Buyer's Agent as Personal Shopper

Buyer's agents help you find your new homeAs a buyer’s agent, I’m on the lookout for interesting houses for my clients – their personal shopper in the real estate markets. I’m their eyes and ears on the ground, monitoring the new listings, checking out properties in person, and asking about other opportunities. There are many reasons why this can be helpful to buyers, but here are two biggies.

Properties show up and disappear from the public websites differently than on the MLS (which agents use to communicate with each other). Although this isn’t a perfect analogy, think about it like investing in the stock markets. Would it be better to get your information from the newspapers tomorrow morning, go online to check the markets in real time, or tell a trader in the pits what you want and have them call you when they find it? Checking the newspaper for stock prices is like using the public website – the information is a snapshot that is not necessarily complete and may be out of date. That’s really the only option for buyers working on their own at this point in time. Buyer’s Agents can check the markets in real time through the MLS and, if they take their job seriously, they can talk with other agents to find out if there are properties preparing to come on the market that may meet their clients’ needs.

Another way having a personal shopper is helpful is in gathering information beyond what is in the MLS listing. Online listings give a flavor of each home, but they don’t always give the whole picture since they are intended to draw buyers in to the property. Sometimes you can guess what the challenges are just by the address (the house backs to the highway), or they’re obvious in person (the home is built on a cliff), or if you know the history of the property (second time through foreclosure). A Buyer’s Agent will know the markets their clients are searching and will provide additional information about properties so that their clients can decide whether it is worth their time to go check it out.

Broker’s tour is a great way for agents to check out the new listings in person and chat with the other agents. This was a busy week for listings. I saw 14 homes on West Hartford’s broker’s tour yesterday, versus 5 – 8 in a normal week. There were homes for all sorts of buyers, and my mental Rolodex was spinning the whole time thinking about who might be interested in each property.

I saw…
– A larger fixer with great space and potential.
– A medium sized, like-new, foreclosure flip.
– A smaller, open, updated property.
– A clean and classic larger home.
– A serene, single-floor property close to the Center.
– A larger, traditional home in the Center.

One of the most rewarding things about being a real estate agent is helping buyers find a home that they really connect with. Their criteria often change during the search as they learn what’s realistic for their price range, but at some point we walk into a property and they feel like they’ve found the right home for them.

Do any of these new listings sound like they may be the right home for you?