to face. At this consultation you should be able to have a clear understanding of the Agency Disclosure, the Buyer Broker Agreement, a pre-approval versus pre-qualification letter, what is a direct lender, what does it mean to “go into escrow” (or escarole as my grandfather used to say), and what exactly will your agent be doing on your behalf.
What skill sets should you look for?
Communication: How do you like to communicate? Make sure that your Agent is comfortable texting, or e-mailing you to communicate, if that is your preference.
Listening Skills: Your agent needs to be able to listen to what you're saying and what you want, and then convert that to provide a selection of homes that fits your needs.
Reconnaissance: The Agent should be familiar with how to access new listings, listing updates and has the dexterity to quickly manage searches on the fly.
Negotiation: The art of negotiation is a talent. Every buyer is looking for the best deal and every seller is looking for the highest price. Your Agent should be able to adapt to a style of negotiation that you are comfortable with and that has your best interest in mind.
Networking: A good Real Estate Agent will have an arsenal behind them. Providing Buyers with options for hiring reliable real estate attorneys, home inspectors, mortgage lenders, movers, clean out services, home improvement contractors, pool companies, etc. will shorten the process.
It is also important to consider if this Agent will help guide you in making the right offer on a home you are interested in, dealing with a counter offer, and preparing paperwork once your offer has been accepted. They should assist in providing you information about the monies you will need to go to into contract, and the time frame in which you can expect to close. Your Agent should also be available for home and termite inspections, and appraisals when needed.
So in conclusion, whether you are buying for the first time or the fifth, search for an Agent who understands you and your real estate needs, and who will be there when you need them.
Fran & Frank Reali, Owners -BHGRE Safari Realty
(718) 442-5200 www.safarirealtyonline.com