All posts by Suzette West

Suzette is the designated broker and general contractor for our company. She has been a real estate licensee since 1996, and has many years of experience specializing in the area of real estate investment. She is what the investor community would call an "investor-friendly" broker who is also an investor herself. She understands real estate investment, how to analyze investments, and how values can change with shifting market cycles. She has first-hand experience of how investors must constantly assess their current business models and strategies in real estate in order to stay abreast of changes, and adjust for new market realities. She knows that ignoring new market realities can increase an investor's risk of experiencing a decrease in deal flow and profit which; can put the best laid real estate investment plans to rest for good. To help her investor clients avoid this, she educates and facilitates the path forward, which is a huge benefit the investor clients she works with. In her own real estate projects, Suzette and her team look for truly quality real estate opportunities that are priced well for the condition and market location. Her systems for sourcing opportunities, analyzing profit potential, estimating repairs, managing renovations, as well as marketing and leasing, all work to ensure that her projects are profitable. She currently holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Real Estate from Marylhurst University. She is a certified business model analyst, and is currently pursuing an Executive MBA in Finance from Washington State University. She is an asset to any team she is working on. Whether that team is her own or she is on an investor-client's team, her enthusiastic dedication to excellent service and world class team-building makes her invaluable to the clients she accepts.

A colleague with compelling information

Richard Machado of Fidelis, The Smart Homebuying Team in New Bedford, MA.

Exclusive Buyer Agent – this is a new wrinkle and if you have your druthers, if you have a choice, this is the way you want to go…. They work just for buyers, they never take a listing, they don’t have the conflict of interest on the other side of the deal. These people consider themselves consumer advocates….that’s the one you want – if you can get it.” – Jean Chatsky, Wall Street Journal’s “Smart Money”

Suzette West, RECS, EBA
Exclusive Buyer Agent Seattle

How to Hire the Right Exclusive Buyers Agent in 5 Easy Steps.

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Unfortunately, buyers often make the mistake of working with the first agent they come into contact with. The following information offers a practical and easy system for searching out potential candidates and selecting the right exclusive buyers agent for the job at hand.

Buyers need to know what options they have available to them, and not let others make these decisions for them. Isn’t there enough of that going on these days?

With knowledge comes the power to make the best practical decisions possible, real estate decisions included.

Step 1: The Search – According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA), only ½ % of all real estate licensees are truly buyer‘s agents. The best way to begin looking for an exclusive buyer‘s agent is to do a search online using the term "exclusive buyer‘s agent" and including the desired property location. A prospective buyer should visit at least 3 to 4 web sites and pay attention to details like professional impression and the overall message communicated in the web site. Buyers should ignore hype that comes from biased sources. For example, a biased source will choose one particular agency to handle all of their real estate inquiries to the exclusion of all others, instead of having a directory of several buyer agencies. This takes away from a buyer‘s right and freedom to choose the best representation for them. In truth, one size does not fit all; therefore, relying on biased sources is quite questionable.

Step 2: The Interview – After finding the best two or three candidates, the next step is to set up an interview. At the interview, a buyer should pay attention to detail and ask plenty of questions. Buyers should ask candidates to address any concerns, and be prepared to discuss real estate goals in general. The goal here is to uncover enough information about a particular agent in order to get a feel for each personality interviewed in order to make the best choice. When concluding the interview, buyers should inform all candidates of when they expect to make a final decision and then notifying each candidate by phone or e-mail, regardless of whether or not the candidate was successful in landing the job.

Step 3: The Selection – After concluding the interview process, which can occur online, via e-mail, in person, or over the phone, the selection process begins. The main goal of this step is to determine the best candidate for the job by considering the comfort level of buyer during the candidate‘s interview, assessing the candidate‘s level of knowledge and expertise, as well as, seeing whether personalities between buyer and candidate click or clash. Buyers should be aware of how an agent handles their questions and concerns. Does the agent seem honest, workable, and flexible? Does it seem like the agent is trying to push their own agendas, trying to use money as incentive or bait, or discouraging buyers from interviewing with other exclusive buyers agents? These are all important considerations. As small as they may seem, these traits reveal the quality of an agent‘s character and the nature of their motivations. This is good for a buyer to know upfront.

Step 4: The Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement – After buyer determines the best exclusive buyer‘s agent to work with, the next step is making the working relationship official through an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. There are currently many misconceptions about this type of agreement. Some buyers are reluctant to sign one because they do not understand what it is for and why it is important for them to have one with the right agent. An Exclusive Buyer Agency agreement establishes the boundaries and ground rules of a working relationship between a buyer and their chosen agent. Without this agreement addressed upfront, important issues become a matter of chance and fate. Buyers and their agents should negotiate the terms until they both feel good about the agreement. Expectations are set and mutually understood. A proper Exclusive Buyer Agency agreement avoids misunderstanding and unwelcome surprises, as well as, prevents wasted time and effort. Buyers and their agents should spell out the details of how they should work together in writing, before actually starting to work together.

Step 5: Getting Started – Once an agreement is in place, buyers should meet with their agent to review goals and options based on the information discussed at the interview. In this step, the agent prepares the buyer for what is ahead. The agent will help buyer determine affordability, shop for the best financing, find the best properties that fit buyer‘s criteria and qualifications, help negotiate for lowest price and best terms in favor of buyer, and manage buyer‘s side of the transaction to closing while watching for, and handling, problems that may arise. The bottom line is that an exclusive buyer‘s agent is a buyer‘s best friend in real estate, and buyer‘s should make sure that they choose the right one for themselves.

Suzette West, RECS, EBA
Exclusive Buyers Agent Seattle