Real Estate Agent Buyer Checklist: Everything You Need to Know
As a successful real estate agent, you do more than find homes for your clients. You provide insight into the intricacies of the housing market, a reliable voice of reason when it comes to cost and budget, and a helping hand when it’s time to ensure a house is primed for selling.
As such, you must equip yourself with the right information to keep your clients ready for everything, from head to toe (or from roof to basement). That’s why it’s important to keep a running checklist of the processes and actions you must complete when helping a future homeowner search for their dream house, particularly when it comes to the house’s inspection.
Follow along as we cast some light on a few of the must-haves on your real estate agent checklist, including meeting the client, arranging home tours, and securing a thorough home inspection.
#1 Set Up a First Meeting
If you and your client aren’t aligned, you may be missing some serious items on your real estate agent buyer checklist. Before beginning the home search, request a meeting at a cozy coffee shop or neighborhood-favorite brunch spot to go over the buyer’s own checklist.
Some buyers may have more needs or desires than others. A meeting is a friendly way to get a sense of where the buyer is in the home buying process. It’s also a perfect opportunity to educate the buyer on need-to-know action points, including:
- Assessing their finances, homeowners insurance, and determining a budget
- Filing for mortgage pre-approval
- Saving for a down payment
- Saving for a home inspection
Remember, the client is hoping to find the best real estate buyer to fit their needs. Put your best foot forward by bringing along your buyer’s presentation. A buyer’s presentation should include:
- Information about your background and experience as a real estate professional
- Information about your company or brokerage
- Additional fun facts or material that shares what you bring to the table
By the end of the meeting, your new real estate agent checklist should be up-to-date with everything your client is looking for (along with a few other key details).
#2 Hunt for Houses
Once you’re equipped with valuable information regarding your client’s real estate desires, it’s time to start house-hunting.
As the homebuyer’s guide, it’s your job to bring unique expertise and local insight into the home search. While your client may be in the market for high ceilings or a finished basement, it’s important to always keep the homebuyer’s budget at the forefront of the search. Though it’s usually acceptable to go over or under by a few thousand dollars, be sure to keep your client informed of any pricing changes.
Ensure your clients are up to date with local listings by checking the market daily, then usher them into a home visit or open house. You’ve got to snag those dream homes quickly!
When compiling a list of potential dream homes, do your research. Consider this real estate agent checklist for listings:
- Location – Try to find a few listings within close proximity to the buyer’s workplace or school to reduce the buyer’s potential commute times
- Livability – Note the listings’ proximity to outdoor recreation, shopping malls, and schools
- Home features – Are cabinets and appliances up-to-date or will they need an upgrade? Has your client factored remodels into their budget? Always be aware of your client’s top-list needs, too.
Be warned: Many homebuyers also fall under the spell of “shiny object syndrome.” That is, falling for a beautiful home far outside their budget. Sift through potential listings with a critical eye to avoid any disappointment or regret from the buyer.
#3 Arrange a Home Tour or Visit an Open House
You’ve compiled a list of beautiful homes and your client has loved the look of each one—fantastic! Now it’s time to arrange a home visit.
Home visits allow your client the opportunity to walk through the space, see what the house has to offer, and take note of any details that may have gone unnoticed in listing photos. In particular, it’s important to look out for signs of potential underlying issues, including rodent infestations, inefficient HVAC systems, and improper insulation.
With a rodent infestation, you may notice:
- Droppings under sinks or within drawers and cupboards
- Chewed holes along baseboards or behind cabinets
While a professional inspection, such as the inspections offered by Attic Construction, will be necessary to help you accurately determine the quality of a home’s HVAC system and insulation, signs of inefficiencies can include:
- Aggravated allergies or asthma
- Varying temperatures in the home
Real Estate Buyer To Do: After viewing each home, encourage your client to keep a written record of what they loved, what they didn’t love, and any potential issues. Doing this offers a smart way for your client to keep track of their home-buying journey. A written record of your client’s evolving tastes will also provide a helpful guide for you when scheduling future home visits.
#4 Navigate Contracts and Transactions
Once the client finds their dream home and commits to a purchase, it’s the real estate professional’s job to guide them through contract negotiations and transactions.
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- Open an escrow account – The best way to ensure the buyer and seller both feel as though they’re being treated fairly during the closing process is to open a third-party escrow account to hold all money and documents related to the real estate transaction.
- Acquire title search – To provide some legal safety, it’s vital to acquire a title search This document ensures that the home purchase cannot be usurped by another party.
- Negotiate closing costs – Throughout the closing process, additional fees may build depending on appraisal review fees, home inspection costs, and processing fees. It’s the responsibility of the real estate agent to work out and manage these closing costs.
#5 Schedule a Home Inspection
Perhaps the most important item on the real estate closing checklist is scheduling and completing a home inspection. While home inspections aren’t mandatory, both real estate buyers and homeowners can significantly benefit from them.
The purpose of a home inspection is to assess the house for major structural, mechanical, or safety issues. During the inspection, a professional will navigate through the home, visually identifying potential problems to report to the buyer.
In particular, an inspector will look for seven key defects:
- Water damage
- Electrical damage
- Plumbing issues
- Structural damage, including damage to the foundation of the home
- Roof damage, including damage to attic insulation (or improper insulation)
- Rodent infestation
- HVAC system damage or issues
Unless it’s a safety issue, an inspector will not take cosmetic blemishes into consideration.
Why is a Home Inspection Important?
A home inspection is a vital to-do when purchasing a home. If the house has damage or suffers from an issue such as a rodent infestation, it may be difficult for a buyer to find a lender willing to finance the home. This is because most mortgage lenders want to make sure the house is worth the amount of money they’re lending to the buyer. If there are major issues within the home, the lender’s appraisal value may decrease.
A home inspection is also a wise asset for the home buyer as it provides them with an in-depth look of the house and a guide for necessary improvements. Not only can underlying issues cost the homeowner money in the long run, but they can also negatively impact the homeowner’s health and well-being. This is particularly true in the case of rodent infestations, improper attic insulation, and polluted or damaged ductwork.
Even if the typical signs of a rodent infestation aren’t visible during a home tour, rats, mice, and other pests may have nevertheless invaded the home. A thorough attic inspection by the professionals at Attic Construction can determine the level of infestation and the amount of decontamination required.
With a rodent infestation, cleaning the home does little to address the underlying issue. For effective rodent removal and home decontamination, specialty equipment must be used. This equipment also eliminates lingering, unseen dangers, such as fungi, germs, bacteria, and parasites, which can lead to:
- Bacterial disease
- Respiratory disease
- Viral disease
Improper Attic Insulation
If a home doesn’t have proper attic insulation, air from inside the home can escape, costing the homeowner thousands of dollars a year in energy bills. Plus, without proper insulation, a home becomes harder to cool in the hot summer months, and more difficult to warm during frigid winters, creating an uncomfortable living experience for the homeowner.
Polluted Air Ducts
When air ducts and HVAC systems aren’t regularly cleaned, they fill with dust and debris. Over time, this can lead to:
- Poor air quality – Unclean HVAC systems circulate dust, debris, and other particulates throughout the home. This not only aggravates allergies and asthma, but it can also lead to headaches, stuffy noses, and other cold symptoms.
- Inefficient air circulation – When air ducts are blocked with dust and debris, HVAC systems have to work that much harder to operate effectively. This leads to higher energy bills for the homeowner, and a shorter HVAC system lifespan.
Fortunately, when a home inspection can identify these issues, the buyer can then renegotiate their offering price or request that a trusted company make improvements to the home.
Add Attic Construction To Your Checklist
In addition to shiny new kitchen appliances, spacious closets, and decorative crown moldings, a dream home must also boast a strong, effective foundation free of rodents, dust, and other dangerous contaminants. Plus, with proper attic insulation and a clean HVAC system, a dream home can keep the homeowner cool in the summers, warm in the winters, and breathing easily all year round.
Before committing to a home, trust the professionals at Attic Construction to provide a thorough inspection and resolve underlying issues that can cost buyers their money, as well as their health. Whether it’s rodent removal and decontamination, insulation installation, or HVAC cleaning and repair, Attic Construction delivers quality work you can rely on for years to come. Save time, hassle, and money with Attic Construction.
- Investopedia. How to Get Pre-Approval for a Mortgage. https://www.investopedia.com/mortgage-preapproval-4776405
- Investopedia. 12 Steps of a Real Estate Closing. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/10/closing-home-process.asp
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Written By Joseph Sheiner
Joseph Sheiner is a construction industry professional with over 15 years of experience. He began his career in the insulation industry in 2012, and co-founded Attic Construction Inc in 2013. As CEO of the company, Joe oversees all operations and is in charge of training and product knowledge.
Under Joe’s leadership, Attic Construction has become the largest leading Attic Restoration Company in San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix. He has personally performed and supervised insulation work in over 7000 homes. He is certified by Owens Corning as a CEE (Certified Energy Expert) and is a licensed contractor by the CSLB.
Most recently, Joe has helped expand Attic Construction to two additional locations – Orange County and Phoenix. He is currently working on expanding to additional locations in the near future.
Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine. They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.
-Karen L. Santee, CA
Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.
– Joey E. San Diego, CA