Whether you are a first time home buyer, a move up buyer, interested in new construction or relocating to Northern Virginia and the greater Washington DC area, this is an exciting time for you! You'll need a REALTOR® who will communicate frequently and respond quickly to you.
You can view properties for weeks or months on the Internet - hoping that the "perfect home" will finally pop up. But here are 7 myths about that approach.
A listing agent’s job is to represent the seller. But depending on what website you are using, the inquiry may not likely be routed even to the listing agent at all. In fact, there is a very good chance that it will be sent to agents who are not even the listing agent.
Your inquiry is likely getting routed to several agents at once, none of whom are the listing agent. This is why you will likely be contacted by multiple agents in response to the one property you simply wanted more information about.
That’s right — there may not be a listing agent on the receiving end of your email. Leads are not free. There are agents paying big dollars to subscribe to particular ZIP codes in order to receive leads. Agents are continually cycling in and out of buying subscriptions to these ZIP codes as this is quite pricey. The costs involved for an agent to receive these leads often equate to a monthly rent or mortgage payment — just to receive leads that may or may not work out.
If you have a buyer agent, you need to work through your agent for all showings. Agent communities are small worlds in that word will get out very quickly about the buyers contacting every listing agent in certain areas to see homes on their own.
You should expect to be contacted multiple times by text, email and phone by an agent or their designee. These "follow-ups" might be in the form of auto-responders if not an actual person trying to reach out to you. The best way to get these multiple inquiries to stop is to simply respond.
If you are already working with an agent, please let the person who has contacted you know that. If it was an accidental inquiry, let the agent know that too. If you are dreaming about buying a certain kind of home and simply curious, be upfront about that so the agent can appropriately manage the communication with you. You are not obligating yourself to anyone or anything simply because you "clicked here for more information," but you need to understand what goes on behind the scenes of the process to minimize confusion in an already confusing situation.
You might think requesting a showing is as simple as "point, click and show," but if you are working with an agent, or if your agent is not available, please do not mislead the other agent who responds to your internet inquiry by letting him or her show you properties. You already know you have no intention of writing an offer with that agent.
Although getting familiar with inventory in the marketplace in advance of buying is acceptable, you are better to engage with one agent who'll assist you upfront versus randomly inquiring about properties here and there.
There are many agents eager to jump into action, arrange to show you property and incubate you as a lead for weeks, months or even years; but doing so when you have other intentions will only lead to disappointment, confusion and frustration for all involved.
Trying to see a house is not quite as instant as ordering an Uber. The agents contacting you will probably be asking the following questions:
And that might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Why do agents have to ask all of those questions, you ask? Well, agents are trained to "prequalify" all prospects. Their job involves so much more than simply unlocking a door. They have an obligation to themselves and all involved in the real estate process to ensure would-be buyers are following the right process and are qualified to purchase what they are looking at. Not to mention the safety factor involved.
Most people do not buy the property that they inquire about. In fact, most times it is often everything but what they are looking for. An online listing is a surface level look at something that often does not tell the whole story. How much are the association dues and taxes — and what about that hidden assessment? Is there a busy highway near the home or community? Has the neighborhood been overrun by renters?
If you are casually thinking about buying a property in a particular area and are not committed to anyone, consider engaging with an agent who reached out to you to better start the process so you can get some advice and guidance about what you can get for your money in your desired area.
Otherwise, searching online and sending random inquiries on various properties is a lot like throwing a dart. You have no idea what you are looking at, nor do you have any sense of the property, neighborhood, area or factors that could affect value. You will grow weary of multiple agents continually contacting you.
Despite what the proliferation of technology may have you believe, there is never a substitute for in-the-trenches insight, advice and guidance imparted by a highly-knowledgeable and skilled real estate agent. Contrary to what you might think, an agent can actually save you from making an expensive mistake, overpaying for a property and not fully exploring your options.
An agent might be able to suggest the ideal area for you — one that checks all your boxes and has available properties in your price range — which you would not have found randomly searching online. Agents know what you should know (but don't) and it is their job to fill in those gaps.
A little online knowledge can be a dangerous thing when it leads buyers to believe they’ve covered all their bases. An agent's knowledge is a highly valuable thing that far exceeds the price of any property you buy — it's designed to help you make wise decisions about what is likely the single largest transaction you'll make in your entire life.
Guess what? The agent only gets paid at the end of the transaction through a commission or brokerage fee. Meanwhile, the best agents will work their tails off to get buyers their dream houses.
That usually entails at least 20 trips back and forth to show buyers homes, finding out answers to the buyers’ questions, triangulating between the listing agent, homeowners association, county and city, researching public records, making phone calls to the mortgage lender with continually revised closing cost spreadsheets prepared with different down payment scenarios and interest rates.
We must then spend the time explaining how all this works to the buyers, write offer after offer and cancelling or rearranging personal plans so that we can show the buyer a house so they don’t miss out.
All of that is done without a paycheck the day the agent starts working with the buyer. If the buyer decides to purchase and purchase through that agent, and only if that transaction goes to closing - then and only then - will the agent get paid.
Getting together in my office for a no-obligation consultation at the start of your house hunt will allow me to assess what you are looking for in your next home, the time frame that works best for you, your price range and other important information that will be necessary for finding just the perfect home that best fits your needs. It is my goal to make your home buying experience pleasant and as stress-free as possible. After our discussion, I will expose you to all of the homes that really fit your "needs and wants"! I'll even prepare a Competitive Market Analysis for the home you select to help you arrive at the best offer to make.
I will guide you through the entire buying process - from selecting the right lender, successfully negotiating for the right home, hiring a top notch home inspector, smoothing the way to the settlement table - all the while, looking out for your interests.
If this is the type of approach you're looking for, just call me at 703-944-4286 or email me. Let's meet for coffee to discuss your next home!
So that I can get started learning more about you and exactly what you are looking for in your next home, please fill out the form below.