How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse… and it’s not what you think.
An email came to me recently from a couple wanting to see a house that was listed with another agent. I met these folks, along with their adorable toddler son at the appointed time and place. We were chatting in the family room about how agents work and they shared some interesting information. They had been calling each listing agent of each home of interest, at each different company to schedule an appointment. I gently reminded them that those agents were duty-bound to put the SELLER’s interests first. I asked if they had considered having just one agent, a Buyer Agent, instead. They’d explore all the houses together and get unbiased help to evaluate the options, pros & cons, resale value, etc. They explained to me that they decided to call only the listing agents because they “had a buyer agent last time and it didn’t work out well.” They were quickly unhappy with that agent but not permitted to end the contract early. They purchased a house but that negative experience vividly stayed with them.
While hosting an open house I met a buyer who previously made an offer with an agent from another company. She hadn’t agreed on a price with that seller so the sale contract was terminated. Fast forward to our conversation. (condensed for easy reading.)
Mrs. Buyer: Could you please show me (address) and be my agent?
Paula: Yes, I’m happy to if you don’t already have an agent.
Mrs. Buyer: No, I don’t. I made an offer but they didn’t accept.
Paula: Did you sign a form that … (describe buyer agency)
Mrs. Buyer: I don’t think so, but I did sign a lot of papers.
Paula: You really need to know for sure. It’s important.
It turned out that she had, indeed, signed a buyer agency contract without understanding it. To make matters worse, the term was six months long and she had no idea that she was tied to the agent beyond that particular offer. She was angry and felt deceived.
There is an easy way to make sure neither of these happen to you:
Test Drive Your Agent!
You see, the buyer agency contract can be very flexible as long as both agent and buyer agree on what’s included. You can make it last any length of time, from one day up to a full year. It can even cover only specific homes, depending on the situation. Disclaimer: most agents will balk or flatly refuse the request because it benefits you more than them. (But that’s a topic for another post.)
[Reality check for fellow agents: If a buyer has had a bad experience, they are hesitant to commit again for good reason!]
In situations like that I encourage a “test drive.” If you want a security net while I earn your trust, I’m happy to give it to you and make the commitment shorter at first. Why? Because I’m confident you’ll like having an agent who isn’t pushing you to buy the house she wants to sell. The agent who has YOUR best interest at heart. The agent who wants you to feel good about your experience long after the closing. Doing it that way isn’t typical, but works very well.
Thanks for sharing part of your day with me. To comment, suggest a post topic or ask questions I would love to hear from you. – Paula