As you all know, we’ve been in a Seller’s Market for some time now. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you when that will change, but I thought I’d share some helpful tips for you all as you navigate your home search in this competitive market. These tips may seem obvious or simple, but you’d be surprised by how many buyers I meet that don’t follow these crucial but easy quidelines.
If you only remember one of these points, let it be this one. Be so nice to everyone – the home, your agent, and especially the listing agent. Even if this home isn’t the one for you, that listing agent could very well be the agent for the next home you want. This however, does not mean you should abandon or circumvent your agent to become besties with the listing agent. Be loyal to your agent, and they will be loyal to you.
When you walk into a showing or Open House, the listing agent is reading each potential buyer and determining how they might behave in escrow. Nobody likes to work with a difficult or rude buyer, and these people usually give themselves away before their offer is accepted. Be the nice person that the other party will want to work with.
Agents are busy right now. We meet and speak with sometimes hundreds of people in a week, and the extra kind, friendly people always stick out in my mind and will make me feel those warm fuzzy feelings when I’m meeting with my sellers to review offers and decide which buyer to go with. Kindness counts. And the best part about kindness – it’s FREE!
RESPECT PEOPLE’S TIME
Don’t be late to home showings, or even worse, bail entirely. Sure, things come up. Traffic sucks in LA. Plan for it! Everyone is planning to accommodate your showing, and when you are late, it can throw off the whole day. If you are late, apologize and acknowledge it. Don’t brush it off – that is a pet peeve of mine, and probably many other listing agents as well (circles back to the BE NICE rule).
DON’T DATE MULTIPLE AGENTS
This is a tricky one because a lot of buyers don’t fully understand agency relationship, but that can be resolved by asking your agent, or any agent, what the etiquette is. We will gladly walk you through it. Don’t ask one agent for help or advice if you’re already working with another agent. That’s your agent’s job.
When you ask an agent to show you a home, you are basically asking them to represent you on the purchase of that home, should you move forward with it. And that agent will likely think you will want them to help you on the purchase of any home you buy in the future. Be upfront if this is not the case.
Also, if you are working with an agent, don’t reach out to the listing agent direct. That’s what your agent is for!
POKER FACE NO NOS
This is not the market to pull out your poker face. One thing I’m looking for in a buyer when I’m representing a seller, is someone who really wants this home. It’s not necessarily who can and will pay the most in a bidding war that will win the home, it’s who will actually motivated to close the deal.
The seller’s agent will remember the person that is gushing over the gardens, views and layout. They’ll remember the person who is asking all the right questions and expressing their desire to be a part of the community. They will convey this emotion to the seller, and it will help you stand out amongst a handful of other buyers who may be financially stronger than you.
GET PRE APPROVED
Don’t start shopping for homes without a pre approval in hand. Unless you’re swimming in cash, it’s not wise, or really fair to anyone’s time to start shopping for homes when you don’t even know if you can afford it. And even if you think you can afford it, you will need a pre approval letter in order to make an offer, which can sometimes take a few days to get. By that time, the home you saw and fell in love with could be gone. Get pre approved and be ready to pull the trigger before you start requesting private showings.
This is not the same for open houses. Hit up all the open houses you want prior to getting your pre approval… but for private showings, where you are taking the time of the seller, their agent, and your agent, have you pre approval ready to go.
FIND A LOCAL REALTOR
I am a big believer in using a Realtor that is local to the area. This is especially true when the area is so unique to the surrounding areas, like (drum roll please), Topanga Canyon!
Only the local Realtors (who usually are longtime Topangans) know how to ride and tame this wild, beautiful beast that is Topanga. We’re like the desert people in Dune, and Topanga is the giant worm. You want someone that can ride that worm, and not get eaten by it, right? (I just finished reading Dune, and I’m liking this analogy, however ridiculous it may seem). Out of area agent don’t know the ins and outs of the land, and the quirks and uniqueness that come with buying and owning a home in Topanga. They also don’t have personal, sometimes lifelong connections with the other agents, neighbors and locals in town that can be beneficial to you in your home search.
And to all the buyers out there feeling defeated and wondering if they will ever be able to buy a home in this market, just hold on. Don’t give up. Eventually it will happen for you, and it will be worth the the blood, sweat and tears you’ve poured into the search.