10 Rules of Buyer Etiquette
1. Be candid.
When requesting information or help from a Realtor, many customers feel the need to disguise their true motives in fear that the agent will not want to help them if they are working with other agents, are just looking and not ready to purchase, or for other personal reasons keep certain details that can affect a potential transaction concealed. However, the truth eventually always comes out. Your agent will respect your honesty from the get-go rather than finding out later. We encourage our customers to be candid and frank with us. Realtors require the same basic considerations that you would expect in return.
2. Relationships are about trust and mutual respect.
Loyalty matters. If you are satisfied with your real estate agent, always contact that agent when you need information. People can get really impatient sometimes or they don’t want to “bother” their agent so they start calling offices or listing agents demanding information or pretending that they are going to be clients.
Call your agent – he/she will call you back. If you are unhappy with your agent’s service: the agent doesn’t return calls or give you the information you need, then find another agent. However, any agent is going to request your loyalty in return for their services. Many people forget that any active agent is going to have relationships with other agents in the business; the word is bound to get out that a buyer is unfaithful. If you can’t stop yourself from calling an office or listing agent directly, make sure that you disclose that you are working with an agent right away and that you would appreciate some information.
3. Make an appointment for consultation.
We love educating our clients so they may make educated decisions. If you are interested in getting more information on a property or have questions that may be explained without a comprehensive consultation, then we are more than glad to assist you over the phone. However, if you are relocating to the area, are a first time home buyer, or have a series of in-depth questions, call us to schedule an appointment so we can properly answer your questions and go over the necessary details.
4. Plan and prepare.
When making an appointment with a dentist, you don't simply say, "Jack is on his way". If you expect a Realtor to schedule a time in their day to meet with you, then provide your full name and direct phone number, as well as any relevant information that your agent will need in order to properly prepare for your meeting.
In addition, let your agent know ahead of time what you expect in advance to accomplish during the meeting. Don't expect your Realtor to drop what they are doing and run out to show you a property immediately. Sometimes a Realtor is available to do that, but more often their days are pre-scheduled and you will need to schedule a separate meeting to view properties. The first meeting is to establish your needs, wants, your purchasing limitations, and to narrow down specific homes to potentially show you. However, many homes are pre-occupied by owners and tenants, which require 24 hour notice prior to showing. Thus, your Realtor can not schedule appointments to see properties prior to the consultation.
Things to bring with you:
Know what you can afford. Or if you don't know, allow the Realtor to suggest a lender to help get started with financing. Be prepared to provide information about your financial situation. Don’t be offended if an agent will not show you a house prior to lender pre-approval. It is a waste of everyone’s time; it is the responsibility of the agents to show homes only to qualified buyers. If you are not ready to get pre-approved, then you are not ready to look at homes. Any lender will require:
- A copy of your Driver’s License
- Last 2 years w2’s or complete tax returns, if self employed
- 2 most recent paystubs
- 2 months bank statements, all pages
- Source of where the down-payment will come from
- (Being the professionals we are, we expect clients to respect our time; when you do make an appointment, be on time.)
5. Arrange to look at homes.
Make sure to have eaten recently so you are not too tired, and go to the bathroom before leaving. Wear comfortable shoes, bring along a bottle of water, and bring a notepad and pen to take notes. We also suggest bringing along a digital camera to capture features of the home(s) you like. If at all possible, call a babysitter for the children. Looking at properties is a very tiring activity, and children have little tolerance for all the driving around and getting in and out of cars. When looking at condominiums, remember to bring small bills and singles to pay for valet parking.
6. Be courteous.
When looking at homes to buy, remember, you are in someone else's home. If the sellers are there - take a look through the entire house, even if it is obviously not what you are looking for, and don't make negative comments. If they have opened their home to you, they need to be treated with respect. Also remember not to handle things, some items may be of personal sentiment and even irreplaceable. Everything you see belongs to the occupants of the home. If you have children with you, instruct them not to touch things, stay with you, and to stay out of closets and other hiding places.
7. Say very little to the Seller or their Agent.
You don't want to insult, get their hopes up, or give too much personal information away – making negotiations harder on yourself. Remain as stoic as possible, then discuss what you've seen after you are back in the car pulling away. If the Seller or their Agent tries to ask prying questions, just tell them to speak to your agent. Any correspondence must be made between the agents; any documents given must be received through your agent. Do not give any business cards or information to the Seller’s Agent; in turn do not take any business cards or information from the Seller or the Seller’s Agent.
Why? A Seller’s agent is bound legally to their Seller and their fiduciary responsibility requires them to tell the Seller everything they learn about the Buyer. This puts you at a disadvantage with negotiations. In addition, the Seller’s Agent is required to negotiate in the Seller’s favor, getting them highest and best offer possible. Don’t be fooled by thinking the Seller’s Agent is going to work on your behalf, because legally and ethically they CAN’T. Having an exclusive buyer broker agreement with your agent, gives you the same security and protection as the listing agreement provides the seller with their agent.
8. Keeping it honest.
If throughout the home searching process you feel that you are no longer willing to purchase a property, let your agent know right away. Do not leave your Realtor in waiting. Many Buyers are too afraid to bring unresolved issues up to their Realtor and confront them with their true feelings. Remember a good agent is invaluable; we do this for a living. We are not heartless, cold, blood sucking zombies. We will respect you for letting us know beforehand rather than stringing us along, avoiding our calls, and then finally simply saying you are not interested in purchasing anymore. We are people too! We want to make sure that our service is of top rating. Just be honest, even if you are not on the same page as your Realtor – let them know right away how you feel.
9. Making an offer.
When ready to make an offer, arrive with your checkbook in hand. There must be sufficient funds to cover the check. Be reasonable with your requests and don't even bother if you are not serious about wanting the house. A good offer will have comps and stats to back it up. Throwing unrealistic numbers at a seller and submitting too low of an offer will for obvious reasons have the sellers not taking you or your offer seriously. Your first offer is the most important. If you insult a seller, they may not even want to negotiate with you even when your offer sounds more logical.
10. Take things seriously after the Offer is accepted.
You and Seller have entered into a legally binding contract. Time is of the essence. All parties have to perform certain requirements within certain time frames and if they don't, the contract can be cancelled. More importantly, if you fail to follow through a Seller can claim your escrowed deposit. We will assist you with keeping you on track and reminding you of important contractual dates.