Columbia SC homes for sale represent opportunities for home buyers and real estate agents. And the better the relationship between the buyer and the real estate professional, the more likely a successful and enjoyable outcome will be. As in other relationships in business – or life in general – being on the same page is important, and can be critical in finding a home that best meets your needs and your budget. Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to build a winning relationship between a buyer and a real estate agent.
Columbia SC Homes for Sale – Teaming up for Success
Quite naturally, times have changed and partnering with a real estate professional today is different than it was, say, thirty years ago. A generation ago a prospective buyer rode by Columbia SC homes for sale and saw a sign or read an ad in the newspaper. Then they may have called the real estate agency to get additional information and schedule a visit or find out when the next open house was going to be held.
These days, prospective home buyers replace much of the time in the car riding through neighborhoods with searching online, looking at digital photographs and often taking virtual tours of Columbia SC homes for sale.
A quick click of the mouse, a short text or an email request for more information can be almost instantaneous.
The real estate agent’s part of the equation has changed, as well. Many times the first contact is made online via a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. For younger buyers, texting is a common form of communication. However, agents often continue to spend countless hours in their automobiles driving prospective purchasers from house to house. Despite the untold amount of time an agent may invest in a particular client, there’s no guarantee the client will buy anything. Since real estate agents are almost always commission-only independent contractors their time is money – and if they spend too much time showing homes without sales, they’re actually losing money. While that’s part of the proverbial “cost of doing business,” it can be frustrating and disconcerting to an agent to spend hours of their time with clients and have nothing to show for their efforts.
So, if the agent and buyer relationship is so important, who’s responsible for what? Should the prospective buyer be clear in the early stages of the home search and tell the agent if they’re just looking and aren’t seriously ready to buy yet? Is it the agent's responsibility to have better time management skills and qualify their potential clients?
Let’s look at both sides of the relationship.
Ultimately, the real estate agent is in business to assist prospective buyers – regardless of where they are in the home buying search process. A buyer that’s pre-qualified for a mortgage may be more serious than somebody just riding around looking at various houses and dreaming of what they may buy someday. Again, from a real estate agent’s perspective, all buyers have to start somewhere and a little “hand-holding” upfront is the cost of doing business – and, in many cases, may pay off in the long run.
Prospective borrowers also have to be cognizant of their intentions and should display certain respect for the time and energy their agent is investing in hopes of making a sale. At the end of the day, the best budding relationship between the agent and the buyer looking at Columbia SC homes for sale is one based on mutual respect. The agent should respect the buyer’s lack of knowledge in how the process works and the time it takes, and the buyer should respect the agent’s time constraints and the fact that he or she has other clients that may be further along in the home buying process.
Buyers should be encouraged to continue to shop online and to begin to narrow their search to a specific number of neighborhoods or a certain price range. Buyers who are pre-qualified for mortgage financing have also taken a big step at being better prepared when they find a home that meets their needs.
Agents need to be reminded that a single text, phone call or email doesn’t necessarily mean a buyer is ready to start the home buying process. Experienced agents will ask the prospective buyers questions that will give them a barometer as to their level of interest. In turn, that will save both the agent and the prospect considerable time prior to and in anticipation of a serious home search. A good real estate agent has a mix of clients in various stages of the home buying process.
If you're a home buyer and want to assure you get complete, unbiased representation when looking at Columbia SC homes for sale, be sure to choose an agent who can prove to you that he or she is an exclusive buyer's agent. This means they never work with sellers and have only the best interest of the home buyer at heart. Agents who are exclusive buyer representatives will have you sign an exclusive buyer agency agreement, spelling out who they represent, with no foggy areas or misunderstandings about the buyer-agent relationship.
The bottom line for a agent / buyer relationship is a mixture of give and take that ultimately results in a good fit for both parties. Remember, the ultimate goal of both the agent and the buyer is the same – for the buyer to find a home that will result in a satisfied customer. If both parties enter into the relationship with that goal in mind, the chances of enjoying a successful outcome are pretty good.
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