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Top-10 Questions to Ask a Buyer's Agent (Part 2)

In the last newsletter Top-10 Questions to Ask your Buyer's Agent (Part 1) we outlined the questions you should ask a prospective buyers agent. In this newsletter we'll finish off the questions.

6. Are you able to educate me about a home's resale potential?

Nationally the average home owner remains in their home for 7 years before moving. Understanding a home's resale potential is therefore an important criterion when deciding on which home to write an offer on. It's not just you that you should be considering when deciding on which home to buy, but the potential buyer who may be coming along after you.

  • At a macro level, we often say that there are three criteria to consider when determining which town might be right for you:
    • Quality of the school system (even if schools are not important to you they might be to potential buyers when you sell),
    • Commute time to Boston and the convenience to major commuting routes and
    • How much home you can buy for your money.
  • At a micro level, the floor layout, the size and quality of the kitchen, first floor master, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage, living area, size of the lot etc. become important.

A buyer's agent should be able to explain both the macro and micro aspects of a home. They must also be able to explain the pros/cons on spending money on upgrades - is finishing the basement a good investment or should you upgrade the kitchen instead? A good buyer's agent should be able to answer all these questions, and more.

7. Are you able to educate me about the home's systems?

Whilst a real estate agent is not a home inspector they should be able to educate you about a potential home's systems - heating, cooling, etc. One question we often hear is - "Is an oil heating system cheaper to run than a natural gas system?". If you are interested the answer to this you can find it in a prior newsletter - Heating Fuels Price Comparison. Another topic is Solar Panels - we covered this in a prior newsletter also - Solar Power Explained. As you can see the breadth of topics is large. But, an experienced buyer's agent should be able to talk articulately about the various aspects of a home. Busy buyers agents attend inspection after inspection after inspection and learn about the systems from the experts.

This is not just academic - as mentioned earlier, understanding a home's systems (the big ticket dollar items) is important when deciding on an inspection contingency strategy as part of crafting the all-important successful offer.

8. How do you advise clients on what price to offer?

This is probably the number one question that is asked when home buyers look to write an offer on a home and often one of the most difficult for buyer's agents to answer. The MA Properties Online team take a two-step approach ...

  • The first thing to understand is the various valuations that are commonly referred to in talking about a home - Zestimate, Appraised Value, Assessed Value, List Price and the relationship between them. We covered these in a series of prior newsletters:
  • With this explained, we produce a Comparative Market Analysis for the home. This looks at relevant homes and compares them to the home you want to make an offer on and classifies them to help you identify the range that the home may sell in. Such as High (the home should sell for less than these homes sold for), Relevant (the home should sell for a similar amount to what these homes sold for), Less (the home should sell for more than what these homes sold for).

Make sure the buyer's agent uses a rigorous approach to analyzing comparative homes and can explain why they came up with the range they came up with.

9. Where do you get the majority of your business?

It's often stated that Real Estate is a relationship business - if a buyer's agent, or listing agent, does a good job then clients often tell their friends and colleagues. So, if a buyer's agent gets a lot of their business from personal referrals then you have a validation point that they offered a high level of service to their clients. The alternative is internet leads (where a potential buyer just clicks on a website link). There is often no relationship here and it is just a 'transaction'. Also, look at online reviews. Most agents ask their clients to review them on Zillow which is the defacto location for agent reviews. We have have all of our reviews on Zillow and also on our website under About Us, and Client Reviews. Our business is primarily personal referrals along with buyer clients meeting us at Open Houses and liking the information they obtain, and coming along to our Buyers Seminars which are held monthly. For more information about our Buyers Seminars go to our website at www.MAPropertiesOnline.com

10. I've got 10 towns I'm interested in. Can you help me in all 10 towns?

Many real estate agents focus on 1 or 2 towns - usually where they live and if you ask them for advice about another town they will often 'steer' you away from that town because they just don't know enough about it and would prefer you to concentrate on 'their' town. We hear this time and again.

Given the competitiveness of the real estate market many home buyers have several towns in their search criteria. It's important that the buyer's agent be familiar with all the towns you may be considering.

The MA Properties Online team regularly work in many towns in the Greater Boston area - there are too many to list but on our website we have an Experience Map that shows all the homes we have helped clients buy and sell in so you can judge for yourself the breadth of our knowledge and whether we are familiar in the towns you may be interested in. In addition, the Communities and Real Estate Statistics sections on our website provides detailed information on over 40 towns.

Hopefully the questions above will have given you some insights into the sorts of questions you should be asking of a real estate agent if you are considering them working for you, on your behalf, as a buyers agent. Buying a home is often the most expensive asset a person will buy - do you really want to use an agent who has very little experience or knowledge to guide you in this very important decision? I think not. Ask the questions we've outlined here will ensure you get a knowledgeable buyer's agent.

If you would like an estimate of what your home would sell for in today's market I would be more than happy to come by, have a look at your home, and then provide a CMA (comparative market analysis) which will provide you with an estimate of what your home should sell for, along with a marketing plan to get maximum exposure for your home.

If you'd like to chat more about the topic presented here, or the Real Estate market in general, then please call me on (617) 997 9145, or email me at Dani.Fleming@MAPropertiesOnline.com.

Lexington Statistics







MLS data is provided by MLSPIN. While MLS data is believed to be accurate, it cannot be guaranteed. MLS data is constantly being updated, making any analysis a snapshot at a particular time. All raw data remains the intellectual property of MLSPIN.
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