It’s a good time to buy a house. Many homebuyers are first timers. In fact. 32% wanting to buy new homes are first time homebuyers.
Buying a home is a complex process and one that should be done in consultation with a professional. When buying a house and using a professional real estate agent, it’s good to remember, or to learn for the first time, a few simple things about the home buying process.
- Real estate agents are paid a commission. Nearly all agents work on commission, not salary, therefore, they are not paid unless a sale is made. Do not have an agent do the legwork for you and then not involve him or her in the sale.
- Be prompt. When your real estate agent has made an appointment, be on time. Do leave her waiting as you zig-zag your way through traffic because you are late. Call your agent to let her know you will be late, if that will be the case.
- Listing agent and buying agent. There are agents who work for the seller–these are listing agents, and there are agents who work for the buyer (you). Involving a listing agent in the buying process sets up a conflict of interest. Keep the two types of real estate agents separate.
- Open house. Professional courtesy requires that the buyer arrives with his or her agent to an open house, not alone. Whomever is hosting the open house should know that you are represented by an agent already. You may hand your real estate agent’s business card to either the listing or buying agent, so that she is made aware. Often agents at open houses are seeking potential clients. Do not let her think you are one, if you’re not. If you have questions, let your agent ask her. This is considered good form.
- A broker’s agreement. Sign a broker’s agreement with the buying agent you have hired. If you do not want to sign an agreement, do not involve the agent in showing you homes. Also, ask about release clauses from the agreement in case you are not satisfied. Both agent and homebuyer’s wishes should be respected.
- Make your wishes clearly known. Your agent should know what you expect. For example, if you want to be chauffeured to houses for sale, let her know this. Also, let your agent know your communication preferences. Should she communicate via text message, email, phone call, or video chat? Let her know your expectations on how long it will take to find a home. Be clear with your agent and ask her questions, if you have them.
- Sign forms with understanding. Do not sign a form if you have not read it nor understand it. This is buyer 101. There is no shame in not understanding something on an agreement. The agent’s job is to know and to explain any questions to her client. Ask your agent questions about the house buying process, but avoid asking her legal questions. She is not a lawyer.
- Be serious about buying if you hire an agent. Do not request the services of a real estate agent if you are only house shopping and not serious about buying anytime soon. You may attend open houses but let it be known that you are only “shopping” and not a serious house buying candidate.
These are 8 tips or etiquette tips for homebuyers. It’s important to do your homework both in hiring a real estate agent and in buying a house. These items will help prepare you for the home buying process with a professional real estate agent.