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What to Expect From a Listing or Buyer’s Agent

May 23rd, 2008 by Sari Levy

When looking for a real estate agent, there are different tasks you should expect your agent to help with completing, depending on whether you are buying or selling.  

BUYING   - when you are working with a buyer agent, an agent should: 

  1. Understand your needs and desires for your purchase.  The agent should spend some time getting to know you to ensure that he or she is providing you with the information tailored to your needs.
  2. Help you understand how much you can afford to comfortably spend.
  3. Help ensure you are pre-approved for a loan and connect you with qualified lenders.
  4. Be knowledgeable about any special funding or home buyer grants available to you for your purchase.
  5. Routinely provide you with information regarding the properties on the market that meet your specified criteria.  The information can be shared with you in many ways.  Let your agent know your preferred communication method and times.
  6. Plan and attend your “house-hunting” days.  Provide you with maps of the properties to ensure that your time is spent wisely.  Research and provide detailed information on any properties you are touring.  This sort of information could be related to taxes, zoning, property specific features or any number of items.  More information lends to the ability of making an educated decision.
  7. Use their experience to obtain any relevant information from the selling agent if it is not publicly documented.
  8. Once you have identified property, guide you through the offer process and write an offer and present the offer to the selling agent
  9. Negotiate – Help you write the offer that will get your property for the best possible price.  Review the merits and drawbacks of any counter offer.
  10. Identify several qualified attorneys to represent you in the transaction, work with the attorney throughout the process.
  11. Discuss the benefits of a home inspection  and identify several qualified home inspectors.
  12. Understand and coordinate any required inspections in the area where the property is being purchased.
  13. Attend home inspection to ensure all of your concerns are investigated.
  14. Work with lender to schedule and attend appraisal.
  15. Maintain continuous contact with the selling agent and all parties throughout the process.
  16. Foresee and communicate unusual issues or circumstances.
  17. Coordinate and attend final walkthrough to ensure all items identified in the inspection process are corrected and property is in as expected condition.
  18. Participate in closing to ensure follow through on all deal terms and to handle any last minute issues.

 SELLING – when you are working with a listing agent, an agent should:

  1. Offer you a fair commission rate.  The agent should make enough for the amount of work the agent is providing, not more.
  2. Explain the listing contract and terms; ensure you understand thoroughly  in order to establish a positive working relationship.
  3. Provide and guide you through the necessary property  disclosures for your review and signature.
  4. Offer the option of a home warranty, explain the benefits of the warranty and then obtaining it on your behalf.
  5. Provide you with a list of tasks to complete to ensure your home is in its best possible condition for marketing.  This could be as simple as remove all clutter or to complete a major repair such as adding a new roof.
  6. Enter property in MLS.
  7. Prospect MLS system for current potential buyers.  This is an often overlooked means of proactively connecting to your target market, people looking to buy homes similar to yours.
  8. Market your property via agreed upon channels.  Offer and implement creative channels.
  9. Put For Sale sign in yard to attract attention to your home.
  10. Coordinate and attend any brokers’ tours and Open Houses agreed upon.  Gather feedback from brokers and potential buyers.  Review the information with you and recommend any necessary property or pricing adjustments.
  11. Create high quality, comprehensive and informative brochures to market your home and ensure that you always have enough brochures on hand to give out to potential buyers.
  12. Take phone calls from selling agents, schedule and document all showings.  Use the opportunity to point out any special features of your property.
  13. Follow up with agents after showings, gather feedback, share with you and offer advice on any changes that would help in the sale of your home.
  14. Attend any second showings to personally gauge the interest of the buyer and help in the sales process.  Be aware that most buyers’ agents do not like this idea.
  15. Present offers and assist in the analysis of their merits and drawbacks.
  16. Manage title work by working with the title agent to ensure a clear title is provide to prevent any delays in the sale of your home.
  17. Provide HUD 1 statement at closing for your records.

 Things you should expect from both agents

  1. Constant communication throughout the process.  The agent is your eyes and ears during the home buying process, they should share information with you in a timely fashion.
  2. Education on steps of the process that you may not understand.
  3. Gathering other resources for you to access to help make an educated decision.
  4. Help you negotiate offers and assist in the merits and drawbacks of each offer submitted or received.
  5. Manage attorney.  Ensure that the attorney review process is handled within required time period and ensure any written communications to other party is shared with you.
  6. Fax paperwork to necessary parties whether it be the other agent, the lender, the appraiser, the inspector, the attorney or any other contractors.
  7. Manage buyer financing.  Routinely check in with lender to ensure no snags are encountered.  
  8. Coordinate closing and provide a list of the items you will need to bring to ensure a smooth closing.
  9. Inform you of any transfer stamp costs other village specific requirements that need to be handled to ensure a smooth closing.

The above is a sampling of the activities you can expect from a good real estate agent.  A smart agent will suprise you by doing much more!

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