Matchmaker, Matchmaker….Working as a Buyer’s Agent 1

Matchmaker, Matchmaker….Working as a Buyer’s Agent

Ah…the Matchmaker!  When we think about a Matchmaker, we typically think about how two people (who may not know too much about each other) are evaluated and measured in many categories and then are brought together and fall “in love” …all through the tireless efforts of the Matchmaker!  Matchmaking is even a part of our TV lives!  Who can resist watching Patti Sanger evaluate the tall, the short, the smooth, the awkward, the beauties and the hunks in her current cable hit TV show “Millionaire Matchmaker” and present her millionaires to a gaggle of prospective “mates.”  In the end, Patti hopes that her skills and intuition will lead her millionaires to the perfect match.

Being a Buyer Agent is real estate matchmaking!  Just think of the Buyer as my Millionaire!  Gotta find that perfect match….hmmmm.  Let’s get started!  Here’s what I do…I’ll typically meet with new buyers by telephone or email, chat a bit, and ask them the obvious questions: Where do you want to live?  How much to you want to spend?  Do you have to sell a house?  Preferred style of the home?  How many bedrooms?  Bathrooms?  Carpet?  Hardwoods?  Walk to METRO?  Size of lot?  Garage?  Are you pre-approved for a loan?  What’s your timeline?

With those answers, I begin my search on the MLS for homes that meet my Millionaire’s requirements.  Oh yes….another important step….gotta trust each other!  Obviously, we are still strangers to each other and I have to learn about the buyers and interpret what they say they want into the real world of homes on the market.  As a Buyer Agent, I work solely for the buyer.  But that isn’t necessarily what the Buyers think!  Buyers can be hostile.  Some think (and even tell me), “Oh, real estate agents only work for themselves!  No one is actually on “my team.”  Not so!!!  I prove to buyers how important it is for them to trust me and for me to trust them, as I lead them through the home search process.  I can’t tell you how many times I say, “If I can’t find you a home, either you’re not telling me what you really want….or I’m not listening to you!!”  Gotta trust and gotta listen!

And it’s definitely about falling in love!  Last week, I had three buyers who fell in love!

Move up buyers*:  Lovely couple.  This is what they told me (remember….I’m listening!):  They want a single family house, under $500K with at least 4 bedrooms, a large lot, great kitchen that they don’t have to renovate.  Hardwood floors.  First floor den and first floor laundry, double garage.  Those are the most important features.  Basically, they don’t want to have to renovate.  So, I searched for those features, ran an internet list for them, and sent them the list.  I asked them to look at the list and the pictures, narrow the list to no more than 5 homes that they wanted to see first, and then let me make appointments.

We opened the door to the first house on the new list. Bingo, I thought, this is “it.”  They surprised me, though, and said that they wanted a pool.  This doesn’t have a pool.  Ok, so now you’re telling me something that’s very important to you…you never told me that!!!  That’s why they want a large lot….they want to build a pool or purchase a home with a pool.  We saw 5 homes on that first day and they liked all of them.  I told them to go home and think about how they wanted to proceed.

Two days later, they sent me an email with two different houses that they wanted to see ASAP.  OH….and this is really interesting!  Now we’re going to look at two houses just under $600K.  So for those who are not math majors, we just jumped $100K.  OK….made those appointments and we saw the two houses.  The first one on Day Two was OK….it had a first floor laundry room, a first floor den, the garage, the large lot….but it had a lot of carpet. Ugh.  A turn-off for them.  So, we went on to the second home…and this is where I watched them fall in love!  5 bedrooms/3.5 baths.  All hardwoods.  Double garage and large back yard, but the houses are close together.  Kitchen is OK (not new).  No first floor den.  Laundry is in the basement.  I thought, “no, I don’t think this is it.”  I looked at her, sitting on the sofa.  She’s looking at him.  They are talking, shaking their heads, and getting all excited.  They are IN LOVE….with the HOUSE!  OH, the moment was exquisite!

First-time home buyers*
:  So this couple wants a townhouse within walking distance of a METRO.  Wants it in good shape, but they’re willing to do work, as long as it’s close to a METRO.  We looked at 4 homes.  They liked 2 of them.  As a matter of fact, he was positively over-the-moon for one of the townhouses.  I told them to go home and think about it.  An hour later, she calls me and tells me that she wants to see a house (instead of a townhouse)….just to be sure.  So, I took them to a house in their price range, near a METRO.  He is standing with me, after touring the home with her.  She is still wandering around.  The house is really gorgeous, but over-improved for the area.  I looked at him and said, “Forget the townhouse….she’s IN LOVE!”  We wrote the contract that night.

Renters want a specific area*:  Renters call me and wants to see a townhouse in a specific area.  They have to see it immediately because they want the “area.”  The next day, I meet them at the townhouse.  They toured and examined everything carefully.  I looked at their faces and could immediately see that this was just not “it.”  No, this was not “the one.”  One says she had to think some more.  But before we closed the front door to go back to our cars, I asked her if she would perhaps consider a single family house in the same area….not a townhouse.  How much? About  $20K more than the townhouse and it was completely renovated with new deck and screened-in porch.  Gorgeous granite and maple kitchen, new roof, new windows, new landscaping, hardwood floors, new bathrooms….a real “wow.”  I asked them to follow me to the house and, when they walked in, I could see that they, too, were in LOVE.  I’m getting them pre-approved for a loan and I hope to have a contract ready in a few days.

So, that’s how real estate matchmaking as a Buyer Agent works!  I really love being a Buyer’s Agent.  It’s so exciting, rewarding and fun to see that look on my clients’ faces when they find the perfect match!  Patti Sanger…move over!

Next:  How a Buyer’s Agent uses the MLS to find the perfect match!

*identities have been changed to preserve the privacy of all parties

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Matchmaker, Matchmaker: Working as a Buyer’s Agent Welcome & Introduction

Introducing a new Special Feature: Matchmaker, Matchmaker: Working as a Buyer’s Agent. My Associate and Buyer’s Agent, Emily Lurie, shares her real estate experience helping buyers find the perfect home. Each week, enjoy her chatty, informal and detailed insights into experiences and topics dealing with the buyer’s side of the real estate transaction, as she recaps how she helps her buyers through the complicated world of home purchase. If you need a Buyer’s Agent, call the Barbara Ciment Team’s Buyer Agent at 301.537.5712. (email Emily@ciment.com).

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Barbara Ciment, Realtor