“Robert, I have been looking for a home for some time now and we just can’t seem to have any luck finding either finding a place, or getting our offers accepted. We look and look and when we find homes that we like, we immediately call the listing agent and have them show it to us and our agent is quick to respond with an offer but we keep getting beat out. Any advice would be appreciated.” – Frustrated Home Buyer
If I had a dollar for every time I got a similar email from a frustrated homebuyer in today’s market, well, you know the rest…
The thing is, many of today’s homebuyers are in a similar situation where they think they are doing everything they can to find and buy a home but are in reality getting farther and farther away from making it happen.
One of the biggest mistakes that homebuyers make today is having other agents go out and show them homes only to have an agent that is waiting for the buyer to find the home write up the offer, and get paid for what someone else did.
When I got my real estate license almost 30 years ago, I could not wait to go out and show homes to buyers. I thought it was:
- A lot of fun seeing other homes and it increased my knowledge of local inventory and trends.
- It allowed me to see the type of homes my buyers liked and did not have me showing homes to them that they already showed me that they did not like.
- It allowed me to see the home and neighborhood and be able to comment and give my opinion on certain factors that my buyers would ask me about.
- It was my job and my duty to show my buyers homes. That is part of what an agent does.
Almost 30 years later, none of the 4 important items above have changed for me. But with the Internet coming full force in the 90’s, a lot of things changed such as public MLS information that we as real estate agents used to have exclusive access to. Although many in the real estate industry thought it was “dooms day” for real estate agents, I embraced it and thought that it would enhance our ability to help clients and it would add more to the industry then it would take away from it.
The thing is, although information is out there, you still need to have an agent that is willing to get out there with you and see these homes. Think about it; How can I as a real estate agent give a buyer information or a professional opinion on a home and neighborhood that I have never seen? How can I know what my client wants and likes, and what they don’t like if I do not take the time to meet with them and not only discuss this with them, but actually go out and show them homes and have them tell me things that are “must haves” or absolute “deal breakers” if I have not experienced seeing the homes with them?
The thing is, I can’t. I feel as a real estate agent that if I am not showing my buyers homes, if I am not previewing them to determine if this is a good home for them before I waste their time and show it to them, then I am not earning my commission. If I am not out there trying to find them a home by knocking on doors, talking to other agents and using my network of people, in addition to constantly checking MLS along with them, then I am short changing them.
In addition, if I am a listing agent on a property and I get a home buyer who wants me to go out and show them homes because their agent is not local or does not have the time to show it to them, although I am happy to do whatever it takes to get people into my client’s homes so that it sells, there is no loyalty to the buyer whatsoever because they are not my client, the home seller is as the buyer already told me they have another agent. Even when buyers don’t tell me they have another agent, experience allows me to figure it out. In fact, there are a lot of agents who actually get annoyed that they are showing property to buyers for other agents and I can’t say that I blame them.
My advice is that if you are wanting to buy a home and truly want a competitive edge in a competitive market like we have today, commit to and work with a local and knowledgeable agent who knows the local market, who is accessible, who is not afraid to knock on doors for you, who networks with fellow agents and is networked with enough people that he or she can find you a home even if it is not yet on the market. There are times when you may see an Open House before your agent does, or for some reason your agent cannot show you homes on a particular day because we as agents can’t also always be on call at every minute of the day and night, as much as we try to be. But if you have an agent that is telling you to go find a home and let them know when you find one so that they can write the offer, consider looking for a different agent who is not afraid to work and get a little dirty.
Hey, if I had all the agents in the industry showing my clients homes and all I had to do was write up offers in between vacations, bike rides and walks with my family, I can honestly say that I would just not feel good about it. There is something to be said about earning your pay.