3 Secret Strategies to Nabbing Your Dream Home
And don't be mistaken, it is a competition. You are competing against everyone else out there that wants to find the perfect house at the best price. Yet prospective buyers can be lazy when it comes to choosing an agent, often using familiarity as their only criteria, thus frequently ending up with a "friend of a friend" or the agent who has the most prolific marketing. Consider these ideas:
1. Sometimes Bigger Really Is Better
A top producer with an intimate knowledge of the local market should be everybody's first choice to represent them. However, all things being equal, it is most important to choose an agent who works in the largest office in the area where you want to buy.
Despite the fact that technology now allows housing information to be distributed in a much wider fashion, the vast majority of ultra-prime properties get snapped up before they ever hit the local multiple listing service or public real estate sites. And often on Monday mornings.
That is when real estate offices gather their agents together over coffee and doughnuts to talk about their new listings, and more importantly for you, the ones they have coming up -- meaning those where their client has committed to selling but is not quite ready to have their listing activated on the MLS.
The best properties will never see the light of day because savvy agents will alert their buyers to these private listings, often getting them access to view the properties before anyone else knows they are going to market. Having an agent with this type of inside track to new listings allows you the best chance to find a truly hidden gem before anyone else.
2. Clients Are from Venus, Agents Are from Mars
But having a good agent -- no matter how plugged in he is -- is not enough if you can't communicate not only about what you want, but why you want it. That second part is by far the most critical.
When you first sit down with your agent, he will probably ask you a series of questions or maybe even have you fill out a form listing the requirements for your dream house. Do you want a big back yard? Pool or no pool? Near the city or out in the suburbs? These questions are designed to help your agent narrow down potential candidates.
But this is where the "why" comes into play. Say that you tell your agent that you want a large back yard. In fact, it's a deal killer. What if the reason you want a big back yard is because you have a dog that needs room to run? And what if there is a house listed for sale that by every other measure is your dream home? And there also happens to be a dog park just down the street?
If your agent knew the reason you wanted the big back yard was for your dog, he might then show you this house, reasonably assuming the adjacent dog park would make it work for you. By telling your agent, in as much detail as possible, what the reasoning is for your must-have list, he might find a perfect home for you that otherwise may have eliminated.
3. Specialization Is Your Best Friend
The vast majority of real estate agents will take either side of the home transaction process, representing both buyers and sellers. In some states, like California and New York, an agent can represent both the buyer and the seller of the same house.
Though organizations like the National Association of Realtors will tell you this can be done impartially, those who live in the real world know that claim is suspect at best.
Buyer's agents specialize in only representing clients who are purchasing a home. Using this type of dedicated agent minimizes the possibility that she isn't working in your best interest. And because she has eliminated the ability to make money selling homes, it is that much more critical to her that she complete a transaction for every client she has. This ensures that she will go the extra mile and turn over every stone in order to find you the perfect home.
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