R.O.C.K.I.N.G Real Estate Agents - I is for Investigative
Hello everyone, had enough rain? Good grief! Well, back again to discuss another characteristic of good real estate agents; investigative.
Working with a Realtor is sort of like working with a private investigator and not all are of equal skill and passion. But if you're going to buy a home, there's a lot of investigating to do.
You, as a buyer or seller should really investigate the agent you're thinking of working with, so, investigation starts with you.
A real estate agent should begin their investigation with the buyer or seller and I'd like to talk about this from both vantages.
Investigative for Buyers and Sellers
Starting with a buyer (and this actually helps sellers) an agent needs to ask quite a few questions. First of all, don't get insulted, but a good agent is going to ask you about your finances and credit, but also if you have talked with a lender and gotten pre-approved yet. You'll find nearly all real estate agents are loath to work with buyers who haven't taken the time to get pre-approved.
If not pre-approved, a good real estate agent will probe about credit score and financing means. They'll ask buyers if they have charge-offs, foreclosures, repossessions and ask for an idea of the debt-to-income ratio and also what a buyer has to work with for a down payment. Don't be offended by these questions, it's in your best interest and to get you moving in the right direction.
In the time it takes a buyer to get pre-approved a home will likely sell to an already prepared buyer, especially if it's priced right and in-line with fair market value. Going back to the previous post in this blog series, good real estate agents are knowledgeable and that includes keeping a small army of lenders in their back pocket with the loan products to suit different financial needs and different types of real estate transactions.
Some homes can be bought with low and no money down financing, but not all. A real estate agent needs to find out if a home qualifies for USDA or VA financing, or whether or not local or state programs like OHFA down payment assistance can apply.
Good buyer;s agents are on top of and constantly investigating city and county programs and grants.
Now, let's say you're done with all that, armed with a pre-approval letter and requesting showings. If you're smart, you'll work with a buyer's agent whose job is to protect you and save you money. Remember, the listing agent promised to net as much as possible for the seller. This too, is where a Realtors investigative skills come into play.
You or may not care exactly where the property lines are. You might want to have a small herd of pigs or sheep or need a place for a horse and unsure if a city (or your type of financing method) will allow it.
Good agents are going to discover everything they can about a property to present to legitimately interested buyers. What if there's an undesirable development planned near your prospective home, like a wrecking yard or a liquor store? You may thing twice but wouldn't you want to know about it before-hand?
There are so many other things an agent may need to research; perhaps water rights, easements, covenants and other restrictions that may pose a problem. Getting answers for clients in a timely responsive fashion is major factor for success of both agent and client.
How does being Investigative help Sellers?
On the flip side of the coin, at the outset a good real estate agent is going to probe about your time frame to sell and the reason for selling. This is one of the most important factors to understand before an agent decides whether or not to list a home and determining the target asking price. Not understanding a seller's time frame and goals is a huge mistake on the part of the agent. You don't just "wing it".
The agent runs a CMA or comparative market analysis (comps) matching feature to feature as close as possible in a tight radius and pulls reports for expired (overpriced and did not sell), sold prices and asking prices to give a seller a low, median and upper price range. The lower range is for those sellers who need to get the property moved in a hurry, perhaps because a job or move to another community or state is in the works or they may have an urgent need of funds for one reason or another.
The median range is for sellers who wish to net more but still can't wait around for lengthy time periods for the home sell, while the upper range suggested is for sellers that can afford to sit on the property and want to net as much as possible and unhindered by time constraints and comfortable with a longer wait time.
Top notch agents also investigate all the marketing they can, determining what's effective and what isn't, and employ the best avenues for their client. There's a lot more to marketing a home than just placing it in the MLS and sticking a sign in the yard. Ask about the agent's marketing plan, tools and technology.
Good investigative listing real estate agents will also probe the buyer's agents about offers to make sure everything that can be known about the buyer's financial capability is passing for a confident offer.
Good Real Estate Agents R.O.C.K.I.N.G. (summary of good characteristics)