I was recently in communication with somebody looking to buy a home in Tallahassee when I was pleasantly surprised by a request for a buyer's agent. Having been in the real estate business for more than 25 years, I can count on one hand the times that I have received the specific request for somebody who specializes in working with home buyers.
Most real estate professionals do not really specialize in working with "just buyers" or "just sellers," though don't be surprised to hear somebody telling you they do. The ability to take a home buyer through all the hurdles that will fall in their path is much different than ones faced by home sellers. Each requires an expert and you should expect to get top service when buying a home if you work with a Buyer's Agent.
Most industries have an elite group of top performers, and invariably these people are specialists. Doctors typically specialize in one area of medicine, attorneys in one field of law, educators in one specific discipline, etc. A buyer's agent is somebody who has decided to spend most of their real estate career helping people through the process of buying a home, and they get really good at it compared to agents who do not specialize.
If I were interviewing an REALTOR to help me buy a home, I would ask questions and demand a demonstration of current working knowledge in the following areas:
- Distressed Properties - Some of the best buys in the Tallahassee real estate market include short sales, REO properties, foreclosures, and current relocation contracts. I would want my buyer's agent to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in working with these types of properties.
- Specialized Financing - Even if I had a perfect credit score, I would feel much more secure knowing that my buyer's agent was an expert in creative financing. Knowing how to "talk the talk" with this type of financing can be crucial to getting the best deal available, even when paying cash or using traditional sources of money. A special financing expert is typically a great negotiator and problem solver ... definitely somebody to have in your corner when you buy a home.
- Real estate supply and demand analysis - This is really simple. You have to know the market, and a great buyer's agent should show you supply and demand information for homes in your selected area and price range.
- Buyer Brokerage - Finally, an expert with working with home buyers will have a working agreement itemizing the standards and goals that both you, the home buyer, and the buyer's agent are working to accomplish. Nothing will get you started better when buying a home than to make your buyer's agent give you a written performance expectation.
I hope these tips help you when you purchase your next home. If you are buying a home anywhere, just drop me a note and I will help you find a great buyer's agent with whom you can work to get the best deal in your own housing market.
Joe Manausa, MBA is a 26 year veteran of real estate brokerage in Tallahassee, Florida and has owned and managed his own company since 1992. He is a daily blogger with content that focuses on real estate analytics and providing his clients with a tactical advantage in today's challenging market.