Post # 1
Hubby and I are finally moving out to the burbs and have our eyes set on northern NJ (sexy!) We have been out to a few open houses and came across a home that we both like, has good features, and is in our price range. For this particular house we had to call the real estate office listed on the sign since we just missed the open house by a few minutes.
An agent kindly came to meet us and I assumed that she was the owner’s agent since a) she responded when I called the listed number and b) she has the same distinctive last name as the seller’s agent. She showed us the house and we liked it a lot despite some areas that need repair/renovation. She said that she could represent us as a buyer’s agent and could even show us other houses. I said let’s just keep our discussions to this house for now.
Anyway, after doing some homework, we’ve concluded the house is listed high and isn’t that desirable (owner’s tried to sell it unsuccessfully a few years ago and then had to rent it out — owners live out of state). So we cooled a bit on the house and wanted to wait to see if the price drops.
However the “buyer’s agent” has been super aggressive following up last Saturday during a call. She suggested that we get pre-approved for a mortagage right away (on a Saturday) and said she knows a broker who works over the weekends and can get us pre-approved over the weekend so we can place our offer by Monday. It all just felt super aggressive. Plus, I’ve been tracking Zillow and lots of homes in this area are sitting and even dropping in price due to the time of year.
My questions are:
Is it normal to have a buyer’s agent who also works in the same office as the seller’s agent (and is their spouse!)?
Is it normal to be pre-approved for a mortgage by some random lender (never heard of the company she suggested) within 24 hours over a weekend?
And if she’s wants to be our buyer’s agent shouldn’t she offer some perspective or advice instead of heavily pushing this one property? (I directly asked her about the spotty sales history and she didn’t think much of it).
We are first time buyers so any advice would be great!!
Post # 2
goldenbrown : follow your gut. She sounds very aggressive and I would be put off too. However it isn’t that weird for the agents to be in the same office. I wouldn’t use her broker for the preapproval, but definitely get it done – your offer (when you find a house and make one) will be much stronger when you can show the seller that you can afford it.
Post # 3
LilliV : Thanks for this. Yes, we do need to get a pre-approval done. Hubby wanted to use our regular bank (national brand). Does it matter which broker we use?
Post # 4
I would get a pre-approval prior to even starting to house hunt, there’s almost no point to looking without one. Even though a pre-approval doesn’t mean that much in the entire scheme of purchasing a home, it’s an important first step.
Also, if you feel this agent is overly aggressive this soon don’t stick with her. You need to find an agent you really trust and can be compatible with, because that agent will be so important to your daily life and your stress level you can’t even imagine it right now, lol. Same goes with the mortgage broker. Don’t settle, find good people to help you. Get references from people you know and trust. This is probably the biggest purchase of your life and it is a very stressful process for most people. Trust your gut and check and double, triple check everything anyone tells you, don’t just trust their word blindly. Lots of shady folks out there, but lots of good ones, too.
Good luck in your house hunt!
Post # 5
goldenbrown : Nope! And you don’t have to use that bank for your eventual mortgage either but the pre-approval (not pre-qualification, they are slightly different) tells the seller that you are serious and that at least SOME bank is willing to give you the money. Once you’re under contract you can shop around for rates.
Post # 6
Is it normal to have a buyer’s agent who also works in the same office as the seller’s agent (and is their spouse!)? I personally know agents who will represent both buyers and sellers. I know sometimes a buyer they are representing is interested in a house they’re selling. A lot of times they will cut a few % points off commission to help push the deal. I don’t think its all that unusual or shady.
Is it normal to be pre-approved for a mortgage by some random lender (never heard of the company she suggested) within 24 hours over a weekend? In my area, there are dozens of mortgage lenders. I don’t remember the pre-approval process taking that long or being that involved. I think basically all they need is proof of employment, proof of income or assets and a credit check. It can be pretty straightforward and quick. I know some lenders will even offer pre-approval online. Pre-approval doesn’t promise final approval, so it is not nearly as in depth. Our mortgage broker worked weekends all the time, so I wouldn’t think getting approved over a weekend is weird. There were times we had our broker re-run our approval letter over the weekend and it was a super quick process.
And if she’s wants to be our buyer’s agent shouldn’t she offer some perspective or advice instead of heavily pushing this one property? (I directly asked her about the spotty sales history and she didn’t think much of it). It sounds from your post like you told her you only want to focus on this property, so I wouldn’t expect her to be offering a ton of advice. Every realtor is different. Some are super aggressive (which works to your advantage if you are in a hot market), some are more nurturing, offer a lot of advice, take it slow, etc. I think it’s a matter of personal preference and finding someone you like.
Post # 7
I wouldn’t use the spouse of the seller’s agent. While I would hope they would be honest and do the best job possible for you, they get more money out of the deal if you pay more.
Post # 8
All of this is perfectly normal. Husband-and-wife (or husband-and-husband or wife-and-wife) real estate teams are fairly common, and there’s nothing illegal or unethical about them each representing a different party in the transaction.
A realtor pushing you to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you spend a lot of time looking at houses is not unusual. A realtor pushing you to a specific mortgage broker is also not untethical– it’s a bit pushy for my tastes, but there is nothing wrong with it per se. When the time comes, you may find yourself using the realtor’s recommended home inspector or appraiser or closing service. All these recommendations and connections are part of what you pay a realtor for. And all of these service people make themselves very available over the weekends because they only have one chance to make money off of you.
Westwood : A buyer’s agent ALWAYS gets more out of the deal if you pay more for the house, regardless of whether they have a relationship with the seller’s agent or not. You are a single buyer and you’re going to buy one house, so the buyer’s agent is going to make one commission off of you. Same with the seller and the seller’s agent. If you don’t buy this specific house, you’ll buy a different one and they’ll still get paid.
Post # 9
Horseradish : Very helpful thank you.
My concern with her being pushy about the property was that I was teeing up the conversation to come in at a lower bid, and everytime I mentioned something negative she’d counter to say how that’s not an issue/or is a positive. My concern is that she’ll push us to bid a higher offer or won’t be forthcoming about the reality of our lower bid.
As you can tell we are new to this and learning. But I want to offer 11.5% less than asking and was teeing that up and just felt like she wasn’t receptive to any talk other than how AMAZING the house was. My low offer is reasonable considering other recent past sales on the same block and that there’s a much nicer house (newly renovated, higher price, pool) on the same block that’s been sitting for months.
Post # 10
- Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise
goldenbrown : While nothing about this sends up red flags, I would say it seems like there might be a personality conflict that is worth paying attention to.
Buying a house is typically the largest purchase you’ll ever make and can have a huge impact on your future. You want to be sure you trust the person who is helping you through this process. Someone who is so fixated on selling you THIS house, to her spouses’ potential benefit isn’t looking out for your best interest.
If you have cooled on the house, I’d say make the offer and if she balks or tries to talk you out of it, tell her you’ve decided to move on with another agent. Don’t let her headlong zeal hustle you into feeling like you owe her something. You have every right to walk away.
That being said, she isn’t wrong about getting pre-approved. Sellers agents want to know you are serious, and in a lot of markets, if you aren’t ready with an offer backed by financing, you can lose out on a house if other competing offers come out.
Post # 11
Hi there, I’m Realtor and Home Owner in Northern NJ!
Its quite common for spouses to be “teammates”. But she really should have disclosed that. Her and her husband likely work very closely and I would bet she has a relationship with that seller also.
She wants you to get pre-approved to make sure you’re a real buyer. As agents, we get so, sooo many people who want us to spend our time opening doors for them and they either have no intention of buying, or don’t have the ability to get a mortgage. It’s common for agents to test your seriousness by asking you to get pre-approved. BUT, that doesn’t mean you are obligated to use her lender. You can use whoever you want (Stay away from big banks, especially Wells Fargo. They are a nightmare to deal with, just a warning).
This leads me back to question #1. She didn’t answer your question about the spotty sales history of that specific home because she has a relationship with the seller. She has a responsibility to that seller to get that house sold, not to you, basically a stranger. If I were you, I’d be annoyed that she didn’t disclose her relationship to the listing agent and the seller to you. But that’s just me. It would have to come up eventually, but I think sooner is better than later.
Maybe shop around for an agent who will have YOUR best interest in mind. They exist, I promise!
Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m very familiar with NJ real estate “rules”.
Realtor Bee 🐝
Post # 12
This all sounds pretty normal. If there’s a personality conflict then by all means move on. But you should have a pre-approval and agent in place before you even start looking, so she’s not wrong there.
Post # 13
Realtor here and recent first time home buyer!
Its not necessarily abnormal for a husband and wife to sort of tag team a deal with one on the seller’s side and one on the buyer’s, but from what you’ve said it sounds like the promise of what is essentially a double comission is effecting her ability to serve your best interests. Granted, you haven’t signed any sort of agreement with her, but her push to get you to stick to the asking price instead of coming in with a lower bid would worry me. If you don’t like the house and are put off by her demeanor, don’t buy with her. Just because what she is doing isn’t necessarily illegal or abnormal doesn’t mean its right or that it is in your best interest. A good realtor will make you feel comfortable throughout the entire process and will help you come up with a bid that works for you, regardless of how it may effect their comission. Go find a reputable realtor either through family and friends or researching online, sign an agreement with them, and let them work for you. You shouldn’t feel pushed around.
As for the pre-approval, it is always best to get pre-approved before looking at too many homes. Go to three or so companies, fill out the application, and see what rates they can give you and how much you can get approved for. Many companies will match the rates of other offers, so you can work that in your favor.
Hope this helps!
Post # 14
goldenbrown : Keep in mind that any realtor will push you towards a higher bid if what you’re offering is so low that it’s unlikely to be accepted. This is especially true in sellers’ markets where there are a lot of buyers competing for too few homes. Without knowing the property or the market, it’s hard to say if she was giving you good or bad advice but it’s certainly not uncommon for realtors to have to give their clients an occasional reality check. As an anecdote, my husband and I looked at a house in our area a few months ago; it was listed fairly low for the area, was in great shape, lovely home etc. It sold for about $80k more than the list price. So offering 11.5% below list price might not be realistic even if there is a similar property on the market nearby that is not moving. It may be an issue other than price that is keeping it from selling (such as a title problem, or it may be bank-owned which always complicates stuff, or it might be all those upgrades have simply priced it out of the neighborhood).
Post # 15
goldenbrown : Realtor here! I’m going to keep this short and sweet..Hope this helps…1. YES you NEED to be pre-approved, this should happen before you even look at houses. 2. Zillow is HIGHLY innacurate so don’t rely on it, find a realtor you trust to help with this information 3. It is not at all uncommon for the agent to be in the same office as the listing agent BUT becareful..if the listing agent CANNOT give you the same counseling as unbiased buyers agent can..she cannot help you with negotiations or any of that 4. My advice to you would be interview agents until you feel comfortable and if you love a house you can always offer less than listing instead of waiting for it to drop and possibly losing to another buyer.