How to Plan A Home Tour©
Shopping for a home is not as easy as you might think. An experienced agent knows how to schedule a tour and arrange for a smooth outing.
Here are some additional suggestions to help make your home tour(s) most effective:
Beware of the “Dual” Agent – Some agents will try to represent both buyer and seller. The same agent will list the property and try to get a buyer. Although there is nothing legally or ethically wrong (provided the proper disclosure laws on dual agency are followed) it is hard to understand how the agent can negotiate to the best interest and ability on your behalf. Instead of becoming a negotiator, they play the role of mediator. In Oregon, an agent who represents both Buyer and Seller is also referred to as a “Disclosed Limited Agent.” Why would a BUYER want an agent who is “limited”? When you work with an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent you’ll have the best form of agency a buyer can have.
Be careful about what you say to a listing agent – A listing agent’s role is to represent their client — the seller! Among other duties, they are to get as high a price and the best terms as possible for their client. A list agent is required to inform the seller of any facts that may influence the seller’s decision about whether to accept an offer or not. For example, if you mention to the listing agent how much mortgage you are qualified for, don’t be surprised if the seller knows too. The list agent represents the seller(s), they are not obligated to you, and hold a fiduciary duty — first and foremost — to their clients.
Let your agent do the work! The internet provides the public with access to listings, but very often the information available is limited, doesn’t cover most of what you are looking for in a home, or more importantly the information is stale — listings are expired, have gone pending, or they have sold. Let your agent search their Multiple Listing Service for current, active homes. Your agent will supply you with a thorough list of active and available homes that match your criteria. Review them and select homes from the list your agent provides. Please let your agent provide you with a list, and not the other way around!
Avoid Rush Hour/Dinner Time. Evening tours are sometimes necessary to view homes. It may be the only time available. If the only time you have is in the evening, plan to go after 7:00 p.m. (daylight savings time). Here’s why: First of all, you’ll be out of the rush hour traffic. Touring homes is not fun when you’ve been stuck in snarled congestion for an additional 30 minutes. Second, owner occupied properties typically will have the homeowners just coming home from work. Afford them some courtesy by letting them come home, unwind, eat a little, before they leave their home for your home tour.
Trust your agent. Your agent knows how to schedule a tour. They will also know how to plan a tour. Don’t be surprised if the home you’re most anxious to see isn’t the first on the tour. This may be planned because it’s more practical to begin at another home, and then continue on to avoid having the tour scattered hither and yon. Homes should be arranged on the tour based on their location and proximity to one another. Rather than cross town several times simply because of personal ranking, it’s best to let your agent set up a tour.
Be careful from whom you take advice – Don’t count on Uncle Bob, a Realtor 20 years ago. Home builder’s salesmen and Realtors representing the seller won’t necessarily tell you all you need to know. Your Buyer’s Broker, on the other hand, is required by law to tell you everything he or she knows that could affect the value of the home.
Buy a home you can really afford – There are tax advantages to owning a home. But, there are also expenses (decorating, lawn care, trash pickup) that you may forget in the excitement. “Buy a bit less, rather than a bit more” is good advice.