Questions to Ask Your Buyer Agent: Part Three

Questions to Ask Your Buyer Agent: Part Three

In the third part of the series, the conversation goes beyond what you can expect from me and touches on the level of service clients receive from the referral partners I recommend. In the course of a purchase transaction, buyers can select their own lender, title company, home inspector, insurance representative, accountant and more. Much like a wedding, a home purchase is a time where most vendors recognize the wallet is open and the cost for services can get outrageously high. While a client is more than welcome to spend whatever they’re comfortable with, I make it my responsibility to offer a wide range of options and set realistic expectations.

7. What other professionals do you typically partner with to help me buy a home?

After meeting with a buyer for an initial consultation, I’ll give out a list of names and contact information for lenders that I’ve personally worked with and feel confident about recommending. If the purchase is less than 90 days away, buyers will need to know what the price range is before seeking out properties that aren’t a good fit. A lender can help determine the best way to utilize your available cash and how to achieve short and long term goals. A good lender is someone that will explain the numbers and communicate in layman’s terms how the financial jargon translates.

A few things to keep in mind when selecting a lender:

  • A lender can answer questions but can’t make any recommendations until after they’ve reviewed a full application
  • Lenders can offer competitive rates and terms but they won’t be able to commit until there’s a ratified contract

In addition to lenders, I can recommend home inspectors. Some inspectors are better with older homes, others are more familiar with certain areas or styles, but I won’t recommend anyone that doesn’t allow buyers to walk with them through the inspection. As this is the only opportunity buyers have to attain an orientation on how things work, what to expect and how to maintain, it is of paramount importance that a home inspector addresses a buyer’s concerns.

There isn’t a whole lot of engagement between a buyer and a title company but I have several recommendations for title services. Again, it’s best to work with someone that is available to answer questions about fees, policies and the way the laws affect ownership. Frequently I have been asked for contractors, accountants, tax professionals, attorneys, insurance providers, termite inspectors and more. Everyone I’ve recommended has done work for me, some of it my own personal home or transactions.

8. Do I have to work with the lender, inspector or other service providers that you recommend?

Absolutely not. You may choose to work with whomever you like but I will be ready with stories about why we don’t work with people we know and trust. The most complicated part about the transaction is the mortgage. When lenders don’t ask the right questions and gather all the necessary information, we end up with delays and it’s not uncommon for loans to fall apart three weeks into a transaction after a buyer has already spent $1,000+ in inspections and an appraisal. Just this year I’ve had buyers rejected for financing because they hadn’t paid their taxes, student loans weren’t considered or the cash needed to close was grossly underestimated.

The same can apply to a home inspector. It’s not uncommon for an inspector to give their professional assessment on a situation but defer to an expert for further evaluation. Cracks in the foundation walls can be a major repair item, ultimately it may mean terminating the contract. Keeping in mind, a home inspector can only inspect what they can see and can’t be held liable for everything.

9. If I choose to work with my own lender, how would you communicate with them?

We will remain professional, utilize email/text/phone conversations until we achieve a clear to close but there are many cases where banks simply close for the day and don’t respond while on vacation because they’re not as emotionally tied to your settlement as the other parties involved. Big banks are notorious for being slow, expensive, inflexible and generally disconnected. They certainly aren’t going to remember you at the holidays.

We respect the relationship you have with your lending institution and will uphold our professionalism by keeping you and your loan officer informed of deadlines throughout the transaction. But you’ve been warned.
If you missed the first part of the series, click here.
To read the second part of the series, click here.
In the coming weeks, I’ll continue posting the questions and my responses so that you can learn about me and how I operate my business.