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Buying Your Dream Home? Here’s What Your Realtor Doesn’t Want You To Know

There they are – arms open wide and a big smile on their faces. They’re so excited to see you. You’d be forgiven for mistaking them for your best friend. But they’re not – in fact, sometimes it’s hard to remember that real estate agents are more focused on their seller clients and commissions than on finding you your dream home. Only you can really represent your own best interests when it comes to finding the property for you –  here are three things your realtor doesn’t want you to know!

You may not find your dream home through them

With the growth of online house vendors, self-listings sites and the like, there is a whole tract of property that never passes through a real estate agent. And if you’re looking to buy in a sought after area or community like The Lodges at Eagles Nest, the chances become even slimmer. Sales in the best communities are often done simply through word of mouth. All realtors have access to a listings service of regional properties for sale – but the prime properties are often kept off this list in what is sometimes called a ‘pocket sale’. This allows some realtors to dominate the market in certain areas with a steady stream of off the books sales. Side step this by making or using any connections you have in the local area. You could even try posting on community websites or organising a doordrop of letters in particular streets explaining that you’re looking to purchase in the area. Without realtor fees to pay, you may find a vendor will even agree a slightly lower purchase price – sure, it costs a bit of effort, but to bag your dream home? It has to be worth a try.

They don’t have up to date local knowledge

Despite a big sell for brick and mortar real estate agents supposedly being their knowledge of the local area, many of them aren’t as up to date as they make out when it comes to changes. A good realtor should be one step ahead of the game with planned developments – after all, no one wants to begin the long process of a purchase only to find out just before completion that’s there a mega-mall planned across the road. So don’t rely on your realtor for all this information – try to visit the neighbourhood yourself at different times of day to check noise, traffic levels and the general feel of the area, and have your conveyancer check upfront about any proposed developments close by. If they’re not provided ask for demographic details on the schools and local area crime statistics – your agent should be able to provide this information.

They can’t win a bidding war – unless you help them

It’s not uncommon for desirable properties in the right area to attract multiple competing offers, which can be a tough situation to deal with if you aren’t prepared for it. What can you do to improve your chances of winning? Picking a realtor with a reputation for tough negotiating skills is vital – speak to people who have dealt with them if you can to get a feel for their performance. Its also important to be upfront from the start. Too many buyers make the mistake of telling their realtor one top figure they’ll go to, losing the bidding, and then realising they would have stretched the budget further. Bidding can be a fast and furious process, so make sure your real estate agent knows your real final price. It also makes sense to let them know early on about any other advantages you have or are prepared to offer to get the winning bid. For example, cash buyers with no chain are often preferred for a quick sale or you may be prepared to cover the closing costs and title insurance or waive the appraisal. Think in advance about what you’d be prepared to do to be the favoured bidder – any advantage may just be the clincher.