Buying a home can be a long and challenging process. It’s a big, expensive and infrequent transaction that can cause lots of stress and anxiety.
Some buyers take years to complete a purchase, and they require a lot of hand-holding and make lots of requests. Others are more self-sufficient, and only bring in the agent from time to time.
Good real estate agents can accommodate any buyer at any time – as they should. We’re in the service business, and I always say the customer is always right.
But let’s face it: All buyers (and all agents) are not created equal, and since buyers don’t pay for the agent’s time, there can sometimes be a disconnect.
Here are five buyer behaviors that can make life tough for agents.
Planning a (secret) price swap
It’s one thing for a buyer to ask a seller for a credit if the final home inspection uncovers a problem. But after you have a deal, planning to negotiate the price down without telling your agent is a big no-no. It adds stress and ill will among all parties involved, during what could already be a difficult transaction.
It’s better to be upfront about your intentions. If the deal is not meant to be, it’s better to not go down the path at all.
Making unjustified lowball offers
The seller’s property is on the market for $400,000, and it’s worth close to that, based on recent comparable sales. And yet, a potential buyer offers $300,000 and won’t budge on the price.
It’s not because the home is grossly overpriced or there’s something seriously wrong with it, but simply because the buyer wants a bargain.
Unjustified lowball offers can be a waste of time for everyone involved. The seller isn’t going to swallow $100,000 for no reason, even if the property has been on the market a while.
In fact, a lowball offer will likely just help the listing agent get a small price reduction, thus opening the window of opportunity to another buyer.
It’s certainly okay to offer less than the asking price, but be realistic.
Requiring too much during the showing
It’s typical for a potential buyer to view a property during an open house, then ask for a private showing – even two or three times. That’s par for the course.
However, it’s frustrating when a buyer arrives to a showing with a designer, architect, contractor or just some friends, then spends an hour or two at the home checking out and measuring each room. This is counterproductive, particularly if you do it at one home after another and never make an offer.
Some buyers have even been known to bring their psychic, who, after making a big splash with tarot cards and numerology charts, declares that the property has “negative energy” and isn’t a good fit, mainly based on the numbers in the property address. Did the psychic really need to see the property in person to figure that out?
Buyers typically give themselves an opportunity to gauge their own reactions to a property before bringing in friends, family or hired consultants. To go over a home inch-by-inch on the first or second visit is often a waste of everyone’s time.
Demanding loads of attention early on
Some people are just beginning to think about buying a home. That’s fine; buyers have to start somewhere.
Unfortunately, sometimes buyers are a year or two away from being ready to pull the trigger, yet they make a lot of demands on the agent’s time.
Asking an agent to research city building permits on a house just because you’re curious – and even though the property doesn’t fit your requirements – is probably not a fair request.
Agents can’t be as effective with their active clients if they’re spending lots of time researching tax records or city permits for clients who are years away from being ready to purchase.
Changing your mind repeatedly
It’s fine to shift course based on what you learn during the home shopping process. This is a common part of the buyer evolution process.
Many buyers set out for X but end up with Y after learning the market and seeing where their dollar goes. By the time you’re ready to start making offers and moving in the direction of acquiring a home, you will be laser focused.
But if you find yourself moving around and you’re uncertain about the object of your search, it’s possible you just aren’t ready to buy. That’s fine. Take your time and learn the market.
The home-buying process is a journey, and a good local agent, brought in at the right time, can add so much value. Be mindful that agents work for free until a buyer or seller closes. Agents should be leveraged as a huge resource – when the right time comes.
- Why Home Buyers and Agents Need to Have Each Other’s Backs
- Predicting the ‘Right Time’ to Buy or Sell a Home
- Avoiding Home Buyer’s Remorse
Originally published May 23, 2014.