By Scott Newman
With the market picking up steam, buyers are out there scooping up homes and they’re counting on you as their agent to help them navigate the treacherous waters of their transaction. When they are buying a condo, that path can be filled with even more landmines, and you have a whole new realm of elements to account for when advising your buyer clients. I’ve outlined some best practices for agents below who are representing buyers purchasing a condo.
Understand the Financials
Nothing will make you look more foolish than advising your client to make an offer, having it accepted, and then finding out there is something wrong with the building that prohibits financing. Review condo documents and know what’s going on with the overall health of the building your client is interested in — this is not just your attorney’s job post contract execution — it’s your job before your client ever puts pen to paper! Request a 22.1 disclosure, call the management company, speak to the listing agent — do whatever you need to do to ensure that the building your client wants to buy in qualifies for the type of loan your client is applying for.
Know Your Client
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a listing that gets put under contract, only to have the deal fall apart for ridiculous reasons that could have been brought to light long before an offer was made. Again, as the buyer’s agent, your job is to stay on top of these situations to ensure that you come across as a professional and that your client isn’t wasting their time. The only way to do this is to ask the right questions!
Do your clients have a dog or are they planning to buy one during their residency in the building? Are they planning to smoke inside their unit? Do they like to host company during very late hours? These can all be potential issues for a client as the rules in condo buildings can vary wildly, so it’s never safe to assume anything!
All of the above are examples of questions you should be asking to ensure that your client isn’t wasting their time. Get the right information ahead of time and call the HOA or listing agent personally to ensure that your client’s unique needs will be met by the building.
Do Your Homework
The time to find out whether or not the building has a pool or how nice the gym is should not be when you show up to the property with your client. You need to make the commitment to learning the buildings in the areas you sell in so you can provide guidance and insight to your client long before you even think about setting appointments. If you are unfamiliar with a particular building, you should be visiting them prior to the visit with your clients. Familiarize yourself with the amenities so you can ensure that the building will meet your client’s expectations and you can speak intelligently about them.
Representing buyers on condo purchases requires a little more work than single family home buyers due to the fact that they’re not just buying a home but also the building that home resides in. However, if you take the time upfront to do your homework and ask the right questions, this can become a very lucrative niche for you to build a business around.
Scott Newman is the broker-owner of Newman Realty in Chicago. Connect with Scott at www.newmanknowschicago.com or @newmanrealty.