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The Resurrection of the Buyer’s Agent

 

For a short while recently, the role of a buyer’s agent was shifted. No longer were buyer’s agents the gatekeepers of information on listing availability and property details. The advent of sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin has armed consumers with more information than ever. You can now view past sales history, current ‘estimated’ market values as well as peruse all active listings over a number of real estate specific websites. This had shifted the role of the buyers agent to that of helping facilitate purchases after the property has been identified.

 

There are many additional, nuanced impacts of this information shift, however, the largest was that real estate agents were no longer the ‘gatekeepers’ and critically involved from the onset of one’s home search. Value had to now be provided in other areas such as offering pricing recommendations, comparable property analysis, negotiation and document facilitation. These were all areas that service was being previously provided in, yet now they were the focus of an agent’s activities. Buyers began calling agents only once they’d done extensive research on neighborhoods, property types and current availability. This is also after they’d done research (for the most part) on the agent they were about to reach out to.

 

However, the market has shifted once more. With the current environment of low inventory and high competition, the Resurrection of the Buyer’s agent has begun. We are seeing an increasing proportion of sales occur off-market, tightening the open market, even more. This is a direct result of the buyer’s agents sourcing properties for their clients in pre-market or off-market due to the resourcefulness and the drive of agents keen to once again provide value to the transaction and their clients.

 

Now more than ever, the importance of the intra-broker network, as well as an agent’s ability to source off-market listings, is coming into focus. An agent who is well connected in the community, both brokerage and consumer facing, is once again able to provide value by being a ‘gate-opener’ for buyers.

 

When deciding who you will chose to work with during your home purchase, ask them what their experience is in dealing with, and sourcing off-market opportunities as well as their opinion on working with other agents. Those who express the opinion of other agent’s as being critical to their success, have a mindset positioned as a win-win. Those who feel other agents are direct competition, are less likely to be reaching out to see what opportunities lie just beneath the surface, ready to be bought and sold.

From the Burbs to Boston

 

We are thrilled to announce the closing of our luxury single family listing in Newton last week for $2,225,000. While we celebrate each client’s successful sale, this one marks the culmination of a transition that not only involved the purchase and sale of two homes, but a strategic Compass partnership that was instrumental in transitioning a couple empty-nesting from the suburbs to Boston. Over the course of the past year, we have been privileged to be an integral part of this transition and we highlight a few key practices that helped successfully transition our clients.

Moving back into the city, people are generally familiar with the different neighborhoods and have their favorite restaurants and/or destinations. Deciding where to purchase is often a different story. The nuances of each neighborhood or street have a greater impact on a resident than someone visiting to go out to dinner or catch a show in town.

As you narrow your criteria, it’s important be open to additional neighborhoods due to the low inventory levels or restrictions based on price-point.

For example, 2500 square feet in the South End may have a much different final price than if it were in Charlestown or a Downtown high-rise, which could easily be a million dollars different in each direction, respectively.

The desire to not have significant maintenance efforts required on behalf of the owner is often a goal of those moving back into the city from a single family home. This is generally achieved through living in a condo building where the association takes care of maintenance for common elements of the building. This can present a challenge however, as many people are accustomed to doing as they see fit with regards to their property.

You will have to be open to working together with your neighbor(s) (in your association), to handle items as they come up for the building.

 All associations will have condo documents outlining the structure of the association and responsibilities however these can vary from loosely drafted ‘catch all’ condo docs to very specifically outlining the order of operations for decision making. Review of the condo documents is an important part of the purchase process as this allows you to vet the association and decide your comfort level with how things are run.

What is some of the value Compass can bring during this process?

Let’s fast forward to the second portion of the transition: the sale of the buyer’s current home. This sale was the result of buyers moving into the city after spending a few decades in the suburbs. The kids are off to college and after a nine month search, a new home was located, negotiated and purchased. It was time to unload the suburban home.

Our approach was that of providing maximum value and exposure to the market through a strategic Compass partnership. The decision was made to co-list the property with an agent in my office who is an expert, and lifelong resident, of Newton: Margaret Szerlip. Through extensive marketing to my Boston based Network, and Margaret’s Newton based network, we achieved twice the exposure and hyper-local expertise. It’s no secret Boston is a pipeline for suburban purchases. The South End alone houses a significant portion of buyers for Wellesley, Weston, Newton. Another dynamic of local markets is the inter-agent relationships and networks. Margaret was able to assist in directing the property to key players in the local brokerage community. It also doesn’t hurt to have to excellent agents on your team, listing one property.

We came up with a tailored marketing plan, positioning this property as the diamond in the rough it was, amongst all the cookie cutter new construction. The end result was an amazing first week of showings and open houses resulting in a strong offer, with favorable terms, that was within our initial price-recommendation range for the property. Did I mention the to-go bags including property brochures and homemade blueberry or strawberry hand pies we gave out to every open house attendee?