agent showing document to homebuying couple

10 Things Your Buyer’s Agent Wishes You Already Knew

This content was originally published on March 19, 2018 and updated on May 29, 2023.

Most people buy homes infrequently. First-time buyers don’t have any home-buying experience, and seasoned homeowners can easily forget details about the buying process, many of which may have changed since they last purchased a home.

Buyer’s agents get it. They understand that homebuyers need lots of assistance and have many questions. Helping buyers is what they do.

There are, however, a few things buyer’s agents wish you DID already know…their desires for working together successfully and helping you find the perfect home.

Here are 10 of their top requests.

1. Be ready to buy a house.

Window shopping is fine. It will help you determine what you like and don’t like in a home. So attend open houses, tour neighborhoods, and dream big! But when you secure the services of a buyer’s agent, please be ready to make decisions.

2. Get pre-approved.

You may think you’re ready to buy, but your savings account and credit history might tell a different story, making it difficult to secure a bank’s pre-approval on a mortgage. And without a pre-approval, sellers may be reluctant to consider your offers. 

It’s essential to get your financial house in order first. But if you’d like assistance, buyer’s agents can point you toward lenders and credit repair specialists who can help.

3. Prepare a budget.

For example, getting pre-approved for a $300,000 mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean you want to spend that much on a house. Do you want to cut yourself so close that you can’t comfortably make ends meet?

Ensure you have considered expenses not factored into the pre-approval process, including the costs of owning a home and maintaining your current lifestyle (travel, entertainment, dining, etc.). Then, add these expenses to the mortgage payment to determine what you can comfortably afford without compromising your quality of life.

4. Hush on home tours.

With the prevalence of home security systems, baby monitors, and the like, anything you say is vulnerable to reaching the seller’s ears. Or, in some cases, the owner or their listing agent may be on the property and overhear you.

It’s a two-pronged risk: If you comment critically about the owner’s sense of style or personal possessions, they may feel insulted and reluctant to negotiate with you. On the other hand, divulging how much you LOVE certain aspects of a property tells the owner they may have more negotiating power.

Discuss facts about a home’s features is fine, but wait until you’ve left the property to express your opinions and conclusions.

5. Some topics are off-limits.

Please don’t ask or expect your buyer’s rep to advise on legal or tax matters. Buyer’s agents are REAL ESTATE specialists, and they aren’t allowed to overstep their area of expertise. They can, however, suggest professionals who are experts in other areas.

Similarly, Fair Housing laws prohibit agents from engaging in discriminatory practices, including discussing topics like a community’s racial composition, or whether an area is safe.

6. Try to eliminate family distractions.

When touring homes, leaving your children (especially the younger set) with a trusted sitter or family member is best. Then, you’ll be more focused on the job of evaluating homes. 

Also, when you’ve scheduled an afternoon to inspect several houses, please don’t make your agent wait while you change diapers, feed a hungry baby, and fiddle with car seats. Kindly respect their time as much as they respect yours.

7. Don’t engage with the listing agent.

Remember, your buyer’s agent represents your interests, and the listing agent represents the sellers. So listing agents aren’t your enemy, but don’t forget that their job includes getting as much money as possible for their clients.

Even seemingly innocent conversations may disclose details about your timing preferences, budget constraints, or other factors that could hurt your negotiation power. It may seem small, but comments about job relocations, lease termination dates, etc., may help the seller’s agent decide how much pressure you’re under and how motivated you are to buy the home. 

8. The delicate art of negotiating.

Yes, the purchase price is a big deal, but other contingencies also play a significant role. You may push too hard if you insist on too many terms and conditions (including the washer/dryer and all the patio furniture in the sale, plus an early occupancy clause, for example).

The seller may accept a different buyer’s offer simply because they appear more flexible and willing to work cooperatively, even if the price is slightly lower.

9. Finding the right home takes time.

Unless you plan on paying cash and know what you want and where to find it, it will probably take a while to pinpoint your home. With your agent’s help, you’ll prioritize your needs and wants, evaluate current market conditions, and determine the best locations.

Sometimes things fall into place quickly, but more often, it requires patience to find the right house at the right price and finalize the transaction.

10. You are entering into a relationship.

When you secure the services of a buyer’s agent, they are agreeing to invest time and energy into helping you find a great house. It’s a relationship based on mutual loyalty.

Your agent may ask you to sign a buyer representation agreement to clarify expectations. This is a common practice in many states and helps ensure you receive the highest professional support in your transaction.

However, don’t hesitate to ask questions before signing any legal document! Your buyer’s rep would much rather talk through any points of concern. It’s the best way to cement your relationship as a team, working together to help you achieve your homeownership dreams.