Does your agent avoid using the "B" word? If your agent doesn’t hold a Buyers Consultation with you, how does he/she understand your unique needs, wants and desires?
Is he/she just emailing you listings as they come out? If so, that’s an Internet agent, and one that may not personally working for you, the buyer. A Buyers Consultation lays the foundation for your strategy and direction towards purchasing that special home.
A home will probably be your biggest purchase, so you need someone who can assess your needs and help you, not only to find the home, but to receive an accepted offer.
When you’re buying a car or even a sofa, you’re not walking into their business just to say, “show me everything you have.” You’ll explain what you’re looking for… the color, design, options and price. Hopefully, the sales person will show items that fit your criteria. So it is the same with real estate! Your needs and parameters are discussed in your Buyers Consultation.
Here’s what happens during a Buyers Consultation:
- Your loan and pre-qualification is reviewed so everyone is clear about the price point and length of the escrow period. If it’s an FHA loan, different requirements should be discussed for single family homes and especially condos. If it’s a VA loan, different terms apply between the buyers and sellers. Your agent will also want to contact your lender so they can discuss the loan, down payment, escrow period, appraisal, etc.
- Your motivation has to be discussed. What’s your reason for moving and your timeframe? Do you need to get out of a lease within 60 days or do you have the flexibility to stay until you find a place? Do you have to sell in order to buy?
- What geographical areas do you prefer, and are your price expectations reasonable for that area?
- The biggest part of the Consultation is the discussion of the home you want. Questions pertaining to size, bed and bath count and affordability are discussed. How about lot size or living on a corner. What’s the most important wow factor about the house? Is it the kitchen or the master bedroom? Is it privacy or maybe you want a pool.
- What’s the best time to look for a home? If there are two buyers, both decision makers should be able to find a time to view homes, so there’s no delay. In a sellers’ market, delays can challenge the acceptance of an offer.
- Most buyers will have the usual questions: What is the escrow process, and what happens during that time? What are contingencies, and how do they affect us? Can we lose our 3% deposit? Can we walk away at any time? How are foreclosures and short sales different in terms of the buying process?
- And very important to both parties are the expectations from each other. What will the agent do to find homes and have offers accepted? What’s the buying strategy? What should you, the buyers, be doing? Buyers should return phone calls, let the agent know if they’re leaving to go out of town and promise to work exclusively with that agent.
So if you haven’t had that Buyers Consultation, schedule it now!