According to a 2011 report from the National Association of Realtors, 9 out of 10 buyers liked their real estate agent and would use them again. We, The Cameron Team, love hearing that. We try to go above and beyond, and use everyone on our team to provide the best service for each of our clients. However, situations arise and buyer-agent relationships do become strained when things don’t go as planned. From personal experience and speaking with other agents, we can say that most of the problems that come up are rooted in poor communication (not just from the client, but both sides). So, here are some tips on how you can help your Realtor to keep open the channel of communication while best relaying what you are looking for in a home.
- Write down your expectations. What do you think is your Realtor’s responsibility? What do you hope they can do for you? Before you start viewing homes, you should have a clear understanding of this. Your North Carolina Realtor should provide you with a brochure or form called “Working with Real Estate Agents”. This gives a run-down on what their and your responsibilities are as a buyer, but there can be a lot of What If’s that aren’t covered by the form, so don’t be afraid to ask. No Realtor should provide any less than what the brochure states, but many will offer more.
- Address how you want to communicate. This could very well be part of number one, but should definitely be addressed. Do you like emails? Text messages? Phone calls? Some people LOVE emails, but not phone calls. Some hate emails, but LOVE phone calls. Your Realtor should be working to accommodate your preferences, but remember that they work with multiple people at once and may be unavailable for phone calls during certain time periods as they provide a client with their undivided attention.
- Know what you can afford. Getting preapproved for funding with a lender is probably the first thing you should do in your home search. It will tell you exactly what you can afford. From there, you can decide if you want to pay less than what you can afford or buy up to your maximum amount. Having a clear price range will make things easier for both you and your Realtor.
- Create a list of needs and wants. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Buying champagne on a beer budget?” Sometimes, what you want isn’t always what you can afford. You need to create a list of needs that fit your budget. If you go into a home search without a clearly defined list of needs, you’ll probably end up spending 6 months or more searching for a home when it should really take you less than 3. Having a list of exactly what you need will help your Realtor easily narrow down your search and help them keep their eyes open for matching pocket listings (properties not officially on the market).
- Ask your Realtor to show you a few homes that fit what they think you want. Don’t let price be a consideration: let them show you on features alone. This will give you an idea if you two are on the same page. If not, it’s possible something was unclearly communicated along the way (“You say tom-ah-to, I hear to-may-to.”). Once you have those listings, look at the price. Is it in your budget? Yes? Great! No? Assess why and ask your Realtor what could be eliminated to make a similar home closer to your budget.
- Go digital. Are you better with pictures than words? How about making a Pinterest board showing what you like? This is a great idea if you’re looking for a specific style of home. Of course, continue to keep your budget in mind and really be specific about what you like. It’s easy to dream when flipping through pictures on the internet, but you also need to remain realistic.
Another good way to show your Realtor what you like is by saving homes in your target market. Many Realtors have a web site or Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that will allow you to look at active listings and save them to your favorites. If your Realtor can’t see what you save, print off your favorite properties or email them to your Realtor, so they can take a look.
Good communication is key to smoothly navigating the home buying process. A large part of that is creating realistic expectations and a list of needs. If you ever have a question about the requirements for buying a Wilmington area home or need some direction on how to get started, just let us know. We’re happy to help! Give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us an email through our Contact page.