Here are some of the questions typically asked by Buyers, and my answers:
- How well do you know the area we want to buy in? Schools? Community issues? If it’s Alameda I know them quite well and also know how and where to get the answers if I fall short. Specific websites are very important for each subject.
- Can you tell me about properties that have sold when you show me comps?Almost always. My mind does tend to blend townhomes and condos so I may not remember each one.
- How do I get the best financing? We talk about your options. If I don’t know your lender I ask your permission to speak with him/her to be sure we are on the same page. I do ask lots of questions.
- Can you show me an expense sheet with the basic transaction costs? Yes. I have my escrow officer draw these up. My figures are often better and more refined than the lender’s since he/she may not include transfer taxes, accurate title and/or escrow fees, and surely won’t include costs of inspections you should expect to pay.
- When do we start looking? Only when we’ve agreed we have a mutually acceptable basis upon which to work and you have any necessary financing lined up. THEN we take a discovery tour so I can watch you as you shop. I will ask you more questions about what you see when we are together. The goal is for me to screen the properties with you in mind, tell you about them, and also tell you if I need to take you in ASAP. Plus you can contact me and we can see them together.
- How do you communicate with me about new listings? I see many of the properties on the market (except for vacations), and even then I can arrange for a trusted colleague who will communicate with me, and conduct my business, as necessary, for me. Plus, in this day and time, we have electronic signatures and once I review the documents with you, I can send them to you to sign electronically. I can add you to my blog recipients list so you can see when I update my weekly blog so you have the ability to see the Alameda activity per the MLS as of that week.
- Show me your sales activity for the past 12 months. Easy – email? Snail mail? And it’s to the right of this column!
- How do you figure out what I want? We talk about it at our initial interview, and then if we decide to work together, we take a discovery tour once you have your financing lined up.
- Do you represent the Buyer and the Seller on the same transaction? No. I represent you, unless I have the listing and then I can refer you to one of my trusted colleagues. But because I take the stance to begin with… this has seldom happened.
- Why should we choose you? Years of local experience, years of finding win-win situations for my clients. See number 5 under the Seller questions!
Marilyn, if these are common industry complaints from Buyers, how do you make sure your clients don’t have them?
- Once the ‘deal’ closed the agent disappeared and did not return my calls. In this day and age, closing ‘the deal’ does not mean the transaction is necessarily over. I check to see how things are going for you hopefully before you find yourself giving me a panic call. BUT I do return calls! Ask my clients! And my goal is to keep you as a client, hopefully as a friend, and continue to offer you value-added service for years after a transaction. I know that you are part of my life!
- The property was not as represented by the Seller.
If there has been misrepresentation by the Seller to you about the property my goal is to be VERY pro-active, address the concern, do any necessary homework to find out what has happened, and let you know what solutions can be pursued in a timely, efficient, and effective manner.
- The things the Seller said he/she would do weren’t done when we got possession. We work to be sure the Seller has completed contractural items BEFORE we close and that the condition of the property at the close and/or time of possession is essentially the same as when the offer was accepted.
- It cost me more than I expected because accurate expenses and fees were not explained. I give you estimated closing costs (note the operative word is estimated) after we decide we have a basis upon which to do business. We can refine those figures during the transaction and even before we enter into a contract. I also confirm fees with vendors, lenders, and escrow professionals.
- Please ask any of my clients about what I could do better…they’ll let you know because they are as upfront as I am! I hope (and expect) the list to be short.