The difficulty with out of area or part time real estate agents

Sometimes part time or out of area agents have no clue what’s happening in the local Silicon Valley real estate marketplace where they are submitting offers, and it really harms their clients!  Here are a couple of things to be aware of:

  1. Your agent needs to SEE the property. It’s really not good enough if the buyer sees the home and the agent swoops in to write the offer.  The buyer and buyer’s agent are a team, and if only one of you has seen the home, you the buyer are at a disadvantage because you don’t look serious or knowledgeable!  If your agent is out of the area, get him or her to the home if you want to buy it.  No excuses.
  2. Know what is customary for the county or area where the offer is being written.  In some areas, it’s normal for the sellers or the buyers to pay certain costs. Get that wrong and the listing agent (and then the seller) will wonder what else you don’t know.  It could be the amount of the initial deposit, the contingency days, or who pays what.    I usually only work in Santa Clara County, but sometimes do find myself in another neighboring county and one of the first things I do is learn the local ropes. (Title companies can tell you what is customary and many have a form online to lay out who usually pays what.)
  3. Make sure your agent TALKS with the listing agent!  Don’t be secretive.  Ask good questions like these: “what is the seller looking for?” “what is included or not included?” and drill down to specifics.  Does the seller want a rent back? If so, find out what terms might work and write them in.  Leaving a blank or not having that rent back addendum is like saying “I didn’t care enough to find out”.

Communication is key, from start to finish.  If you want the house, be consistent.  Don’t be flaky or up and down. Send the consistent message that you wand the home and be unwavering. If the seller’s agent thinks you are up and down, it will make your odds of success diminish.

Additionally – if you or your relatives go through the open house, BE NICE to the listing agent or open house host. Be polite, it actually does count. This is part of the courtship, and if you or your people are not nice, it will not help you to get your home.   Recently I  had an open house where the family members of one of the buyers came through and were downright rude. You can be sure that this did not help, and with all the multiple offers we are seeing, those little things can really add up.

Be the driver and set expectations – make sure that if you want the home that you have a good presentation, both in person and in your paperwork. In this market, a buyer cannot be too careful!