Home Buying / Property Showing - FAQs
If you’re a perspective home buyer considering working with our team, you probably have some questions about the process. Before we take you on as a client and start showing you properties, we like to make sure everyone is on the same page. In an effort to address some of the misconceptions people often have about working with a REALTOR®, we’ve put together a list of answers to common questions.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- If I already have an agent, can you still show me homes & answer my questions?
- What information should I provide to get started?
- Why is my ID, mortgage pre-approval (or proof of funds) and a brokerage agreement needed?
- What types of representation do you offer? What is the difference?
- I need to get pre-approved for financing, who should I contact?
- If I just want more information about a property, can you help me?
- Do you have a list of trusted service providers you can recommend?
- Why should I commit to work with only one agent?
- Can I schedule a consultation with an agent before I visit properties or write an offer?
- Do your agents work with everyone?
- Can I get a buyer rebate or incentives if my employer offers relocation assistance?
- What if I need to sell my home before I’m able to purchase my new home?
- I’m relocating from out of state, can you help me sell my home?
- How can I see all the available listings that are on the market?
- Who will keep me updated when new listings hit the market?
- I selected a tour date, why isn’t the property available that day?
- The website says showings are free and that I can cancel anytime? Is that true?
If I already have an agent, can you still show me homes & answer my questions?
No, we can’t. By doing so, we could face disciplinary action from our local board of REALTORS® for interfering with another broker’s client. It is unethical and imprudent for an agent to solicit buyers who are represented by another broker. It is also a violation of license law for us to advise buyers on real estate matters without first entering into an exclusive brokerage relationship. Please let us know ASAP if you’ve already committed to working with another agent/broker.
You should contact your agent directly to schedule showings or get information about properties of interest.
If you are unhappy with the service your current agent/broker is providing, or if you have not entered into any formal agreement with them (signed a brokerage agreement), please let us know. We may be able to help.
What information should I provide to get started?
Whether you decide to work with us as a client, or as a customer, we like to have the following information on file for you:
- Identification card - Can be your driver’s license, state ID, passport, or any other federal/state issued form of identification.
- Mortgage pre-approval letter or proof of funds - A letter from a licensed loan officer with a valid approval date. Or, proof of funds being used to purchase real estate. This may be in the form of: bank account statements, investment statements, letter from a wealth manager, documented home equity, etc.
- Brokerage agreement - A signed buyer brokerage agreement or customer agreement authorizing us to represent you or work with you in a limited capacity.
Why is my ID, mortgage pre-approval (or proof of funds) and a brokerage agreement needed?
- Federal fair housing laws - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in nearly all real estate transactions, including the sale of housing and the provision of mortgage loans. Making housing unavailable, or setting different terms, conditions or privileges for the sale of a dwelling based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin is strictly prohibited. Our goal is to provide equal access to homeownership opportunities and eliminate discrimination in real estate. We are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated equally when searching for a place to call home.
- The safety of our agents - Touring homes with complete strangers (especially alone) can be extremely dangerous. Sadly, countless real estate agents have been attacked, and others have been killed while simply trying to do their job. When “potential buyers” are not property vetted before an agent enters a property with them, the agent puts themselves in a vulnerable situation with an unknown person(s). We’re simply asking for a little bit of information from you before we schedule any showings. We hope you understand.
- Respect for sellers - If you were selling a home, would you want just anyone coming into your house? As a buyer’s agent showing a property, we’re responsible for who we bring into the home. If we don’t really know who we’re letting into someone’s house, how do we know what their true intentions are? It’s reckless and irresponsible to do so. Plus, showings require the seller to prepare their home to be viewed, and they’re interrupting their daily lives to make their house available for buyers to see. It’s unfair to place this burden on sellers when a buyer has not been: properly identified, financially qualified, and deemed serious about the process.
- Clients/customers get priority status - We work hard for our customers and clients, and we try our best to be available for them when they need us. If we’re out showing properties to just anybody, it takes away from the time we should be spending with those who have committed to work with us. We simply can’t dedicate our resources to those who haven’t agreed to work with us.
- We don’t work for free - We love showing homes, but it’s a job, not a past-time… And it isn’t as easy as just opening a door. Showings can require scheduling and confirming the appointment, gathering property information, researching the neighborhood, driving to and from the home, touring buyers around the house, and providing feedback to the listing agent afterwards. It consumes a lot of time and ultimately costs us money. Keep in mind, we don’t get paid anything until our buyer closes on their home, so we do actually work for free until then.
- Company policy - Metro Atlanta Home Group places great value in the relationship we have with our clients/customers. We firmly believe it’s in the best interests of buyers and sellers to commit to an agent when viewing properties.
What types of representation do you offer? What is the difference?
All brokerage relationships fall into one of two broad categories: broker-client; or broker-customer. We offer our buyers either option. Here are the basics of the two:
With a broker-client relationship, the real estate broker is representing the client and is acting as his or her legal agent in buying property. In Georgia, a broker-client relationship can only be formed by the parties entering into a written agreement. The agreement must explain, among other things, how the broker will be paid, the duty of the broker to keep client confidences, and the types of client or agency relationships offered by the broker. The broker is required to make all disclosures required by law and assist, to the extent requested by the buyer, in negotiating the terms of and filling out a pre-printed real estate purchase and sale agreement.
With a broker-customer relationship, the broker is not representing the customer in a legal or agency capacity. However, the broker can still work with the buyer and help him or her by performing what are known as ministerial acts. These include, for example, identifying property for sale, providing pre-printed real estate form contracts, preparing real estate contracts at the direction of the customer, and locating lenders, inspectors, and closing attorneys on behalf of the customer.
For more information about brokerage relationships and to determine which is right for you, please download: The ABC’s of Agency: Understanding Real Estate Brokerage Relationships in Georgia.
I need to get pre-approved for financing, who should I contact?
Many buyers choose to get financing through their current bank or credit union, but it’s really up to you. Maybe you know and trust someone who works in the mortgage business; you can try reaching out to them. As long as you’re working with a reputable lender who runs your credit and thoroughly evaluates your ability to qualify for a mortgage upfront, it shouldn’t be an issue. There are online options, as well. Some of our clients have gotten great rates going through online mortgage companies, especially those using Costco’s member mortgage programs.
We also have relationships with a handful of great local lenders we highly recommend. Feel free to contact any one of them to start the pre-approval process:
If I just want more information about a property, can you help me?
If you’re not working with another agent, we sure can! We are happy to verify listing status, pull public records, run market reports, and provide any additional property/market information that’s available. We believe in providing value at every step of the process, so we don’t mind putting together resources that will help facilitate your home search. We simply ask that you do not distribute or share any of the information we have provided you, as much of it is copy-written and not intended for public dissemination.
Do you have a list of trusted service providers you can recommend?
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers has a comprehensive network of verified local service providers, and we’re happy to share those contacts with you. Additionally, our team members have built relationships with all types of real estate vendors, including: loan officers, home inspectors, closing attorneys, handymen, pest control companies, contractors and more. If you need a contact we don’t have, we can tap into our network of more than 2,000 local agents to find trusted referrals.
Why should I commit to work with only one agent?
The problem with “using multiple agents” is that they all have access to basically the same properties, so they’ll all be sending you the same listings. You’ll actually spend more time sorting through all the duplicate listings that you don’t like, rather than getting straight to the homes that truly fit your needs. Plus, none of “your agents” will truly be working hard to find you the perfect home… They’re too busy doing that for their actual clients.
Also, unless you love being on email lists, do you really want multiple agents sending you a bunch of automated drip emails? Not to mention the automated texts, voicemails and phone calls you’ll be getting from each of them. The funny thing is, most agents use the same basic follow up templates, so you’ll get to hear the same message over and over again. Do you really have time for all that?
Make things easy on yourself and find the right agent to work with, then stick with that agent (as long as it’s a good fit). Trust us, things are much easier when you have one point of contact for everything. Need information about a property? Ask your agent. Found a couple houses you want to see? Have your agent schedule the showings. Don’t understand how due diligence works? Your agent can explain it. Your agent is a valuable resource and is there to help!
Can I schedule a consultation with an agent before I visit properties or write an offer?
Absolutely, we highly encourage it! Taking the time to meet with our local buyer specialist will allow you to get to know them and really determine if working together is a good fit. It also gives us an opportunity to answer questions you may have about the home buying process and, if needed, explain all the real estate documents and contracts you’ll be working with. Setting the proper expectations up front will make the entire process go much smoother, and it can help prevent sources of frustration (on both sides).
Do your agents work with everyone?
Generally speaking, yes. However, we reserve the right NOT to work with people who:
- Don’t respect our agents, other agents, or sellers and their property.
- Are openly racist, sexist, homophobic, or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Make sexual remarks or advancements toward our agents.
- Are verbally abusive.
- Can’t or won’t pre-qualify for financing (or provide proof of funds to purchase).
- Have unrealistic expectations or seek to purchase properties well above their set price range.
- Just want to see houses for fun with no real intention of buying.
Per federal fair housing laws, our agents are committed to providing equal housing opportunities to all persons. While we may show buyers properties of a type or in any specific geographical area requested by the buyer, we may not steer buyers to particular areas based upon race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familiar status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Can I get a buyer rebate or incentives if my employer offers relocation assistance?
Quite possibly! To make your move easier, we have an entire department dedicated to relocation business. Our brokerage works closely with hundreds of the nation’s largest companies to help facilitate your move; ensuring a smooth transition. We also have agreements with many of the top lenders and insurance providers, some of which may offer special incentives to buyers.
What if I need to sell my home before I’m able to purchase my new home?
If your current home is located in Metro Atlanta, we can help you list and sell it while you’re searching for your next home. Our team covers the entire metro area, so we’ll connect you with our local listing specialist who can get your home sold for top dollar. We can perform a complimentary market analysis to determine your home’s value, calculate your net proceeds, and help you prepare the property to sell for max price. Working closely with our agents on the sale of your current home (and the purchase of your new one) will help ensure everything goes off without a hitch. In many cases, we can close both transactions in the same day, at the same office, making things much easier on you!
I’m relocating from out of state, can you help me sell my home?
If your property is located outside of Metro Atlanta or North Georgia, we can still help. We have a massive nationwide network of broker contacts, so we can find an experienced agent in your area to list and sell your home. Give us a call at (404) 513-5987 to be connected with our relocation department.
How can I see all the available listings that are on the market?
By working closely with one of our buyer’s specialists, you can ensure that you’re getting access to ALL homes currently for sale. We search properties listed with agents on the multiple listing service (MLS), homes for sale by owner, and even coming soon listings. In addition, we have ways of identifying off-market properties that aren’t even listed for sale yet. Whatever it takes to find you the perfect home!
On our website (MetroAtlantaHome.com) you can view all the properties in Metro Atlanta listed on FMLS. As a registered user, you can also save your custom searches and favorite listings. Since we have a second MLS in Atlanta (Georgia MLS), you’d need to use a different site that pulls specifically from GAMLS in order to search those listings. Good news! Our dual MLS search portal allows you to browse listings from both MLSs on one site, so there’s no need to go back and forth.
Who will keep me updated when new listings hit the market?
Once you’re working with one of our agents, that agent will make sure you’re getting regular updates of new property listings. We can send you listing alerts directly from the MLS, or go through them manually to pick out only the best matches before we send them to you. It really just depends on your personal preferences. Some buyers don’t want to receive multiple email listing alerts per day from both MLSs, so we can cut down on the frequency of those updates (if needed). If you prefer using other websites or smartphone apps like Zillow, Realtor.com, Redfin, etc., you don’t have to stop. Whatever you find most useful and helps us locate the perfect home for you, that is what you should use!
I selected a tour date, why isn’t the property available that day?
Since most properties are occupied, scheduling a showing depends on more than just the availability of our agents. Many sellers require advanced notice and must manually approve showings before an appointment can be set. For example, families with young children often request reasonable time (can vary, usually between 2 - 48 hours) to prepare the home for visits. People with pets, especially large dogs, may also need time to get their home ready for guests.
We’ll do our best to accommodate your requested showing date and time, but some things are out of our control. Please be patient when requesting to see a property, especially occupied homes. Also, please be respectful of other people's time. Showings are a huge disruption in many people's lives, so we ask that you show up on time once an appointment has been scheduled and confirmed. If you do need to cancel, please notify us ASAP so we can update the homeowner.
The website says showings are free and that I can cancel anytime? Is that true?
Yes. We don’t charge our clients for showings, and they can cancel an appointment at any time. However, out of respect for sellers (and our agents), we ask for at least 24 hours notice when doing so. We understand that unexpected life situations happen, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. Multiple last minute appointment cancellations may result in the denial of future showing requests.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Kyle Eaves at (404) 513-5987 or complete the contact form below. Thank you, we look forward to working with you!