Buyers Agent: Driving around Buyers Required?

22 Replies

Is it assumed that realtors will typically drive around the buyers to look at houses? Is it a deal breaker if the realtor is unable to do this? The reason I ask is my daughter just activated her license with a broker. She is a real estate agent here in Dallas, and the broker is in Austin with no offices in DFW yet. As such there is no office here that the buyers will be able to meet her so that she would be able to drive them around to look at houses.

The alternative in this case if she needed to drive them around would be to meet at a neutral location like starbucks, or pick them up from their home. Neither of which sounds very convenient. If she could meet buyers at the house that would be ideal.

Thanks guys

The only time I've met a real estate agent at the office is when I was picking up my girlfriend for a lunch date. Whenever I've met an agent, they either met me at my hotel when I was checking out a new area when moving out of state, or at my current home. They came to me...not the other way around.

There are a lot of unknowns here...

What buyers expect will depend on what price range you're in, the specific market and the proximity of showings. If it's for just one showing in a sub-$500K price range I'd guess the norm is for the buyer to meet the agent at the property. If there are multiple showings, then meeting for coffee/breakfast/lunch, then carpooling might be a better option. It also depends on the type of buyer - some people will expect their agent to bend over backwards, while others couldn't care less if the agent offers to chauffeur them around or not.

Hi Samantha,

Are we talking regular home buyers here and not investors correct??

If so the first thing your daughter does is give them to a loan broker in house or otherwise to qualify them for free as to their capacity to qualify for purchasing a property. The mortgage broker needs to pull credit to and see income statements not just take the buyers word for it.

The buyer has to be ready, willing, able, and realistic in their goals.

Example they can't want a size, location, etc. that dictates a 400k house when they can only buy a 250k house. You either have to change the area or the expectations of what they will get in the area they want.

Now if your daughter has found them to be good buyer with credit AND they are realistic with what they want to buy you move to the next step. You send them lists of properties. Many properties do not look like the pictures and some are worse or better looking than shown. The other unknown factor is the buyers not might like a power station in the yard, barking dogs next door, power lines in back, train close by, etc.

So if they have say ten properties they selected the buyers have more time than the agent. Tell the buyers to do a drive by of the properties on the MLS sheets they have and then narrow down to the top ones they want to see the inside of. Then you daughter makes those appointments to see the inside in one day grouping.

The goal is you do not want to waste your time as an agent or the buyers but you tell them to see how they like the outside so they do not waste time looking at stuff they know they will not like.

Being a residential buyers agent takes a ton of time versus a listing agent because you can have 10 listings to sell but cannot show as one agent to ten different buyers all on the weekend when they want to see things. You burn up a lot of gas and time. I do not do residential but I know how my friends work it to maximize income.

Your daughter might want to forget the brokerage she is at and go work for a new home subdivision especially if that is booming in that area. You do not drive all over creation, the product to sell is almost the same with minor tweaks, the builder gives incentives to sell versus getting a listing with a stubborn seller, you can show more buyers groups very fast in a day and sell multiple properties. Back in the heyday in GA in 2005 some of my friends with Ryland homes were closing out 8 homes a month. They were making 150k to over 200k a year. The key is that you plan for eventually the construction market cycling out and sales flattening and moving to regular sales again or distressed sales. So you might have a selling wave of new construction for 3 to 4 years before it cycles out. If she saves and invest the money instead of living "high on the hog" she should be fine.

Samantha,

I've been an agent for over over 12 years now. Driving around buyers is not a requirement. I rarely put a buyer in my car. Only if they are a close friend or repeat client. In fact, most buyers feel more comfortable in their own car and can just follow if you are viewing multiple properties. Most of the time, I just meet my client at the property that they are looking to buy or sell.

From a safety perspective, your daughter needs to be careful about meeting strangers at vacant houses. First time meetings should always take place at a Starbucks or other public place. Then, if she is comfortable, go look at properties. If she is uncomfortable in any way, walk away.

@Jeff Clawson Thanks Jeff for the warning on touring vacant homes with strangers. Would you advise the same caution for my son who is working on getting licensed, or is this something more strictly for female agents?

Also when you meet at starbucks what is the general process you have? What do you sit down and talk to them about and how do you guage if something is fishy or not. If there is something suspect, how would you politley leave and not show the house?

"Would you advise the same caution for my son who is working on getting licensed"

Samantha whether a man or a woman you still need to take precautions. I know some guys who can't defend themselves against a fly and know some women in our martial arts classes that hit harder than some men.

I don't do residential but I take nothing for granted with self defense. Criminals take stereo types and use them for the victims to let their guards down.

Do not let them in your car as that is rarely done anymore. They can drive and meet you there. Let the people in first and always keep them in sight in front of you. Have a code with the cell phone with a text or a phrase she says when she has to "check in with the office". Might be something as simple as telling the office "this is a very nice looking house" etc. Something the buyer would think nothing about but is code for send some other agents over I don't feel comfortable. If she doesn't feel comfortable from the start ask another agent from the office to come along for the showings. It's harder to take down 2 people versus one (strength in numbers) even if you are not trained in self defense.

Technically many will get a copy of drivers license from the buyer before any showings at the office and license plate for safety reasons. If the buyer balks at this take notice. No amount of money from a possible commission should be worth taking a risk like that.

@Samantha M. - I don't drive buyers around. Period. I meet them at the property.

If I was a real estate agent the first thing I want to see if the buyer has funds to buy before I waste my time on some tire kicker.

Joe Gore

@Joel Owens,

I agree to get a copy of the buyers license. Here in Dallas we had a few fake realtors and now the buyers are asking for copies of the realtors drivers license to be safe.

Joe Gore

How do you verify the buyer has funds and is willing, ready and able to close on a house so you dont waste your time? Do you just ask for a letter from there lender or something? Do you call the lender to confirm?

Your daughter needs to work for a Local broker, and get some in house training/guidance.

Ask to see a bank statement.

Joe Gore

Different customs in different places.

I don't doubt any of the stories above, about how they have done business.

I can tell you that any agent who insisted on an in-house pre-approval, resulting in hard pulls on my credit reports, before showing me any properties would get nothing from me but scornful laughter as I walked out the door, on the way to her competitor's office.

By the same token, I cannot imagine a local agent ferrying around a local buyer. We meet at the property.

Originally posted by @Samantha M. :
How do you verify the buyer has funds and is willing, ready and able to close on a house so you dont waste your time? Do you just ask for a letter from there lender or something? Do you call the lender to confirm?

A normal thing to ask is if they plan to pay this outright or use financing.

Then regardless of what they say, you can tell them we'll need a proof of funds letter or pre-qualification letter as sellers are expecting them.

If they don't have them, and they usually don't, you can direct them to your preferred lender.

Why in the world would you sign up with a brokerage that doesn't have local support and back office? That's pretty silly.

Think driving a buyer around is a pain? Check the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act. You can be required to make access available, if a qualified buyer doesn't have transportation to view the property, you may need to go pick them up and provide those necessary amenities required to allow the property to be shown!

So much for thinking all you must do is meet them there.

This came up years ago in a suit in Mo. and the Agent called must comply. Just passing along the issue and caution. ADA is federal. :)

Originally posted by @Account Closed :
Originally posted by @Samantha M.:
How do you verify the buyer has funds and is willing, ready and able to close on a house so you dont waste your time? Do you just ask for a letter from there lender or something? Do you call the lender to confirm?

A normal thing to ask is if they plan to pay this outright or use financing.

Then regardless of what they say, you can tell them we'll need a proof of funds letter or pre-qualification letter as sellers are expecting them.

If they don't have them, and they usually don't, you can direct them to your preferred lender.

Why in the world would you sign up with a brokerage that doesn't have local support and back office? That's pretty silly.

Sorry, they do have a local office / training. I misunderstood her. She is mostly wanting to deal in Fort Worth and the office is in Dallas, so a bit of a drive is all. Thanks for your post!

I have only worked with one agent (now she is my sponsoring broker) and 99% of the time she would drive me to properties. I would meet her at a location (usually a coffee, juice or food spot) and she would drive me around to multiple properties. I just assumed this was how most agents behaved (I thought it is a major plus). As for asking the buyer about financing and bank statements, etc., the purchasing ability of the buyer should have been addressed prior to the point of showing someone properties.

As others have mentioned, do be cautious and take appropriate safety measures, but I also say do not be driven by fear. There are millions of agent / client meetings that occur everyday without violence. Despite what the news feeds us, the majority of people in the world are good :)

@Bill Gulley - Thanks again for reminding us about how much the government likes to tell us what to do.

I thought you'd like that. As I recall, there were qualifying requirements to be obligated to provide access, the home doesn't have to be modified for example, nor do you have to carry someone in. Your broker is probably familiar with the issues or at least find relevant information if needed. I only dealt with one person (quadriplegic) and she had her own vehicle, a dear lady who wouldn't dream of causing others problems. I'd say the matter is reality of having an issue would be very slim. :)

If a buyer claims they have funds and they are approved, it is always a good idea to ask for a copy of the approval letter and the loan officer's name and contact info. I always call the loan officer and verify the information mentioned in the approval letter. If the buyer claims they are paying cash for a house, what I normally do is before we start looking at house I ask for proof of funds which is pretty much a letter from their bank verifying they have the amount of money to cover what they want to buy.

POF or a Pre approval is a must. If the buyer isn't serious about getting this stuff in writing then they are not serious enough to take up some of my time.

Usually meet at the house.

usually drive separate.

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