Recently I came across an amusing yet informative article from the National Association of Realtors RealtorMag Tips:
Your clients are looking for a home to fall in love with, so here’s how to perfect your matchmaking skills and help them find the one.
February 14, 2017 | By Mary McIntosh
So much of our lives are online nowadays. Our social lives happen in online communities as much or more than in friends’ basements or bars. We meet people with similar interests by joining Facebook groups or following someone’s story on Snapchat. YouTube is where we learn to do almost everything, from simple home maintenance tasks to cooking dinner for the family.
Home shopping, like dating in the 21st century, almost always starts online as well. They’re both about finding the right one—and just like a matchmaker, house hunters turn to you to help them wade through the pool of eligible homes and find the one of their dreams. Here are eight ways online dating and home shopping are exactly the same and what your role is as the matchmaker.
- Knowing their price range is like knowing who is in their league. You have to help your client be as realistic as possible here. In the dating world, it’s a waste of time always going after people who you know won’t give you a chance. In a home search, there’s no point in lusting after houses you’ll never be able to afford. Be a good wingman for your client and only introduce them to prospective properties they have a serious chance with.
- Be sure they’re ready to move on. Buying a home is a long-term commitment; is your client ready for something long-term? Help your client get prequalified — it’ll show they’re ready to move on from their current home or apartment. In other words, make sure they’re over their last real estate love. Ask them for a sign they’re not just pretending to be ready to move on.
- Don’t be superficial. Ever met a date who looked nothing like the online photo? Well, homes sometimes also look way better online than they do in person. Before agreeing to take them on a home tour, ask your client to name something not related to aesthetics that draws them to the home. Then you’ll know a deeper connection is possible.
- Don’t make decisions based on first impressions. After they meet in person, your client may think the house is as awesome as it appeared online. But encourage your client to take it slow before making a commitment. Keep them grounded by pushing them to do an inspection (or maybe more than one) to make sure the home isn’t hiding any dark secrets inside.
- Don’t second-guess your heart (or gut). Love at first sight is rare, but it happens. It’s possible your client will find the home of their dreams in the first property they see. If this is the case, don’t try and rationalize or talk them out of their decision. But do make sure they take the necessary precautions before jumping into this new real estate relationship.
- Ask if others see in the home what your client sees. Are you worried your client is being blinded by the twinkle in the windows and the sparkle in the backyard pool? But you think the home is just a pig wearing lipstick? Tell your client to bring their friends, parents, and others they trust to a second showing. They’ll see right through any facade and help your client avoid falling for the wrong house.
- Celebrate once they’ve sealed the deal. Once your client closes the transaction and walks down the aisle and into their new home, congratulate them and come to their housewarming party to show your support for their new status as a homeowner.
- Help them maintain a lifetime of happiness. Show your clients steps they can take to care for their home so they don’t fall on hard times. Give them resources to keep up with home maintenance and make sure they know never to ignore problems that may pop up. This will help your clients have an enduring home that comforts them and their families for years to come.
Many consumers are not aware of Virginia law as it pertains to dual agency in real estate (in which a single agent represents both the buyer and seller). In general, a “dual agent” is largely prohibited from offering advice to either side. In fact, in Maryland dual agency is illegal.
As published by the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR), “The code of Virginia sets forth what services a dual agent cannot provide:
1. The agent will be unable to advise either seller or buyer as to the terms, offers or counteroffers (except, however, that the dual agent may have already provided such advice to the seller prior to representing the buyer); 2. The agent cannot advise the buyer as to the suitability of the property, its condition (other than to make any disclosures as required by law of any licensee representing a seller), and cannot advise either party as to repairs of the property (to make or request); 3. The agent cannot advise either party in any dispute that might later arise relating to the transaction; 4. The agent will be acting without knowledge of the client’s needs, client’s experience in the market, or client’s experience in handling real estate transactions unless he has gained that information from earlier contact with the client. Remember that either party may engage another licensee if additional representation is required.”Learn More
Looking for your first home can be an overwhelming experience, that’s why having an experienced real estate agent representing your interests is so important. You need someone on your side, protecting your rights and answering your questions. But your real estate agent does much more than simply show you houses and answer questions; your agent is legally bound to present any offer you wish to the seller, and to negotiate to help you get your dream home at the price that works for you. First time buyers trust John Seggerman to help them navigate the often confusing paperwork.Learn More