1. Consenting to Dual Agency
“No man can serve two masters” -Matthew 6:24. How true this is! Yet, real estate brokers attempt to do that very thing every day when buyers and sellers leave themselves hung out to dry by signing off on dual agency forms. According to the Maryland Real Estate Commission, “Dual agents do not act exclusively in the interests of either the seller or buyer, and therefore cannot give undivided loyalty to either party. There may be a conflict of interest because the interests of the seller or buyer may be different or adverse.” Would a married couple headed for divorce proceedings each hire the same attorney? Of course not! Avoid the conflict of interest and make sure your agent is exactly that- someone who is legally and contractually required to look out for you.
2. Skipping the Second Showing
You’ve found it- your Dream Home! Or is it? Before rushing off to your agent’s office to draft an offer, consider arranging a second showing. Great curb appeal, the manicured lawn and shiny hardwood floors can leave a buyer on an emotional high before they view the whole property. That second look can often reveal flaws that weren’t noticed on the first visit. Taking advantage of that 24 hours or so between showings to objectively review your likes and dislikes about a home can put you in the right frame of mind to make an intelligent decision. It can also be a signal to the seller that you are level headed and prepared, giving them piece of mind.
3. Insulting the Seller
Once the right Salisbury area home is identified, it’s time to prepare an offer. Your real estate professional should have provided recent comparable sales to approximate market value and done their homework on the seller’s motivation on behalf of their buyer client prior to this step. The price is the most important part of the offer. Don’t insult the seller by going in well below market value, unless you happen to be armed with information that suggests they are extremely motivated and/or have extenuating circumstances. An insulting offer can start the negotiations off on a really sour note, or invite an outright rejection rather than a reasonable counteroffer. But how low is too low? A good rule of thumb is to step into the seller’s shoes for a moment. Ask yourself, “Would I be offended if this was presented to me as the seller?” Common sense and guidance from your buyer agent should rule the day here.
4. Losing Sight of the Big Picture
Hopefully, so far you haven’t fallen into the first three traps. Beware, there is another one lurking! Right now in some markets it’s common for multiple offers to be made on desirable, well priced properties. A savvy seller’s agent will be playing one buyer off the others to get the competitive juices flowing. Now is “gut check” time for a home buyer. You’ll likely have to weigh your desire to purchase the home against the need to spend a few thousand more to make it happen. I’ve seen clients lose “their” home to another buyer for as little as $500! Every home viewed after that was compared to the first as a measuring stick, leaving them with the unenviable feeling of settling for second best. The motive to avoid over paying is understandable here. A safeguard against that can come in the form of the appraisal. Should the home not appraise, the seller will have to sell for the appraised value or release the buyer from the contract based on the financing contingency. The wise home buyer will educate themselves and obtain the services of a dedicated professional to represent them in order to face each of these challenges with confidence.