We're in a hot property market with selling agents being overwhelmed with buyer demand, so how do you get a real estate agent on your side?
Remember, the real estate agent works for the seller and they're obliged to aim for the best result on behalf of their client, but this means they want to get deals done and of course, they only get paid if the property sells.
Just go back a year or two, when we were in a buyer's market, and estate agents would give up time with your families to show you properties after hours, they would quickly answer your calls and emails and would work as hard as they could to close a deal because, back then, buyers had plenty of options.
Fast forward to today's seller's market, and unfortunately, you'll find real estate agents are not as quick to reply to your calls or emails and they are less likely to show you a property outside the fixed inspection times.
They know if you won't make it to the property there will be a queue of other potential buyers ready to sign on the dotted line.
So, even though a sales agent may be working for the other team, you shouldn't necessarily treat them as your opposition and it doesn't mean you can't get them on your side.
But it does mean that it’s up to you to make a good impression on the agent.
And this is definitely the time when the long-term relationships the team of buyer's agents at Metropole have built over the last couple of decades with many selling agents levels the playing field for our clients.
So let's look at some tricks to get yourself on the age is a radar so they think of you when the right property comes on the market.
This is an important first step because you will then be a person looking for a property rather than a faceless name who communicates by email.
You should try to meet all the active local agents in the area you are interested in buying.
Go to their office and ask to be put on the buyer database but clearly identify what you're looking for as well as your price range.
In the current seller's market don't be scared to tell the agent your budget.
Of course, you don't have to tell them the full amount, but if like many buyers you'll have been to a number of auctions or missed out on a few deals they'll know what your limit is sooner rather than later.
When it comes to real estate, there are a lot of tire-kickers, so you can make a great first impression by letting the agent know you're serious and ready to buy.
Don't tell them you're looking for a bargain – that's the last thing agents want to hear in a seller's market where they know that prices are rising week by week.
Get your finance pre-approved and research the local area and individual properties in advance so you can make a firm swift offer if necessary.
Don't make your first offer unrealistically low or the agent won't take you seriously.
On the other hand, a realistic, well-informed, and genuine offer will make the agent's task easier and it's more likely they will try smooth facilitate the sale.
When you first meet, tell them what type of properties you are looking for, and which areas you would most like to invest in.
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It's important that you're proactive in your search, which includes making connections with agents in your chosen investment area.
Make clear which requirements you will not change and which you are happy to be flexible about.
In my opinion, there are three types of people:
- Those who make things happen
- Those who watch what happens, and…
- Those that sit and wonder “what just happened?”
Be in the first group and always be on the lookout for opportunities.
Rather than telling them exactly what you want, ask for their advice.
Most agents have extensive local knowledge and usually enjoy sharing it with potential buyers.
After each viewing tell the agent what you did and didn't like about the house.
This will enable them to build up a better picture of what it is you’re looking for.
Looking at properties outside of your budget will just annoy the estate agent and will also make you dissatisfied with your final choice.
Similarly, don't be the annoying buyer who has to see every property 10 times, each time bringing a different family member along for their thoughts and opinions.
Also, the vast majority of estate agents are decent people who work hard in a very competitive market, so be nice to them – if you charm them, they might well respond favourably!
Call the agent every few days to tell them that you are still on the hunt and to find out if they know of any new properties coming on the market.
If they don’t hear from you, they will assume you are no longer looking and you may miss out on a great property.
Likewise, always respond to their emails and telephone calls even if it's just to explain why you aren't interested in a particular property.
Although the agent works for the seller and are motivated to get as high a price as possible for the house, they do have a slightly different interest, which may turn them on your side – if they don’t sell at all, they get nothing for their efforts!
Of course, agents don't want to get known for selling bargains.
Note: Remember almost every buyer is a seller and every seller is a buyer, so estate agents realise dealing professionally with you may mean getting another property listing down the track.
Working with a buyers' agent means you have an ally working for you, levelling the playing field.
Call me biased, but here are a few reasons I believe you should consider using a buyer's agent for your next purchase
- An experienced buyers agent is a seasoned professional who will know what to look for and what to ask – they have seen it all before.
- They will have a strong network of agents and how the professionals to optimise your purchasing journey
- They will help filter your emotions and act as a buffer between you and the selling agent who will be a trained negotiator.
- A professional buyer's agent will know the areas they operate in intimately meaning they will be able to buy advise you honestly and accurately as to what price you need to pay to secure the right property.
- They will also stop you from making the expensive common mistakes that many emotional purchasers make.
- They can be where you're not. Be there in a different state or on the ground when you're busy at work or looking after your family.
- Having a buyer's agent on your side is likely to remove a level of emotion and stress from the buying process.