Do You Think Your Realtor Doesn’t Listen?

Posted by Lise | Filed under: Buyers

Your Realtor should be your agent, the experienced professional who represents your interests – and only your interests!  One of my pet peeves is that some Realtors waste their clients’ time showing them properties that the Realtor thinks they should see, whether they are what the clients want to see or not.   Sometimes the homes are more expensive than the buyers can afford or perhaps the properties are nothing like what the client wants or needs – a 2 bedroom condo for a family of five or a home in the suburbs for a young professional workaholic!  I love selling townhomes in Kenwood Forest, condos in Logan Circle, and estates in Great Falls, but they are not one size fits all!  Agents have long had a bad rap for showing people more expensive properties than they could afford, hoping the shine of granite and b rushed nickel would compel buyers into spending more than they planned.

4801 Chevy Chase Drive Living Room

Living Room, 4801 Chevy Chase Drive

The drive to push buyers into a higher price point is not as common any more since the recent market dynamics have educated all real estate players — buyers, sellers and agents — with a hard reality check, and lending guidelines are so tight that most agents know buyers don’t have much wiggle room.  The last thing they want to do is set the client and themselves up for failure by getting a contract on a home the client can’t afford and the bank won’t lend on.

Still,  buyers can end up in situations where they’re working with an agent who is nice, but totally off-target in terms of the information and listings they show.  Sometimes it is because the agent is clueless and doesn’t understand the instructions which the buyer has given or the agent doesn’t know the market in which the buyer is looking.  To avoid this situation, the buyer should have asked friends and family for references to helpful Realtors who have a proven track record of listening and facilitation.

Sometimes however, the client is not being clear with the agent about their wants and needs.  It helps to put together a list of must haves, wants, and wishes.  I provide my clients with a form for just that purpose, and I would be glad to share it with you. It also helps to revisit that list after a day or two of looking and make sure that the list hasn’t changed. Frequently, the soaking tub or wine cooler loses its luster as a must have, and is replaced by something else as a must have! Communicate!  You are the consumer and you are entitled to a responsive Realtor.

It is really important to be honest with your agent about your upper limit on price.  Your agent is your representative.

If you don’t trust your agent to be on your side, then you are working with the wrong Realtor.   Talk to your Realtor about what your mortgage approval limit is.  Be clear about this.  Just because you can afford more doesn’t mean that you have to spend more.  Save yourself time and your Realtor by asking questions, understanding the market, and sticking to your budget.   On the other hand, if you are being more frugal than you have to be and you just aren’t finding what you want at a lower price range, an honest conversation with your Realtor about your finances may save everyone time and move you to the right price point.

Third, there are sometimes just good agents and good clients who are a poor fit for each other — who seem to miscommunicate on everything about which it is possible to miscommunicate. This, too, is rare, but it does happen. You can avoid this by finding your agent by referral — from a friend, colleague or family member who was in a similar homebuying situation to you.  Sometimes, I find that the client is just suspicious of everyone and not willing to trust the Realtor because there is no history with the Realtor.  It is hard to share your most intimate financial information with a complete stranger and trust them to look out for your interests, but that is what is necessary for a good working relationship with your agent.

The view from 7505 Democracy Blvd, #434, is spectacular

Another reason that you might be dissatisfied with your Realtor is because of your own unrealistic buyer expectations. The solution for that problem is that your Realtor must provide you with the market knowledge and education to find that perfect home in a good neighborhood for a price you can afford!

If you’re telling your agent that you must live in X neighborhood, must have X number of bedrooms and bathrooms, must have X number of thousands of square feet, minimum, and must have a three-car garage, the best school district, and so forth, your agent may be showing you only homes that meet that criteria — which happen to be outside your price range.  My response to this conundrum is to show you two sets of listings – on paper and in the car – the ones that match your criteria but are outside your price range, and the ones which match your price range and give you the best value on the market.

Chances are that you are spending a lot of money on this new home. (My parents thought that $50,000 was an incredible sum to spend on their home).  You may need to be educated  by someone who is always on your side on what is available in your price range that represents the best that your money can buy.  I promise that I will help you through that process.

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23 Responses

  1. cecil says:

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  2. Tony says:

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  3. Travis says:

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  4. bobby says:

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  5. Bryan says:

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  7. Jamie says:

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  9. harold says:

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  10. marshall says:

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  18. Perry says:

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