10 Things Good Buyers’ Agents Do

Edge Real Estate Agency specializes in representing home buyers in Manhattan Beach and the South Bay.

If you think a buyer’s agent is just someone who does paperwork for you, consider the true range of tasks many buyers’ agents perform for their clients:

1. Getting to know you

Who are you? Where are you in your journey? What are your wants and needs in a new home? Do different partners or members of the family have specific, or even conflicting, needs in a house? What are your timing considerations, or deadlines? How well do you know the area or areas where you think you’d like to buy?

As a buyer’s agent gets to know you, they develop a picture of how to help, where to look, and how to address as many of your needs and concerns as possible. 


2. Setting expectations

An agent sometimes plays a role as a counselor and an educator. The agent wants to help you to meet your needs while limiting your tradeoffs. But an agent should also help everyone turn goals into expectations. Together, you should work with your agent to form a realistic idea of what you can accomplish. You’ll develop a focus on certain neighborhoods and types of homes, with a good sense of the time that might be required to meet your goals. If you need help with financing, your agent can help you find or work with a lender to develop a realistic budget and plan.

3. Educating you about the market

The real estate market is always changing, and it always has hyper-local variations. In the South Bay, the market seems to be hot more than it’s cold, but everything depends. Which way are the winds blowing in the economy, in the real estate market regionally, or locally? How do these trends translate to the specific neighborhoods and price points that you are interested in?

A buyer’s agent who is practicing in the area is going to have a good sense for how local markets are operating, and how those trends might influence your purchase. 


4. Finding properties, making matches

Buyers can see a lot more online today than in the past. Real estate agents are no longer the “gatekeepers” to all available homes. Still, when you work with a dedicated buyer’s agent, your agent will typically see homes first and will be able to advise you about them, calling you to come see them if there’s a good fit. Your agent can also tell you if a property that looks good online actually fails to meet your needs for one reason or another. Also, having a close relationship with an agent may mean that you have early access to that agent’s listings that may match your needs. Lastly, through networking, buyer’s agents often hear about other agents’ listings that are getting ready for market, and can get you early information about them. 

5. Knowing when to move, and when to wait

In all kinds of market conditions, it can be difficult to gauge interest levels or the urgency for acting on a specific property. A buyer’s agent with solid experience can help you evaluate the situation for a home on the market that you like. When is it OK to “wait and see” how other buyers respond? When is it vital to write an offer right away? A buyer’s agent will get in touch with the listing agent and make an assessment for you.

Consider one real-world possibility: A home comes out overpriced by 5% or more. Buyers like it, but most decide to watch and wait until the seller makes a price cut. A buyer’s agent who has experience with the seller’s agent may be able to learn that the initial price was intentionally set a bit high, but that the sellers are serious, realistic and need to sell. Your agent could put you in the position of writing an offer that gets you the home at a fair price, before all those buyers who were “watching” realize what kind of opportunity was there all along.


6. Providing expert real-time valuation for properties

The seller has set their price for a home you like. Now, what's it really worth? The best buyer's agents can help you answer that question with confidence. Great agents are both local area experts and just a little bit obsessive about data. The "nerdiest" part of the job is gathering data that is relevant to specific properties you are interested in, and showing you how it all adds up. Every region and neighborhood of the South Bay has a little bit of a different history and different points in favor and against.

Knowing what they know, buyer's agents can help clients make sense out of a mountain of data to see what it really means for the home they like. This skill becomes important in crafting an offer and negotiating final terms.

7. Maximizing your leverage in offer price and terms

A buyer’s agent’s job is to get you the home you want with the best price and terms possible. Having written, and reviewed, many offers before, an experienced buyer’s agent knows not only how the basic details of the offer work, but also how to adjust them to make the whole package attractive. Your agent first needs to find out the sellers’ overall situation to understand their needs and expectations. Are there job or life changes motivating the sale? Do they need to sell quickly to make another purchase work? Are they hoping to sell but still remain in the home for 30-60 days after closing, while they plan their next move? Next, what is the competitive environment in which your offer might be reviewed?

A deft and experienced agent should be able to help you use your strongest points of leverage to craft an offer with price and terms that work best for you and the sellers. Tangible factors other than price can make the difference.


8. Guiding you through multiple offers

In the South Bay, when market conditions are good, we see that 40 to 50% of listings wind up getting multiple offers. It’s even common to see multiple offers after a home has become “stuck” on the market. Several buyers are often watching it and choose to act at about the same time. So, how do you “win” in a multiple-offer situation? A skilled, experienced buyer’s agent will gather intelligence about the other offers, then work with you to maximize your leverage in revised price and terms. Sometimes, it’s not just the highest price that gets a buyer the property, it’s the best package that meets the sellers’ needs. It's different every time, and experience counts.


9. Steering the inspections process and negotiations

Do you know some local home inspectors? Do you know which ones do the best job, and have the best reputations? Your buyer’s agent does, and has a virtual rolodex of specialty inspectors to handle multiple systems in a house. They know whom to call to investigate detailed or complex problems that come up in the seller’s disclosures or initial inspections. Agents have contractors available to provide estimates for repairs or upgrades that may seem necessary or desirable. An experienced buyer’s agent can help you put all of the inspection findings into perspective, and help you develop any requests for repairs or financial credits to take care of issues that are found. If findings are truly troubling, your agent, who is watching out for your best interests, can also help counsel you on whether it might just be best to back out of the transaction and let another buyer take on the problems. 

10. Keeping you on time, in compliance and in contract through closing

When your offer is accepted, as a buyer, you agree contractually to perform various tasks on time. A small mountain of paperwork will be generated that needs your review and signature, both to comply with the contract and requirements by the lender, escrow firm, title firm and state law. New parties emerge to facilitate the process, but your buyer's agent remains close by to help manage things. There are deadlines to review seller documents, conduct your own inspections, clear contingencies for property condition and financing, and to close on time. Your purchase can be jeopardized if you fall behind on any of those timelines. A buyer’s agent tracks these timelines with you to make sure you continue to perform on the contract. The agent’s team helps to coordinate all of the paperwork to be sure nothing is missed. If necessary, your agent can step in and negotiate extensions.

Communication is important throughout the escrow period. A good buyer’s agent and team become masters of this process to help buyers like you. The overall goal is to manage a smooth process, keep you from losing your position on a property and help you get all the way to closing day... followed by moving day!


Work with Dave Fratello

Looking for help with your home search or sale? MB Confidential producer Dave Fratello is an active local broker with Edge Real Estate Agency. He and the team would be honored to help!

Edge is a full-service, boutique real estate agency representing buyers and sellers. We are experts in residential real estate in Manhattan Beach and nearby South Bay real estate markets.

We’re different because we uniquely blend online savvy, tech proficiency, marketing expertise, local knowledge and experience with negotiations and transactions in this area. For any question or a free consultation, reach out to Dave today!

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