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American Homeowners Association



What Your Agent May Not Be Saying

The truth is your agent may not always tell the absolute, unvarnished truth. There are times when legally he or she may fudge a bit to make a sale. The trick is to know how to detect the omissions and subtleties of selling real estate.

Here are some of the biggest omissions real estate agents make when trying their best to get you to bite:

You Can Use Other Agents In Addition to Me If you haven't signed an exclusive agreement with one agent, why limit yourself? There is no law that says you can't have as many agents show you around as you like. In fact, taking a few agents out for a test drive may be the best choice. It allows you to find someone you feel comfortable with and who you feel listens and understands your needs. But most agents don't want you to know this and stray from the nest. So be sure to look around before getting locked into that exclusivity thing. It is your right to do so.

You Are the Only One Biting on This House Most agents also won't tell you if you are the only person going after a home. Why? Because if you are the only one, you will offer less and their commission goes down. So, unless you are using a buyer's broker, forget finding out about this one.

This House Has Been Empty A Long Time! (And for good reason.) Why would you think they would tell you this? Turn you off before you even have the chance to like the home. Never! This may be another reason you may want to have a buyer's broker instead of an agent. He or she WILL tell you things like this, and why. In some states, it is required to disclose information about "stigmatized properties," in other words those with sordid pasts, such as suicides, murders, etc. Other states are much less forceful about this and it may not be revealed. A good broker can find this information out and tell you, so can some older neighbors in the neighborhood, if they are willing to talk. If you get a bad vibe about the house, you may want to investigate it on your own a little by doing a search with the local police department or the local paper.

I'm Not Doing Everything I Can For You Who would tell a client they are neglecting them? But it does happen all the time. If you have never bought a home, how are you to know what to expect? It is easy to take advantage and sell the services a little short. Look for an agent who will tell you facts about the home and neighborhood, such as school information, crime rate, etc. This is part of what a good agent will find out for you.

The Fee Is Negotiable Compensating your agent is not a set-in-stone type of deal, although they will make it seem that way. Sure, some agents have certain percentages they require or ask for flat fees. But there is nothing that says you can't barter for a lower cost. It is, after all, part of a deal that includes nothing but negotiation. Give it a go and see if you can save yourself some costs at closing time.

The Seller (and the Agent) Can Kick in Money Did you know that you can ask the seller and your agent to help close the deal? Sometimes a small amount of money kicked in from other parties involved can close the deal. If you are talking about an expensive home and a large commission for your agent, do you really think asking for a small amount to make the deal happen is out of line? This tactic is extremely helpful if the deal starts to go sour.

I Am Talking to the Seller If you are not using an exclusive buyer broker, your agent may be talking. That means you should keep quiet about the limit you are willing to pay for a home. If the agent tells the seller that you are willing to go up another $20,000 on the initial offer, can you imagine that the seller is going to say, "No, that's okay. We'll take this lower offer." Not likely!

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