Buyers – Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s be real. I know there are 9000 other agents in our area that could approach you for your business. One difference about me? I don’t see YOU as ‘business’. I see you as someone who has a dream of what their perfect home could be, and wants confident assistance in securing the most important (and most expensive) asset you will ever own.
You want to buy a home. You may have already found one or two you might buy. I don’t believe in ‘puffing’ up reputation and claims to you. Here are some questions you may have about asking me to represent you as your Realtor consultant, and my honest answers:
HOW will you make this easier for me?
Truthfully, real estate transactions are not always easy. First, there’s paperwork, then there’s going to each home you like and picking it apart once you see it in real life color. Then there’s the negotiation when you find ‘the one’ (don’t worry if we can’t get it done, there are more ‘the ones’ out there!)..That’s the part I enjoy. I love to research and study homes and their features/issues. I can advise you confidently on how you may want to approach an offer, based on a bunch of factors. Any drama from the other side I will work through unless you need to know about it. Selling a home is hard, and causes emotional things to happen sometimes.
I know my contracts and ethics well. I’ll not let anything slip by and keep everything running smoothly until you get your keys!
Oh, did I mention there’s alot of paperwork? I know, and I’ll explain it all if needed. More about that below.
Can't we save money working with the Listing Agent alone?
Maybe….However, two things you must know.
- The Listing Agent has already agreed with Seller on a set fee. The brokerage can either choose to allow the agent to give back some of the commission, perhaps to the Seller, or..Not. Hence my ‘maybe’.
- The bigger issue is that the Listing Agent is ’employed’ for all intents and purposes, by the Seller. Their job is to get the highest and best for the Seller, NOT to help you navigate the transaction to the best outcome for YOU, the Buyer. If you do not have a Buyers Representation Agreement with the List agent already, the List Agent’s loyalty and ‘fiduciary duty’ (“involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary”) is ONLY to the Seller. You, my friend, will have to wing it, so to speak. List agent cannot give you advice, help with forms, help with language usually, or refer any service provider, nor help you interpret what any report means to you. And they CERTAINLY will not help you negotiate. Don’t you want someone on YOUR side for this tremendous purchase?
Each agency has their own way of handling what is termed in Texas “Dual Agency” (handling both sides of a transaction with two ‘clients’ who have signed agreements with that agent). In Texas, agents are discouraged for doing this, due to the above conflict. If you are a Seller, and you have pinned your hopes on your Realtor to be loyal, they cannot be once it’s a Dual Agency situation. BOTH sides cannot now receive advice or help other than facts. Not a great scenario for either. Often brokerages will assign one side or the other a different agent to handle them with more fiduciary duty. Now, one of you is not familiar with the new agent. Is that ok with you?
There are lots of things that can go awry by allowing the List Agent to run the transaction. Especially if there are multiple offers, and every date and deadline can be a dealbreaker for the Buyer. If they have someone else to pick up the deal, why be concerned with whether you make the deadline or not, right? That’s what YOUR Realtor is for.
We already found a house we like...why do we need you?
Anymore it’s easy as ordering pie at your local eatery to find a house for sale that you think you love! That’s great! We have a house to go look at, one of my very favorite things to do, especially with an enthusiastic buyer along!
I’ve seen alot of houses, both rural and subdivisions, new and old. I’ve studied them with the inspectors and foundation folks, and measured their weight against other similar homes. You know that Realtors must go see homes regardless of whether we have Buyers or not, right? When you find your special one, how would I know if it was worth the asking price, if I couldn’t compare it to others?
That’s one reason to drag me along. Consider the negotiation factor, too. A Seller may have built that home or lived in it for awhile and loves it. Everyone wants a great deal, but often a Buyer will inadvertently ‘insult’ a Seller with a crazy offer or negative comments on the home. I’ll have more ‘backstory’ on it, and a better feel for how negotiations may need to proceed so that YOU are the winner of the keys.
And probably the most important reason is called “mediation” in our industry. Texas Real Estate Commission contracts require buyers and sellers to participate in mandatory mediation to resolve disputes before going to court.
Example: You have a contract on your dream home, but the Seller,the day before Closing, wants to terminate the contract. It could be as easy as you saying “OK” and Seller returning your Earnest Money. Chances are, however, that you are packed up and ready to move in tomorrow. Now what?
The benefit of mediation is seeking a resolution of real estate and related conflicts before a costly lawsuit is filed. By avoiding the negative impact of filing a lawsuit, pre-litigation mediation creates an environment that is favorable to resolving real estate disputes, while improving the possibility of preserving important personal and/or business relationships and avoiding negative publicity. It also means fixing the problem much faster, and applying the Texas contract solutions to both parties.
This means that you either will own the house quicker than suing the Seller (if you’d used one of those online generic contracts), or you will be compensated properly more quickly to find alternative housing if the Seller just won’t budge. This example happens not often; it’s usually the Buyer who backs out.
As well, Realtors are bound by a Code of Ethics to serve you to the highest standards, and be fair and honest all the way around in the transaction. Really! Yes, really! Check the Code here and read this! It’s fascinating!
Why so much paperwork from Realtors?
Believe you me, we KNOW it’s alot. Back in ‘the day’ you could buy a house with one sheet of paper. Convenient, but sure didn’t protect you from stuff the Seller might not have told you, or give you any recourse if something was NOT as stated. now I’m not saying Sellers are not truthful, but sometimes things are left out that are important to the deal.
Enter the Texas Real Estate Commission. This group “drafts and revises contract forms that are capable of being standardized to expedite real estate transactions and minimize controversy. The contract forms must contain safeguards adequate to protect the principals in the transaction.”
The Texas Real Estate Commission consists of 13 members appointed as follows:
(1) six members appointed by the commission;
(2) six members of the State Bar of Texas appointed by the president of the state bar; and
(3) one public member appointed by the governor.
The forms contain wording that protects both sides of the deal and makes clear what each part’s duties to each other are. These are able to be upheld in court (but of course we’d prefer mediation first) more easily than a generic form would be.
The amount of forms covers so many detailed areas important especially to home buyers. I would love to go over some of them with you and explain how my ability to use these forms to help you buy your home makes it easier and safer for you than trying the FSBO contracts you may find otherwise.
Yep, paperwork is a bore, but it protects you later.
BUT WAIT! We have electronic signing now! You don’t have to hardly ever see me if you don’t want to, or live out of state! Everything but the final Closing of sale paperwork can be done on a computer, from Mars, if you wish.
How long will it take to get my new home?
That, Grasshoppa, is unknown. Could be a month, could be longer.
This all depends on a few factors:
- Have you found a house you want to see/offer on yet?
- Have there been many houses that meet your wish list available lately?
- Have you prequalified your ability to get a mortgage within the last 30 days with a great lender?
- Do you rent a house now? What does your lease say about leaving early?
- Do you have another home to sell first?
- Seller may want to have a longer time to close on the deal, due to personal factors
An average conventional mortgage loan can take about 30 days to finalize, once you’ve been pre-qualified. There’s inspections, repairs, and mortgage appraisals to get done before you get the keys. If you’re paying cash, we can knock that off to maybe 14 days.
If you haven’t even found anything to look at yet, we could be working together for 3-6 months. I will ask you to read, understand and sign a Buyers Representation Agreement, which allows me then to treat you like royalty! We set a time frame in it that we can change, or cancel altogether, if something comes up and you can’t work with me anymore.
Do you 'rebate'?
An interesting question. There are a couple ways I could share my proceeds of a sale of a home to you, to best benefit.
I love our veterans, teachers and public servicefolk. I routinely give a percentage toward the purchase price of a home for them. I also love to donate a percentage of my earnings to a worthy charity, or local schools.
As the price of a home is not necessarily affected by my commission, and by the fact that I can negotiate you a good price (and maybe some other ‘percs’ in the deal), I know I’ve done hard work for you to make sure that dream home is yours.
Do companies you refer to me pay you?
Although it does happen (but not ever to me), in Texas, Realtors must disclose in writing what money they receive from ANYone that is not part of the commission earned by the transaction. Partly this is for protection of the brokerage the agent works under. It’s really the broker’s money. And partly it’s so that our clients know if we are being ‘rewarded’ for referring them.
I will refer clients to at least 3 of a type of service provider. It’s best if you make your own educated decision on who you wish to use. After all, it IS your transaction. I will explain what you might want to look for in certain cases, however.
How do I know what I'm signing is ok?
Texas Realtors do handle alot of paperwork, regardless of the ‘side’ of transaction they’re working on. Most of it is Texas Realtor-defined and mandated contract and amendment/addendum forms. These have been written and constantly revised by the Texas Real Estate Commission, to make each transaction fair and well-detailed as to what each form and paragraph really means.
These forms have been added to over the years, to make sure each step and need is covered correctly. Then we have more paperwork! It’s all in the sake of clarity, full coverage, and fairness to all parties that these exist.
So next time we sign some more papers, know that I and Texas are protecting you and your best interests in the dream property you are hoping to purchase!
OK, show me what you're going to have me sign.
The main form that pertains to you and me is called a Buyer Representation Agreement. This form is a Realtor only form, and I cannot show it to you here. I can email you a sample copy, however. Use the contact form at the bottom of this page to email me for that.
This form, in essence, ‘buys’ my fiduciary duty to you for the duration of the agreement, or if we create a contract on a home, for that duration. I can’t do certain things, and I can do alot more for you than if we did NOT have this Agreement. You are now my ‘client’; otherwise you would just be a ‘customer’, like a windowshopper who wasn’t really committed to buying.
This form lays out what you and I expect from each other, for how long, and for the area we will cover on our home search. We can make the agreement valid for one property, one day or one year, or any portion thereof. If you just want to see 123 Main St, GreenLawn, TX, that’s what we’ll put on the agreement. I’ll go over all of it with you, so you understand it. I’ll caution, it’s a bit boring, but well needed.
I know we will work well together, but this form can give us a ‘test run’. If at ANY time you ever decide you do NOT want to work with me any longer, even if the agreement shows 3 more months to go, just e-mail or text me. I’m not mean, I won’t hold you to the 3 months (who wants to work with someone like that, anyhow?). I’d love to know the reason, and hope that you say “It’s not you, it’s me…” Although, maybe that’s not….uh…well, regardless.