Posted on 16 Nov 2020
A few days ago we were contacted by an out-of-state buyer, who was demanding, short-tempered, not particularly cooperative and even a little... overbearing. But after we spoke for a few minutes, he completely changed his attitude. It turns out, he had a bad experience with a realtor recently. This is what we said to him to change the situation around:
Look, we know you're upset and may think all realtors are incompetent and arrogant but that's not the case. It literally makes no sense for a real estate agent to not work in their client's best interest. First, there is the realtor code of ethics. Second, unhappy clients are bad for business. So agents and their clients interests are usually in harmony, not in conflict. There maybe a few greedy and myopic agents out there but we hope they are more of an exception rather than the rule. And third, life is just better and more fulfilling when you help others, and they are genuinely grateful as a result. Maybe a little corny, but true!
So, let’s discuss about the relationship between a homebuyer and their realtor. Surprisingly, too many people don’t realize how important this is to them, not only to their realtor.
Personal relationships matter as much as results. Mutual trust and respect between a home buyer and a real estate agent can go a long way, for both.
Of course, first, find yourself a good realtor. Interview at least two or three and make sure they are not only a trustworthy professional but also really know the area you’re interested in. Once you’ve chosen your personal representative, cultivate a good relationship with him or her. Keep in mind, they will be handling a large transaction on your behalf!
To do their job well, and to help you find that perfect house, your realtor is going to need to know a lot about you. They will need to know a lot of your personal information, including the facts about your financial health, possible job promotion (or demotion), changes in the family, including birth, death, and marriage, what you like and dislike in a house or community, sensitivity to noise and other nuisances, whether or not you expect many out of town guests, and so on. In short, they will try to learn as much as possible about anything that may have an impact on the type of home that’s going to work best for you.
You, in turn, shouldn’t take it as prying and hold back the information that's directly relevant to your house hunting. Help them help you! That is, as long as you trust them (and if you don’t trust them, it’s a non-starter anyway; find yourself another agent). Remember, realtors must abide by the NAR Realtor Code of Ethics not to disclose confidential information even after the termination of their services.
The lack of cooperation and trust between a homebuyer and their agent can actually be costly.
There are some home buyers that use an agent to see a bunch of available homes for sale and to narrow down their choices. Once they find a home they like, they ditch their agent and go directly to the seller’s side thinking they can save some money.
First, that’s just plain unethical.
Second, it’s not very smart either. If they are hoping to capture the part of the commission that would typically go to the buyer’s agent, guess what… it’s not going to happen. It will be the seller’s agent who will keep the whole thing. But now, these unrepresented buyers are basically entering into a high-stakes negotiation against an industry professional, who, if they are good, can use their knowledge of the market, contract timing, escrow deposits, negotiating closing costs, and even such things as the kick-out clause in… wait for it… their seller’s favor! Look, it’s the seller who pays them commission, so that’s who they will work for.
Also, not knowing such simple things as contract contingencies can be expensive for the buyer.
The other day one of us was talking to a parent at our kids’ soccer practice, who said they recently bought a house unrepresented. They confessed they were hoping to save the 3% that a buyer’s agent would normally get. They put down a large earnest money deposit, much more than the usual amount (because they didn’t know how much to put down), and later started having their doubts about the house.
Then, 5 (five!) days before closing, their bank says they needed to bring extra $60,000 to closing (the negotiated price was around $1.1 million). They had to scramble to come up with the extra cash, on a home they already soured on, but they worried they’d lose their deposit if they didn’t go through with the purchase. What they didn’t know is that the Florida “As Is” FR/BAR contract has a financing contingency that can let the buyer get out of the deal if their loan isn’t approved on specific terms. Chances are, they could have walked away from the contract without jeopardizing their deposit! But again, they didn’t know.
Furthermore, even though most homebuyers nowadays are well-informed and computer-savvy, they don’t know the local area, HOA, amenities, and floorplans as well as realtors do.
One of our clients really liked a neighborhood they were renting in and they were committed to buying only there. But when we found out about their lifestyle and preferences and convinced them to give another neighborhood a chance, they found a much better option and were very happy with their new home. By the way, if you’re looking to buy a home in Jupiter or Palm Beach Gardens, here is list of local communities with complete descriptions of key features, amenities, home prices, school zones, etc.
Remember: Knowledge Is Power! That’s why we founded this website to serve as a one-stop comprehensive information hub for home seller and buyers in the Palm Beaches. We have complete descriptions of 75+ local communities (adding more regularly), their main features, amenities, governing bodies, HOA fees, school zones, interactive maps, monthly market reports by neighborhood, and even video tours of specific neighborhoods.
It will be well worth your time!