Working with your agent
Published: Jul 04, 2013
When considering the purchase of a home or lot or any other type property, you may decide to use the services of a realtor.
In order to best serve your needs and direct you closest to what you desire, the agent may ask a few simple questions of you. Initially it may seem a bit invasive, but it’s all in an effort to ensure that you not only get what you are qualified for, but that you are ultimately happy with that purchase.
He or she may ask:
What are you looking for: land or a house?
What section of the island?
If it's a house, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
What is your budget?
Have you been pre-qualified by your banker?
The latter question is perhaps one of the most important ones as it will enable the agent to conduct the search based on the parameters of your budget.
Additionally, you should keep in mind closing costs, which includes your portion of the government stamp tax and legal fees. Sometimes these expenses can be inadvertently overlooked and could prove to be quite hefty, impacting on finances if not accounted for.
It’s advisable to speak to your agent about the net cost of any property you’re looking to purchase.
Of course if you are a first time home buyer, you are eligible to claim exemption from the stamp tax if your purchase falls below $500,000.
Remember, you do not pay your realtor any fees; he or she is paid by the seller and not you.
In addition, sometimes if an agent does not have what you are looking for in your search, he or she might opt to work along with another realtor to facilitate you securing what you are looking for. It’s an arrangement called “co-brokering”, where agents split the commission evenly between each other.
One thing that is not advisable is to circumvent the process by making contact with the owner of a particular property after an agent has arranged a viewing, with the objective of personally negotiating a better price. Let your agent work for you, it is why you selected them in the first place.
After all the time and energy your agent has invested for your benefit, it would be wrong for you to try and pull a fast one and deny the agent their commission. The objective of the real estate agent is to find the best possible price for you, which mean sifting through a number of listing’s until the one that best meets what you’re searching for is secured. Otherwise why hire an agent and then turn around and be duplicitous? An agent is trained to know what a property in a particular area is worth, they can advise on an asking price and draw up the necessary purchase documents to guide you along the road of ownership. Let them work for you.
Be punctual at viewings and ask as many questions as possible and before you sign on the dotted line and get locked in, have the property inspected.
• William Wong is the president of Wong and Associates Realty. He was also a two-term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and the Bahamas Real Estate Association. Questions or comments can be emailed to William@wongsrealty.com.