The relationship you have with your real estate agent can set the tone for the entire home buying process. Your agent is supposed to help you find a property you can afford and work with the seller to negotiate the details of the purchase. But problems could arise if you're on different wavelengths.
If you want everything to run smoothly, here are five bad habits to steer clear of.
1. Being too nitpicky
Buying a home is a big financial commitment. And even if you want to get the best possible deal, you'll need to pick your battles. If you're trying to force the seller to agree to a minor contingency, you could lose sight of the big picture. And you could eventually lose the home you want altogether if the seller decides to find a buyer who's less difficult to work with.
2. Not keeping an open mind
When you meet with an agent for the first time, they're going to want to know what you're looking for in a home. They'll use the feedback you give them to scout properties you might like and arrange for you to view them in person.
Ultimately, you can only buy one home. But that doesn't mean you should dismiss properties at first glance just because they're not perfect. If you're overly critical of your agent's choices or you refuse to look at the properties that don't measure up, you could both end up frustrated.
3. Dragging your feet
The housing market is chugging along pretty steadily these days and home sales are moving at a fairly rapid pace. If you're in a highly competitive market, hemming and hawing over whether to make a move on a particular property isn't something you can afford to do. If you wait to put in an offer and the seller has other interested buyers, you could end up in a bidding war.
4. Undercutting the asking price
There's nothing wrong with trying to get a good deal on a home, but it's best to avoid shortchanging the seller. If you want a price that's too low, the seller may be tempted to cut ties with you.
Real estate agents are trained to understand pricing trends and home values. So if they're suggesting that you offer or counteroffer a certain amount, it's a good idea to take their advice into consideration. Consider how you would feel if the tables were turned. If you were the seller, would you accept your low offer? If not, it might be time to make some adjustments.
5. Not handling your responsibilities
As a homebuyer, you're responsible for providing your lender with the paperwork he or she needs so that you can get access to financing. If you're taking forever to turn in your forms or you're postponing the appraisal, your actions could prevent the seller from moving forward. A delay could be particularly problematic if the seller wants to complete the home sale by a certain date.
It's important to make sure that you and your real estate agent are on the same page. If you know each other's expectations, it'll be easier to avoid bumping heads.