Or, WHAT SHOULD YOUR BUYER’S AGENT DO FOR YOU?
The field of real estate is full of a specialized vocabulary. One of those vocabulary words is ‘fiduciary.’ Fiduciary means to promote another’s best interests. When you have a fiduciary relationship with a buyer it differs from that of a fiduciary responsibility toward the seller. Because of this, it’s often difficult for an agent to represent both parties in dual agency, but it can be done well if it’s done right.
A real estate agent, broker or REALTOR® becomes a special agent of the party to whom he owes fiduciary duties. When representing the buyer, fiduciary responsibilities include keeping the buyer on track with his overall goal, as well as giving professional advice about how to navigate the complicated process, and complex legal documents needed to purchase real estate.
FROM CONCEPT TO CLOSING
The first goal of an excellent buyer’s agent is to understand the concept that the buyer has in mind. Then the agent must uncover all the major and minor details that would contribute to success or failure of the project, and provide strategies to eliminate the problems.
If for example, if the buyer doesn’t have realistic expectations, the buyer needs additional information to understand the market and the often complicated processes complete with ever-changing legal documents, legal strategies, and lender requirements.
Once the realistic expectations have been set, the buyer must position himself as a credible buyer by getting his financing lined up for the ultimate goal of closing on the purchase. This includes understanding the time line, the purchasing power, and specific limitations or expectations dictated by the financing program. Remember, with champagne taste on a beer budget, you can fall in love with a property that ultimately you can’t qualify for. An excellent buyer agent becomes your project manager who will keep you on track with not only redirecting you back to the criteria you said was most important, but with the flexibility of changing when your criteria changes, but also in making sure that you don’t fall in love with something ultimately you can’t purchase.
DUE DILIGENCE PROCESSES
Now it’s time to find the property that best fits the current and perhaps future needs of the buyer. Once the property is identified, your agent utilizes information used by an appraiser, who ultimately must support the sales price on behalf of the lender, to calculate the apparent value range that becomes the offer price using the industry’s best practices. Without this step, the buyer could make an offer that was influenced by the list price of the property established by the homeowner or the listing agent, who is paid to bid against the buyer, and ultimately spend $1,000’s or more with inspections and the Appraisal to discover that the appraisal is tens of thousands of dollars lower than the list and sales price.
Failing to include this step as a buyer’s agent is not representing and promoting the buyer’s best interests.
AVOIDING STICKER SHOCK
Another concern that the first time home buyer’s agent should have is in determining the ultimate ability for a rental client to become a first time home buyer. Some things to consider during the first buyer interview is to discover if sticker shock will be a factor in the purchase. This is the difference between what the prospective buyer is paying as a tenant and what his mortgage will be and how that compares to any lifestyle changes that might occur as a necessity of paying more than one is used to paying for housing. A way to gauge if a tenant buyer is ready to become a homeowner is to have him or her put back the amount of different between the current rental rate and the mortgage into a bank account for 6 months and not touch it. If a first time buyer can put that money away for 6 months and not touch it, that anticipated mortgage payment should be very comfortable for him.
Another consideration for a first-time home buyer is verification of rent, also known as VOR. Although this is not requested until about 10 days before closing, it can stall or kill a deal. it’s important to interview the first time home buyer early on in the process at the time of pre-qualification to discover if he has had any late rental payments in the 24 months preceding his closing on the loan. If there have been any late payments, the lender needs to know right away so it can be reviewed with the underwriter. Once the underwriter gives the go-ahead you can proceed to getting in the car to find THE ONE!
There are many other behind-the-scenes activities that the REALTOR®, or special agent, will be performing or supervising for the buyer in promoting the buyer’s best interests. Be sure as you interview the REALTOR® to partner with you in your transaction that the REALTOR® is knowledgable and experienced in getting you to closing as smoothly as possible as your special agent and project manager. For a Closing Checklist of behind-the-scenes activities you REALTOR® will be performing for you, click here.
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Chrystal Safari Roy has over 20 years experience in personal property management and residential real estate sales and is a licensed REALTOR® in North and South Carolina. As a MASTERS Designation holder, she is a specialist in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, Technology, and is a multi-million dollar producer. Chrystal is a member in good standing of the Charlotte Regional Association of REALTORS®, North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of REALTORS®. Call her at 704.562.1030. Text for faster service.