Real estate agents love working with people, but there are always clients who may unintentionally cross the line. Here are a few simple protocols you can use while shopping for a home that will keep you out of hot water and on good terms with real estate agents. Especially your own agent.
Understand Agents Work on Commission
Very few real estate agents work on salary and if they do, you probably don’t want them.
Most real estate agents are paid a commission. If an agent does not close a transaction, he/she does not get paid. Agents are highly motivated to do a good job for you.
Agents are not public servants and do not work for free. Do not ask an agent to work for you if you intend to cut the agent out of your deal.
Keep Appointments and Be on Time
Be respectful, use common courtesy and don’t expect an agent to drop what they are doing to run out and show you a home. You are probably not that agent’s only prospect or client. And if you are, oh my.
Do not make an appointment with an agent and then not show up.
If you are running late, call and let your agent know when you expect to arrive.
Choose a Real Estate Agent
Decide whether you want to work without representation, dealing directly with listing agents, or if you want to hire your own agent.
If you decide to hire your own agent, interview agents to find an agent with whom you are comfortable.
If you are interviewing agents, let each agent know you are in the interview stage.
Never intentionally interview two different agents from the same company.
Do Not Call the Listing Agent If You Are Working With a Buying Agent
If a listing agent shows you the property, the listing agent will expect to represent you. Ethics prevent a listing agent from showing preferential treatment. If you ask a listing agent to do you a favor and try to discount the price, it’s comprising integrity.
Listing agents do not want to do the buying agent’s job. Let your buyer’s agent do their job.
Practice Open House Protocol
Ask your agent if it’s considered proper for you to attend open houses alone. In some areas, it’s frowned upon to go to open houses unescorted.
Hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the open house. Sometimes this agent will be the listing agent, but often it is a buyer’s agent also looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you.
Do not ask the open house host questions about the seller or the seller’s motivation. Let your agent ask those questions for you. Your agent will probably use a different approach that works.
Sign a Buyer’s Broker Agreement With a Buying Agent
Expect to sign a buyer’s broker agreement. It creates a relationship between you and the agent and explains the agent’s duties to you, and vice versa.
If you’re not ready to sign with a buyer’s broker, do not ask that agent to show you homes. Otherwise, a procuring clause may pop up.
Make Your Expectations Known
If you expect your agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell her. Many will provide that service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office.
Let your agent know how you want her to communicate with you and how often. Do you want phone calls, emails, text messages, or all of the above?
Set realistic goals and a time frame to find your home.
Ask your agent how you can help by supplying feedback. If you are displeased, say so. Please. Agents want to make you happy. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Do Not Sign Forms You Do Not Understand
Do not feel silly for asking your agent to explain a form to you. It’s their job. Many forms are second nature to agents but not to you, so ask for explanations until you are satisfied you understand.
Realize agents are not lawyers and cannot interpret law. Don’t ask agents to give a legal opinion, prefaced by the statement you are not asking for a legal opinion.
Be Ready to Buy
If you aren’t ready to buy, you don’t need a real estate agent just yet. If you are ready to act and start the buying process if possible, hire a babysitter to care for children who are too young to stay out all morning or afternoon touring homes. Your full attention is needed when you are out with an agent looking to buy a home.