Whether it’s your first, your fifth or even your 15th property, nothing quite beats that feeling of excitement that comes with making the decision to put an offer down on a property.
That said, buying property can be a long, arduous journey – which is why the real estate agent who is selling the home is there to help as much as they can.
Even though they are employed by the seller, and their primary goal is to get the best possible outcome for the property’s owner, you can turn to them for guidance, updates and information.
As a property buyer, there are a few things you should avoid when dealing with selling agents, lest you risk getting on their “bad side”.
Here are the top 5 things buyers do that drive real estate agents crazy:
1. Being unprepared
One of the most frustrating things for a real estate agent is when a buyer is not prepared for the home-buying process.
This means not having a pre-approval letter for a mortgage, not having a clear budget, and not knowing what they are looking for in a home.
Being unprepared can slow down the process and make it difficult for the agent to find the right fit for you as a buyer.
2. Lowballing the price for no real reason
Sure everyone loves a bargain.
And yes we’re in a market where on many occasions the buyer has the upper hand
But when you’re buying a home, you need to do your research so you can demonstrate how and why you’ve come up with your lowball offer.
Submitting a low offer with no grounding or reasoning could give the listing agent the impression that you’re just a “tyre kicker”, and you’re not actually serious about securing the property.
Instead, if you choose to submit a low offer to get the ball rolling, communicate to the agent why you’ve come in at this amount.
Is the local market languishing?
Is the property located on the less desirable side of the street?
Is the home shabbier and in need of renovation, when compared to the neighbours’ homes’?
Qualify your offer, and the agent is more likely to take you seriously – and will then hopefully negotiate with you to create a win-win outcome for everyone.
3. Refusing to value their input
You’ve done your research. You know what you’re looking for, you’ve done your due diligence, and you’ve crunched the numbers.
You know it all, right?
Whilst you always want to take any advice or insights from the selling agent with a grain of salt — after all, they are trying to sell the property as their main objective – you also need to keep an open mind when it comes to what they have to say.
They might let slip, for instance, that the sellers are a divorcing couple.
This could indicate that either, a) they are motivated to sell, and you can negotiate hard on price; or b) that it’s going to be a difficult sale process, as you will effectively be negotiating with two sellers who are not quite united in their needs and approach.
In other words: this could be a benefit or a drawback for potential buyers.
The selling agent is close to the sellers, so take their advice on board when strategising your offer.
4. Constantly changing your mind
It’s natural for buyers to have a wishlist of features they want in a home, but constantly changing their minds or adding new items to the list can be a headache for the agent.
It can also be confusing for the agent to keep track of your changing preferences and may lead to wasted time showing homes that no longer meet your criteria.
Of course, you’re entitled to change your mind.
But if you constantly change your mind about everything from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’re looking for, to the location and facilities, or your budget, the selling agent will really struggle to assist you and you will just make it harder for both of you in the long run.
So before you begin liaising with an agent on a property, make sure you are quite concrete in what you want.
Be decisive – the home buying process can move quickly and it’s important for buyers to be able to make decisions in a timely manner.
This will make the whole process much quicker and will get you closer to achieving your goal of finding the ideal investment property or perfect home for you.
5. Caring more about the less important things
When buyers focus too much on the aesthetics of a property, and not enough on the other equally (if not more) important factors, this can be a red flag to the selling agent that you’re just not ready to commit.
The important things include aspects like location, neighbourhood, structure, boundaries, renovation potential and environmental surroundings.
Checking whether the area is in a flood zone, or is it prone to bushfires, is much more important than the colour of the walls, or the type of flooring used in the kitchen.
These aspects, along with aesthetics, all need to be taken into account when choosing a house or investment property.
Nothing drives an agent crazier than working with you through several negotiations, only to have you continue to ‘um’ and ‘ah’ based on trivial matters.
6. Simply disappearing
Real estate agents are busy people and they rely on prompt communication from their clients to move the process along.
Whatever happens in your property-buying journey, you should never, ever ghost your agent.
Ghosting occurs when someone works with an agent for a time, before completely disappearing for an unknown reason – refusing to answer calls, return emails, or correspond in any way.
This is not only frustrating for the agent, but it’s also just plain rude.
If you’re ever having doubts about whether it’s the right time for you to buy, whether that property might be the right fit, or whether you can really afford to take the plunge and buy right now – or even if you’ve found another agent and you’re negotiating on another property – just be honest.
Real estate agents put a lot of time and effort into building relationships, and it could make things awkward down the track if you are in the position to do business with them again – and they still remember your ghosting efforts of the past.
At the end of the day, you want to conduct yourself in your real estate transactions the way you would in any line of business: with integrity and respect.
Treat the real estate agents you’re working with the way that you would want to be treated, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a working relationship that could pay dividends for years to come.
The bottom line:
Overall, the key to a smooth home-buying process is good communication and trust between the buyer and their real estate agent.
By being prepared, decisive, and open to the agent’s expertise, buyers can make the process a lot less stressful for both parties.