18 Ways to Show Buyers You’re Worth Every Dollar 

From fixing a leaky icemaker to maintaining a stellar professional reputation, a buyer’s agent offers a unique value that can make or break a home purchase.

While the industry is facing challenges and the ultimate outcome is unknown, now more than ever, the spotlight is on buyer representation. Trying to articulate all that we do is never a finite list as each buyer and transaction is uniquely different due to numerous factors, including the property, seller(s) and financing.

Working with buyers involves advocacy, education, information, guidance, encouragement, patience, protection and accountability.

Here are 18 things we do to create value for those we represent. Use this guide to showcase your unique value proposition as you talk with buyers in the days ahead.

1. Market expertise and education

It is critically important that buyers coming into the marketplace are educated about the local housing market regarding inventory and options in their price range, making offers, processes, forms, contingencies, inspections, financing, closing costs, local customs, insurance challenges, and the local terrain/landscape, such as fire or flood zones, etc. This ongoing educational process starts from the initial contact and continues for however long the home search takes.

2. Advice, insights and ongoing consultation

Coupled with education, buyer’s agents offer continuing consultation and insights about a plethora of real estate activities from the moment an agent engages with a buyer. There will be questions, questions and more questions, including lots of:

  • "What do you know about this property?”
  • “What do you think about the price/the area/neighborhood?”
  • “How much are the HOA or condo dues?”
  • “What do the HOA rules say about parking in the driveway or the street?”
  • “How many pets can I have?”
  • “Can I put up a fence?”

This ongoing request for information and insight is not tracked in a timesheet with every text, email and phone call.

3. Accessibility and availability

Speaking of “all the time and anytime,” one of the biggest values a buyer’s agent brings is their accessibility and availability.

Whether that is getting information, dropping everything to show a new listing that the buyer wants to see immediately or writing an offer, the agent will find a way to be there or have someone in their place. The buyer’s schedule becomes their schedule, so an agent must have a flexible schedule to accommodate any buyer’s needs.

4. Research and tracking down information

Every property search involves gathering information and pointing the buyer in the right direction to get what they need to make an informed decision.

The kind of information varies widely depending on the properties the buyers are interested in, and there is an endless stream of things buyers want and need to know.

5. Strategy

Every buyer needs a strategy when determining which property to buy, how much to offer and any number of factors that are involved in crafting an offer. Nowhere was this more evident than during the pandemic real estate boom.

Strategies had to be adjusted and refined for each property because of lessons learned from offers that didn’t get accepted previously. Buyers were more successful when they worked with agents who were savvy strategy-wise and knew how to craft a winning offer.

6. Offer preparation

Speaking of strategy, offer preparation is a critical part of buyer representation. It is extremely important for an agent to go over the important details and ensure that everything flows in a logical manner with contract timelines and contingencies.

This is detail-oriented work that must be precise. Failure to include something, accidentally omitting something or overlooking a contingency could have serious consequences. The down payment, amount financed (if applicable), time frames for financing, appraisal and inspection contingencies, as well as any other specific requests, are critical to establishing a clear road map to work from at the beginning of the transaction.

Timelines must not overlap the closing date and should not create an impossible situation with meeting a deadline. It is not a matter of checking a few boxes on forms and sending them off to the buyer to sign electronically.

7. Offer negotiation

Negotiation is a huge part of the buyer representation process. Working out details is critical as buyers and sellers establish the terms of the transaction.

Sometimes, offers do not come together for varying reasons. One of the most significant issues is the difference on price: The seller won’t budge or wants a certain number, and the buyer feels that the property is not worth the number the seller wants. Parties often walk away only to revisit weeks or months later, depending on the market climate.

Sellers, particularly in slower markets, may have adjusted their asking price to an amount that the seller initially rejected from a buyer.

8. Finalizing offers

Once all terms have been worked out, this is where everything comes together, ensuring all offer documentation and addendums are finalized to accurately reflect the transaction. This is extremely important as the escrow, title and lender entities will all receive a copy of these documents. If something is not correct, it could have implications for the entire transaction.

9. Managing the transaction

An agent can never assume everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. The agent should remind the buyers to get their deposit to the escrow holder in a timely manner, schedule inspections, make sure the buyer is working on getting all required documentation to the lender (if not already provided) and has paid for the appraisal, and is working to secure insurance.

The agent must hover over the buyer and lender to see if there are any issues to be addressed.

When it comes to insurance, there are often all sorts of gotchas that may arise, such as prior claims on the property to claims involving the buyer on properties they have owned.

With regards to the appraisal, the agent communicates with the listing agent that the appraisal has been ordered. Once that happens, the agent monitors when the appraisal has been received by the lender and the outcome, etc. All these things are transpiring against the backdrop of contract time frames.

10. Inspections 

This is often one of the most significant milestones in the transaction and can take several hours and days to complete, depending on the number of specialists the buyer wishes to have check the home and property. An agent may spend a tremendous amount of time at these events.

A general home inspection assessment may generate the need for numerous additional inspections, so the race is on to find the appropriate people who can come out to the property and evaluate the issue(s) within the contractual time frame allotted to complete the inspections.

While this may sound easy, contractors and various specialists are not on the “anytime, all the time” schedule. Often, a request for an extension or additional time may be needed.

11. Repairs 

This can be an extremely stressful part of the transaction and can be a time-consuming task for the buyer’s agent, along with having to assist with obtaining estimates from various contractors.

The agent might also be coordinating communications with vendors for the buyer.

If repairs are going to be made, the agent must monitor that process, following up with the listing agent to ensure all has been completed along with providing receipts from those making the repairs. If the documentation is not easy to understand or is unclear, the buyer’s agent should communicate with the listing agent to get clarity.

Furthermore, a buyer’s agent often encourages their buyer to have an inspector or other specialist reinspect all repairs to ensure they were done correctly prior to closing.

12. Appraisals

The agent working with the buyer needs to ensure the appraisal is turned around in a timely manner to comply with financing and appraisal contingency timelines in the contract. Sometimes, it can take forever for the appraiser to go out to the property, and it seems like it is taking longer than usual to turn the report around for whatever reason. This is where the buyer’s agent must stay on top of this process so as not to jeopardize the buyer’s escrow deposit.

13. Managing title and escrow

Considering these companies are pulling everything together for closing, it is critically important for a buyer’s agent to ensure they are communicating with the buyer to get what they need.

Buyers might question why certain information is being requested, such as their Social Security number, copy of trust documents or photo IDs. In today’s fraud-ridden environment, with suspicious emails appearing to trap unsuspecting buyers, sellers and agents into clicking a link or opening an attachment purporting to be a settlement statement, the buyer’s agent needs to help vet and verify who the providers will be in the transaction.

In addition, it is critically important for the buyer’s agent to confirm that they have the correct copy of all contract documentation and related addenda, confirm the sales price and other details, such as any seller-paid closing cost credits to the buyer, as well as make sure they are aware of any changes to the transaction as things progress, such as a price change or seller providing credits to the buyer in lieu of repairs.

14. Managing the walk-through

Any experienced real estate agent knows walkthroughs are ripe for new issues to arise. Miracles often must be worked at the 11th hour as the agent is sending photos of the evidence to the listing agent and trying to run down estimates to clean, fix or repair the damage.

With everyone’s back to the wall and the pressure on, the buyer’s agent often must figure out a way to make it right.

15. Managing the closing

On closing day, the buyer’s agent ensures that all keys and access cards or fobs to neighborhood amenities, garage remotes, security and garage codes as well as any other specific information about things in the property are provided to the buyer.

Depending on how the walk-through went and if any issues were uncovered, the buyer’s agent should make sure all has been addressed before the buyer signs documents and, if not, a last-minute plan may need to address this.

16. Post-closing issues

The stress doesn’t often end at closing. Buyers move into their new home only to discover that something may not be working properly. Thankfully, an inspection report documents what was and was not functioning at a particular date and time. However, issues may just be a stroke of bad luck.

As the buyer settles in, their mind will turn to home improvement projects, and they will lean on their agent for trusted vendors and service providers. In some cases, the lawn they thought they could tackle themselves becomes too time-consuming, so they ask their agent to provide a trusted lawn care provider.

17. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up

A buyer’s agent must continually follow up, starting from the very early stages of incubating to converting the prospect to a buyer client, all the way through the property search, offer preparation, negotiation and the entire transaction.

18. Relationships

When it comes to buyer representation, it is about having good relationships to help get things done. The agent who has trusted connections with various service providers and who can solve problems in a pinch for their buyer client is worth their weight in gold.

Buyer’s representation is quite comprehensive and involves ongoing communication, being extremely proactive, problem-solving, troubleshooting, double and triple checking, following up and assuming nothing is as it has been purported to be. Buyers don’t know what they don’t know, and those who don’t have representation often find themselves facing a problem or situation that can have serious financial implications.

A buyer’s agent works to be the champion of all things for the buyer, shepherding them through what is the single largest transaction they will likely ever make in their lifetime, whether that is a $300,000 home or a $30 million one. While our role is defined, the job description, the hours and time expended never are; and we are always working with many unknowns. #