In a previous post I wrote about the D.A.N.G.E.R report, D.A.N.G.E.R stands for Definitive Analysis of Negative Game Changers Emerging in Real Estate. a report commissioned by the National Association of Realtors in 2015. In the report the authors created an index called a PTI measuring the Probability (P) of the danger to happen, the likely timing (T) of the danger and finally the impact (I) of each danger. Sadly, their findings and the largest threat to real estate agents with a high score of 100%:
“Masses of Marginal Agents Destroy Reputation”
“The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.”
In the spirit of celebrating the competent and savvy agent, I thought I would share just a few advantages to hiring a well trained and experienced agent that you may not have thought of; small nuances but ones that could make a huge difference to you when you find the perfect property and want to minimize the risk of losing it to a competing offer.
A savvy buyer’s agent will:
- Provide limited feedback to the listing agent if you have an interest in the property. “There may be interest” or “Thinking it over” is sufficient positive feedback. You don’t want your agent giving obsequious praise and revealing that you are in love with the property —If they know you “love it”, the assumption may be that you are also willing to pay full price for it or agree to less than stellar terms.
- Never compromise your bargaining position by revealing your housing situation to the other party, for instance, you are in a rental with 60 days remaining, you are having a baby and need more space. You get the idea, urgency can put you at a disadvantage when negotiating price and terms. You want to appear to be chill at all times, especially when you’re not!
- Instruct you to keep your comments, observations and enthusiasm to a minimum inside the home during a showing. Many people have security and nanny cams these days and although most will tell you they are not recording audio, I don't think that's likely. I heard of a situation where a buyer was overheard on video revealing their intention to purchase the home as an investment and rent it out— a home where the seller had made their preference to sell to an owner occupant abundantly clear. The buyer shot themselves in the foot.
These are just a few random advantages of hiring a professional real estate agent. A full-time career professional who is not likely to be supplementing their income from their “day job” in the hopes of selling a house or two a year to help pay their property taxes or student loans.
One caveat: Any relationship with a professional real estate agent requires a contract. In fact, most professional relationships require some sort of contract or agreement, real estate is no different.
Typically, at HST, we send clients the Buyer Counseling power point presentation or they come to the office prior to showings so we both know what the mutual expectations are and the terms of the representation agreement.
If you are a buyer who believes it is in your best interest to shop with listing agents, the listing agent is obligated by law to explain buyer agency to you and the options available to you for representation. If you choose not to be represented, you should be asked to sign an Unrepresented Persons Disclosure in which you acknowledge that the listing agent/company represents the sellers interests only and you are an unrepresented party. Here is a video produced by the National Association of Realtors explaining why you should sign a Buyer Representation Agreement.