Buyer’s Corner: Responsibilities In Communications Between Buyers And Agents, Factors To Consider

Thursday, 1 Sep 2011, 5:15:00 AM

Michael Edlen

Previous subjects we have covered in this column include the value of working with a buyer’s agent, some of the risks of buyers being represented by the seller’s agent, and home searching on one’s own versus with the assistance of a real estate agent.

Most agents know the value of clear and timely communications with their clients. This is likely because they have had extensive experience and/or training and practice in learning how to ask the right questions, be sensitive to their clients’ needs, and anticipate what information or solutions to challenges may be available.

Many agents have also learned a great deal about the importance of buyers being responsible for their part in communications throughout a transaction. Often buyers have unreasonable expectations, either of the marketplace or of their real estate agent. Others seem to feel that an agent should be a “mind reader,” and even anticipate what their needs or desires might be. It is crucial for a buyer to be reasonable, know what their preferences and requirements are, have some idea of their financing capabilities, and have a proper perspective of costs versus their values. It is also important for them to appreciate that some compromises or trade-offs are usually necessary.

For example, the agent may know a great deal about the local marketplace, histories of various listings on the market, specific issues pertaining to the neighborhood, the demographics or traffic patterns of a neighborhood, etc. However, if the buyer has not shared with the agent some features that are so important that there would be no compromise on them, or have an agenda item that they have not really identified or take for granted that the agent is not aware of, the search may become somewhat frustrating for both parties. It is not unusual for buyers to confuse strong needs and key criteria with mere wants and preferences. If the real estate agent does not ask deep enough questions, they may not be aware that they lack sufficient understanding of what the clients’ criteria are.

Some factors to be considered are:

• One’s personal lifestyle, for example, being sure that the neighborhood is reflective of their current situation and comfort level

• Consideration of the layout or floor plan of a home

• Being sensitive to any privacy issues, if that is of any importance

• Being mindful of repairs that the property may need, and the potential costs associated therewith

• Being clear about improvements that the buyer “wants” to make, and the realistic feasibility as well as potential costs of doing so

The various other costs involved in a home purchase process, including financing fees, moving expenses, home furnishings, etc.

One source of mistaken decisions is a pace that a home buyer may have. Some tend to fall in love with a home they feel is perfect, and rush to make a purchase proposal before anyone else can. Not infrequently they later discover the property needs far more repairs than they were first aware of, or there may be restrictions in that location that were not anticipated. Conversely, many buyers delay their enjoyment of a home, or end up with a purchase that is not as ideal as one they had seen previously, due to over-analysis and undue hesitation to at least make an effort to purchase the ideal home when the opportunity was present.

Thus, both the buyer and their agent have mutual responsibilities in the process, and unless both do their very best to be fully aware of all of the underlying issues, the home purchase may be far less satisfying to both of them.

Michael Edlen has been in the top 1% of all agents nationwide for 25 years and has successfully completed more than 950 transactions. He provides a broad range of real estate counseling and marketing services. He can be reached at 310.230.7373 or at Copies of previous articles are available upon request.

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