Frequently Asked Questions from Homebuyers
At Buyer's Edge, the goal of our exclusive buyer's agents is to get to know you, understand your needs and protect your interests throughout the entire home buying process in Washington, DC Maryland and Virginia. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions of our buyer's agents.
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Do You Charge a Retainer Fee?
Not very often and only in special circumstances. On most transactions, about 95%, Buyer's Edge does not charge a retainer fee. However, if a home buyer has already found a property and wants representation we’ll sometimes agree to do a limited service contract, either on an hourly basis or sometimes on a lump sum fee or a percentage basis, because of the very limited amount of work involved. At other times when we know our relationship with the buyer is not going to go past that one transaction, we do require an upfront fee.
Why Do Realtors Refer You To a Mortgage Lender They Know?
At Buyer's Edge we encourage all our clients to choose a lender who's reputable, who has a track record of giving top-flight and one that can get the deal done smoothly. Things happen fast, often at odd hours, so it’s important to have somebody local that you can call directly when you need them. You need somebody who has the ability to get the deal to the settlement table and secure a loan without a lot of headaches and red tape. The lenders that we refer our clients to are top professionals who are committed to providing our clients with great rates as well as top service. We are not “in-bed” with any of the outside service providers we use. Most real estate companies today are sharing fees or “own” their own mortgage companies – setting up a whole separate conflict which may not be beneficial to their clients. We on the other hand help and encourage our clients to shop for the best rates and fees from a group of superior lenders and will always agree to work with anyone else that our client wants to work with.
What is an Exclusive Agency vs. a Designated Agency in Washington DC Metro Area?
An exclusive buyer agency represents only buyers and never sellers in the transaction. It never lists a seller’s property and thus never has a seller as a client. Only agents affiliated with an exclusive buyer agency should call himself an exclusive buyers agent. A designated agent is an agent that works for an agency that represents both buyers and sellers and has been selected by the broker to represent either the buyer or the seller in a transaction where both the buyer and the seller are represented by the same agency. This practice is commonly known as dual agency. A buyer who relies on a dual agency does not receive the same degree of loyalty or protection is that afforded by an agent acting solely on behalf of the buyer.
Why Choose Buyer’s Edge When Relocating to Washington DC Metro Area?
Buyer’s Edge agents are licensed in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Many of our clients relocate here from areas that are far away and they have no idea where they want to live. One of the many things that we do better than anybody is the amount of research we provide on particular areas of interest whether it's proximity to work, metro, schools, or neighborhoods.
What is the Importance of Pre-Approved Home Loans?
Potential homebuyers in MD, VA and DC should definitely get pre-approved before beginning to look at homes. It's important to know how much you can afford to spend so you won’t end up looking at houses that are above your budget or artificially below what you can reasonably afford and be willing to pay. It’s important that we have access to that lender 24/7, so if you fall in love with a property on a weekend, or late at night or outside of banking hours, you can reach your loan officer and get a pre approval letter that’s customized for the property, for the amount that you want to spend. This is something that’s very beneficial to your negotiating position when you put in an offer. If you need help finding a reputable lender let us know, we have a list of great lenders, people we trust to get the job done right.
How Does Buyer’s Edge Work With Investors in DC MD, & VA?
At Buyer's Edge we work with groups of investors or individual investors who are looking for a residential property to buy in the DC, MD, VA and Baltimore areas. In general, investors don’t like to work with real estate agents and realtors, people who represent both buyers and sellers, because they are always trying to sell them something. Investors as a group understand the conflicted agency issues because most investors have been through the process a number of times. They instantly recognize that we don’t have those conflicts of interest; they know we’re going to do more research than an agent who does both sides of the deal and that we will look for the best deals for them without any other issues.
How Valuable is the Home Inspection Process When Looking at or Buying a Home in DC, MD & VA?
Once you’ve found a property that you're really interested in, part of the contract process is the selection of a home inspector to help you find defects in the property. Another part of a home inspector’s job is to help you understand how the home operates in terms of furnaces, thermostats, filtering systems, water, etc. It’s important to have the very best inspector who is not afraid to call out the things that are really wrong with the property. Some are old house pros; some are new house pros who may be more tech savvy. Buyer's Edge is happy to work with whomever you choose to work with, but we have been through thousands of home inspections and know some very smart inspectors who have been in the trenches for years.
What is the Importance of the Mortgage Process for Homebuyers in MD, DC & VA?
A client in the Washington, DC metro area needs to know from the very beginning exactly what they can afford. One of the worst things that can happen is for somebody to go through the buying process and be uncertain about what they're going to be able to do and how much it’s going to cost them when they actually find the house that they want. When you actually find a property that you're interested in, we can make sure that you get a really competitive rate. One of the best parts about hiring an exclusive buyer's agent is that we’re not in bed with any lenders. We will be in constant communication with the lender the buyer chooses and to make sure they’ve met with, and been pre-approved by, a top mortgage professional.
Why Does Buyer’s Edge Focus Exclusively on Representing Homebuyers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC?
Most realtors in MD, DC & VA have built their businesses on listing properties for sale. However, listing Seller’s properties for sale and representing buyers at the same time presents a serious and unresolvable conflict of interest. Stephen Carpenter-Israel understood that conflict and founded a company that represented only homebuyers 100% of the time in MD, DC & VA. This was a radical new approach that clients loved but competitors dismissed. Contrary to predictions that a business representing buyers only would fail, Buyer’s Edge continues to thrive after 24 years and over a Billion Dollars worth of transactions only working for Buyers.
What is the Advantage of Having an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker in the Washington, Dc Metro Area?
Buyer’s Edge exclusively represents people buying houses in MD, VA & DC. We don’t list properties for sale so we are never in the position or representing both sides in a transaction. We just work the buyer side of the deal. It’s a very consumer oriented process with the focus on helping people evaluate properties correctly so that they can make a good decision. It’s our Job to help them negotiate the best possible deal. The process of negotiating can be very complicated in areas where home prices are rising fast and there are multiple contract bidding wars. Having a buyer’s agent who helps advise you about what the property is really worth is a distinct advantage. The focus is always on buying the best property that you can afford and not going above what the reasonable number is. In today’s market it’s important to hang in there and make sure that you are well prepared to aggressively pursue the very best properties negotiate deals the Make Good Sense.
What are the Conflicts of Interest Among Brokers?
The real estate business is set up so that most of the brokers represent both sides of the transactions. Not only do they have listing agents who are listing properties for sale and therefore representing the sellers but they also have people in their office that may be representing a buyer in the same transaction. So the broker of that office has a very distinct conflict of interest. The Company, that Broker and therefore every agent working for them already has a contract to get the seller the highest price on the best terms for their property but they also now have a contract with a buyer to get the buyer the lowest price on the best terms for the property — A serious conflict of interest.
Conflicts of interest can also arise when agents work on commission. The more you pay for that house the better off an agent is and that might not be in your best interest. If you are a buyer, one way to avoid conflict is to engage an exclusive buyer brokerage firm. If there are no exclusive buyer firms in your area then you have to be very careful to understand the terms with which you're entering into a contract. You should be very careful to understand what your agency contract agreement says and what happens to you when the company that you are working with is representing both sides of the transaction.
What Are the Requirements for Obtaining a Mortgage for a New Buyer in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC?
Homebuyers in MD, VA & DC who recently qualified for mortgages are now facing new rules. Qualification rules changes constantly both on the income and on the cash that are required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for underwriting the loans. As a result, some people are not qualifying for the loans that they would have been qualified for previously. It is critical to provide all of the documentation necessary and go through a credit check with a professional loan officer in advance.