May 15th, 2021 | Chris Ann Cleland
| Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket, Home Buying
What Should You Expect From Your Buyer’s Agent?
Working as a full-time, professional Real Estate Agent in Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket and this weekend, Ashburn, I can tell you that my time is largely taken on the weekends with my buyer clients. Because I also represent sellers as a listing agent, I understand the frenzied pace of the market. Outlined below are some things you should expect from a buyer’s agent.
- Same Day Availability
- Ability to Write Offers Quickly
- Open, Honest Communication
When it comes to representing buyers in a seller’s market, same day availability to show property and write offers that day as well is a MUST. Today is a perfect example. I thought I was going to have only one showing this morning. It was booked ten days ago to be the first showing on the day the listing went active. Yesterday, those buyers threw another listing at me in Ashburn. Gainesville to Ashburn the same morning? Sure. No problem. Went back to my office after to write up the offer on the Gainesville home right after.
As we got to midday, a second buyer wanted to tour a home via video tour (thanks to the gas crisis) in Gainesville in the late afternoon. No problem. Not the home for them, but we updated the offer they made last night on a listing in Haymarket. Got it in writing. Sent to listing agent. Done.
Then a third buyer popped up to see a listing tomorrow in Bristow, but after seeing the lack of showings, no offers and no deadline, we made it a priority to see TONIGHT. That offer was made and is off to the listing agent. Meanwhile, the first buyer sweetened the pot on their offer from earlier.
That’s two offers and two written adjustments to existing offers made in one day after four showings at different times. You do what you have to do. And if you can’t do it, you better have help lined up. This market is no joke. It’s survival of the fittest. No time to laze around and get to it when you feel like it. Living arrangements are on the line. Lives are going to affected by your actions. Get to it!
That is why it especially irked me two weekends ago when a buyer’s agent complained about me moving an offer deadline up on her on one of my listings. According to her, “Four hours isn’t enough time to make an offer.” I’ve got a news flash for that agent, and every other agent who thinks there is some fairness to the market or that convenience matters. It isn’t fair and your convenience doesn’t matter. Four hours is PLENTY of time to get an offer together, electronically signed and over to the listing agent. Heck, I got one together this past week in a matter of thirty minutes after leaving a showing and before my next appointment. The deadline was during my next appointment so it HAD to get done.
Of course, open and honest communication is a must in any agency relationship. My buyers get advice that is based on what is happening in the market NOW. That’s because I’m a full-time agent that does a majority of her business as a listing agent. I see what other buyers are willing to do. And once one of my listings is sold, I am happy to share with you the multiple offer comparison sheet so you can see what I see.
One note about doing business with me, I will not do dual agency. That means I won’t represent you as a buyer on my own listings. You will be referred to a top notch buyer’s agent in my office if you fall in love with one of my listings. It is my belief that all parties deserve 100% representation aligned with their interests.
Want to hire me to represent you? I would love to talk about it. Get in touch with me and let’s get started. There are ways you can win in this crazy seller’s market and I would love to help you do just that.
January 3rd, 2021 | Chris Ann Cleland
| Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket, Home Buying
Earnest Money Deposits
When dealing with real estate offers and contracts, there is a difference between a down payment and an earnest money deposit. The down payment is the amount of money a buyer is putting down out of their pocket to pay for the home, while the rest is financed with a mortgage. The down payment amount will be reflected in the pre-approval letter from their mortgage lender, which should accompany their offer.
An earnest money deposit (EMD) is something else entirely. This is money that the buyer puts at risk as part of the contract. If the buyer fails to consummate the deal, outside of voiding under home inspection, HOA documents, appraisal or financing (during their financing contingency deadline,) the buyer can be found in default and the EMD would be liquidated to the seller. If a buyer consummates the sale, the amount of their EMD would be credited toward their down payment and any closing costs at settlement.
How big should an EMD be when making an offer? While there is no set amount, what is customary in the Bristow/Gainesville and Northern Virginia marketplace is about 1% of the sales price. If you go lower than that and have a no down payment loan, a seller may understand. However, if you go lower than that and have a 20% down payment loan, the seller is going to wonder if you are as serious as other buyers that may be making offers on their property. After all, a high earnest money deposit is the best way a buyer can state they are absolutely serious about buying the home and nothing is going to stop them.
Consulting with your buyer’s agent is a must when figuring out how much your EMD should be. There will be many factors to consider, but at a minimum, you should be prepared to have 1% of the sales price on hand when making offers. If this is money that needs to come from a source like a retirement account, please let your buyer’s agent know. EMDs, if not specified otherwise, are due to be deposited within five business days of the date of ratification (final acceptance in writing by all parties to terms and delivery to all parties of such acceptance.)
Working with a buyer’s agent that can help you prepare for what’s involved in making an offer, from getting approved with a lender to how much an EMD should be, is critical to your success in a competitive marketplace. If you are looking for a Bristow/Gainesville area real estate agent with years of experience and hundreds of satisfied clients, get in touch with me. I would love the opportunity to help you through the purchase of your next home.
December 29th, 2020 | Chris Ann Cleland
| Bristow, Gainesville, Haymarket
How to Choose Your Real Estate Agent
Though all real estate agents in Virginia must be licensed by DPOR (Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation,) the amount of knowledge or skill each real estate agent licensed in our Commonwealth varies greatly. If you are looking for someone with a pulse that will give you a rebate, if you get your rebate, you have gotten what you hired. If you are looking for someone to truly protect your best interests as a seller or buyer, there is unlikely to be a rebate offered, or a super low commission.
Agents with superior skills and knowledge know their worth in the market place. And you before you get twisted about how much a real estate agent earns, you probably should understand some things:
- Real estate agents are not paid anything but commission when they sell a home.
- Real estate agents don’t have taxes withheld from their paychecks.
- Real estate agents, unless running their own brokerage, must split their commissions with their brokerage.
- Real estate agents must pay for their own business expenses, be it gas, marketing materials, MLS fees, etc.
In any profession, the best results come from the top notch professionals. And I don’t know of any top notch professionals not charging more than their competitors. Does that mean you should just run out and hire someone charging you the most? No. Here are some tips:
- Ask your friends or family if they have an agent they have used and liked.
- Peruse sites like Zillow to see sales history of various agents and reviews. There you can learn how active the agent is, the areas where they specialize, and what their clients have to say about their services.
- Call and have a conversation with an agent that you find well versed in your needs. You can tell a lot by talking to an agent. Great agents ask a lot of questions and will rarely be caught off guard.
- Does the agent you are considering have reasons and “war stories” about why they are advising you the way they are? If not, they may not have much experience.
- Ask the agents you encounter what additional qualifications they have beyond holding an active license. An agent that wants to invest in their own knowledge will either have a higher level of license or some designations. They will likely also have earned levels of noteworthy achievement by their brokerage or association.
Hiring an agent based on how low of a commission they offer or what rebate they will give you usually lets you know that you are not working with the cream of the crop. And your results may be less than stellar. If results matter to you (that’s getting the best deal with buying or selling,) don’t hire assuming we are all the same. We are not.