1) Communicate. This is definitely number one. Communication between you as a buyer and your buyer's agent is an absolute must. The two of you (or three of you if you are married) have got to be talking the same language. Your buyer's agent is on the same team with you, if you don't find the right house, they can't collect a commission. They undoubtedly want to help you find the best house that you can. They represent you. You can tell them anything. What you love about a home, What you hate about the home. Why you aren't making an offer. Why you think you should. They should basically be like your best friend during this process.
2) Continue communicating. This one is almost as important as the first one in the beginning, and most definitely very important after you have been searching for a while. Often times at the beginning of he search there are plenty of homes to see. And you have all the ones that are currently on the market to see. At some point though you run out of the long lists that you are able to make, and you only get the new listings as they hit the market. This is when you need to communicate the most. Don't be scared to shoot your agent a text or give them a phone call, even if it is just to touch base and say "hey I haven't seen a lot of houses lately that I want to see, I think we have sen them all." You'd be suprised what beginning a conversation like that can lead to.
3) Keep on communicating. This one is almost as
important as number 2. This one comes into play as you see things that are for sale that aren't actually for sale. There is a little setting in between "active" and "pending" in our MLS that allow you the buyer to see the home on websites like Realtor.com, but also allow the agents to see that the sellers have already accepted a contract on the home. This setting is called "active contingent." There are many reasons the home could be listed in the setting. The overwhelming majority of those home have an inspection contingency that has yet to be lifted. This means the buyers haven't done their inspection yet. Most of the time homes homes listed in this status eventually do go pending and close within 30 days. Please don't assume that the agent just doesn't want to show you homes, they most assuredly do. (see step 1 for why) That's why this is such an important step.
4) Communicate precisely. This one is pretty important too. If you don't tell your agent precisely what you want they can only help you as much as you are allowing them to. Letting them know you want a home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a good neighborhood, is not enough information. There are lots of "good neighborhoods" in the Memphis area. Also do you need 4 actual bedrooms, or can a 3 bedroom house with a bonus room work if it is large enough. Price is another thing to communicate with your buyer's agent. If you want to stay under 200, but are willing to go up to 250 you must communicate that to your agent so she can set your search up accordingly. It can be very frustrating for an agent when a buyer constantly wants to see homes priced above the range they told you that they wanted to stay in. Most Agents will understand and support that. Just let them in on the secret.
5) Communicate quickly. This one is especially important as your search lengthens. With only new listings to choose from, you will need to move as fast you both can in order to secure one of these new listings as your own as soon as it hits the market. This often means getting in touch with them as soon as you receive an email from them about a new house hitting the market. Being available to see it quickly is also good. The same day is probably the safest way to make sure you don't lose the house without getting a chance to see it. Also when you get to that point, and you do in fact like the home after you see it. Communicating to your agent that you do want to make an offer as soon as possible is also important. If of course that is what you want to do. Waiting for 48 hours will often times lead to missing out.
6) Communicate changes. This one can potentially be the biggest step to make sure that you and your agent are on the same page. If you are looking for a move in ready home in a high dollar area, and instead decide to change your mind and get a fixer in a not as nice of an area is probably something worth communicating to your agent. Your buyer's agent will change the search if you ask him to. we can change the search completely. They can also make smaller changes as well, he can change it from 4 bedrooms only or more, down to allow for 3 bedrooms or he can change it so that you don't get any big yards anymore in your search. (or the opposite of course, no small yards in your search) Same thing for price. If you have decided to increase your max price let your agent know, so they can send you everything all at one time that is in this new price range. Remember we want to help you find the right home for you. But if we are handicapped by only knowing some of what you are looking for, it will be hard for us to help you find that perfect home.
As you can see these 6 steps are pretty easy to achieve, in fact they all begin with the same letter, so it should be pretty easy to remember these few steps to make sure that your buyers agent has the same mindset as you do, and you are both working toward the same goal. Which of course is finding you the perfect home..... the home you are looking for.