Why do you only work with buyers...and not list homes for sellers?
Real estate agents and real estate companies commonly create situations in which they are working directly with both the buyer and seller in the same transaction. This situation can definitely benefit them because they can double their commission. We know this creates serious conflicts of interest. Do you try to get the best price for the seller…or the buyer? If a serious problem comes up in the inspection, should you council the buyer to terminate the contract? This could risk the loss of the listing as well as the commission on the other side if the seller had planned on buying. We don’t list homes because we are committed to representing the interests of our buyer clients completely and consistently, while minimizing conflicts of interest.
What makes you different than other buyer’s agents?
First, we are Exclusive Buyer Agents, which means that we have a level of commitment to representing buyers that few other agents have. It also means that we avoid many of the conflicts of interest inherent in the practice of trying to represent both buyers and sellers. Second, we work as a team with each buyer client. This means that you’re not put on hold because we’re busy with other clients, that you’ll get input from several agents, and that you’ll have our support when you need it. Finally, we’ve developed a systematic approach to the buying process that provides you with better information to make critical decisions, get you information on properties other buyers aren’t aware of, and helps us avoid the pitfalls and confusion that can make the process of closing on your home such a nightmare.
How do you get paid?
Like other real estate agents, we get paid only when you close on the purchase of your home. If the seller has listed the home with an agent, they will be offering to pay a commission to the agent working with the buyer. If the property isn’t listed and we’re working directly with the seller, the seller will almost always agree to pay our commission. We work with lots of unlisted properties. Since 1992, we’ve only had two cases where the buyer decided to pay all or part of our commission because the seller refused to.
What areas do you cover?
We cover the City of Boulder as well as the other towns and cities of Boulder County, both in the plains and the mountains. We also work a lot in Broomfield, Westminster, Arvada, Northglenn, Thornton, Firestone, Frederick, Dacono, Erie, and Berthoud. If you’re looking elsewhere, we can probably help you find a good buyer agent there.
How long have you been working in real estate?
The owner and managing broker of Agents for Home Buyers has had his broker’s license since 1992, has been working full time representing home buyers since that time, and has helped more than 500 buyer clients through the process. For more information on the team’s background, education and experience, check out the section we call “Our People.”
How does your team approach work?
Over the course of a typical home search, you’ll look at homes with all the agents on the team. When one of us is out looking at properties with you, someone else is back in the office handling the paperwork, setting up showings for the next day, or digging up information about the houses you’ve just seen. We work in a common office and meet daily to review what’s happening with our clients, so we’re all up to speed on your situation and can help you out if you have questions. You’ll get better service during the home search and once you’re under contract, and you’ll get more than one perspective if tough questions arise. You’ll have “two heads” for the price of one.
Will I be under pressure to buy quickly? What if I don’t buy anything?
Most of our clients take 2 to 6 months to find a home. We have systems in place that help us work effectively with out of town buyers who want to find their home in a week or less, but the pressure to buy will come only from your situation…not from us. We’ll work patiently with you if you need the time. One client took 9 1/2 years. And we’ll scramble like mad if you’re under the gun. You’re the quarterback. We’re your team. And if you don’t end up buying, we’ll wish you luck and hope you’ll refer your friends because we’ve done what we could for you.
Can you help me purchase if I own a home and need to sell it first?
We do this all the time, most commonly with past clients who need a new home but also need to sell the first home we helped them buy. We can connect you with some of the best listing agents in your area. We have the experience to know who they are. And they’ll represent you on the sale of your home and while we help you locate and buy the replacement. You can have the best representation on both ends of the transaction at no added cost. In addition, if you use an agent that we recommend, they would normally pay us a referral fee. But we have them rebate that back to you since we will make a commission when you close on your next house.
Can you help with new construction or for sale by owner properties?
We can help with the purchase of any property. We have extensive experience working with home builders. We also do a lot of work with owners of unlisted properties, in part because we frequently mail to owners in neighborhoods and condo complexes to locate unlisted properties for our clients.
Can you help us buy vacant land or commercial property?
We can certainly help with the purchase of vacant land. This can be a very tricky endeavor if you planning on building a home on the land, particularly in Boulder County. We do not have the knowledge or skills required to help with the purchase of commercial or industrial property.
We might be interested in working with you. How do we get started?
Whenever possible, it’s best to start out with a face to face meeting where you can outline your goals and we can give you some in depth information about the process and how we work. After meeting with us for an hour or two, you’ll know a lot more about real estate and the home buying process, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether you’d like to have us help you find and buy a home.
When are you available to meet?
Our office is open 8:30 am to 5pm Monday through Friday, but we’re frequently out of the office looking at properties with clients, attending inspections, and so on. If you’d like to meet with us, call or email and set up an appointment. Assuming we’re not booked working with current clients, we can meet with you just about any time, weekdays, evenings or weekends.
When are you available to look at property?
We look at properties with clients weekdays, weekends and evenings, from about 8:00 am to 7:00 pm or so in the evening. Since we work as a team, its pretty rare that there isn’t someone available to look at homes with you when you need to.
How do you start out the home search?
You’re the boss, but our routine is to start out by printing out the listings of all the properties currently on the market and all the listings that have sold in the past 6-24 months that match your home search criteria. We then map these properties so that you can see where they are on street level maps. This provides you with a comprehensive picture of your niche in the market that most buyers never have a access to. With some work on your part in the first week or two of your search, you can use this data so that you’ll understand the niche in the market defined by your search criteria better than anyone, including real estate agents who’ve worked in the area for decades. In the first week, you’ll know every neighborhood where there’s any realistic possibility of buying a home matching your search criteria, and you’ll know how many sell in those neighborhoods every month, how quickly they sell, and the difference between asking and selling prices.
How many homes do you look at with a typical buyer?
We probably look at 30 to 80 homes with our typical buyer, over a 2 to 6 month search period. In most cases, we’ll look at 20-30 homes in the first couple of days when we begin looking at property with a client. By running through a lot of homes quickly in the first few days of your search, you’ll be able to supplement the information we provide you through our property mappings and develop a fairly complete picture of what types of homes are available to you and what they’ll cost in a given neighborhood or community. This gives you the knowledge base you need to make good judgments when you get to the point that you’re negotiating the price of a home or on the findings of an inspection.
How will you tell us about new homes that are coming on the market?
After we complete an initial mapping of the homes that are on the market when you start your home search, we’ll update you every morning on homes that have just hit the market and homes that have just dropped into your price range. To give you a complete picture of what’s happening in your niche of the market, we’ll also update you at the same time on any of these homes that have gone under contract, that been taken off the market, or that have sold.
What special efforts do you make to locate properties for us?
With respect to properties listed in the MLS, we subscribe to both of the MLS systems where homes for sale are listed in the areas we cover. We work hard to make sure that we’re seeing every relevant home in both systems. And once you’ve identified the neighborhoods or townhome/condo complexes where you’d really like to buy, we routinely mail to the owners of unlisted homes in these areas in order to find unlisted properties that may be for sale.
Do you help with drafting the offer or with negotiations?
In most cases, we will draft the offer and review it with you, explaining the terms of the contract and the timing of key events. We’ll also help you understand the market value of the property and take the lead in negotiations with the seller or the listing agent, though you’re the one who makes all the final decisions.
Do you help with the inspections?
After you’re under contract, you’ll have the right not only to have inspections of the physical condition of the property but to evaluate many other aspects of the property. We work as your support team throughout this process.
Do you help with the final closing of the purchase?
While we will be there with you when the papers are signed to finalize the purchase of the property, the most important work we do in connection with the closing is in the weeks prior. We work carefully and extensively to facilitate communication between the buyer, seller/listing agent, lender and title company to make sure that everything is in place to make the closing itself a relatively dull affair.