How Helpful Should A Listing Agent Be?
As an Alexandria VA listing agent, I frequently field questions from buyer's agents who have a variety of questions, such as "could the buyer add on to this house?" or "could the buyer change the exterior facade of this house" or "could the buyer build a detached garage in the backyard"?
Sometimes my listings are in OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA, which is well known for its historic homes, churches and buildings, some of which are designated and regulated by two Boards of Architectual Review: the Old and Historic Board and the Parker-Gray Board.
Not all houses are located within one of the two BARs, but it's easy to find out if a specific property is; just check the city's website, which clearly defines the historic districts.
In addition to the properties under the purview of one of the BARs, there are also properties designated as "100 Year Old Buildings Not in Historic Districts" as well as "Properties with Preservation Easements."
Of course, even if a property is not in a historic district or designated as a 100 year old building, there are still zoning restrictions.
When listing an Old Town Alexandria house for sale, I often get questions from buyer's agents who want to know if a house is in a designated Historic district or whether there are any zoning restrictions when it comes to updates or expansions.
I simply refer them to the city's very informative websites and let the buyer's agent take it from there.
Sometimes the buyer's agent pushes back, unhappy that I seemingly don't know what seems like a simple answer. I tell them I am happy to tell them what I think the answer is, but then always suggest they call the Zoning Counter to confirm.
While I will answer conditionally, I also make it clear they should confirm the answer independently of what the listing agent says. After all, that is what their client is depending on them for.
Whether it's information about HOA or condo dues, neighborhood covenants and restrictions or questions about whether or not the city will allow a house to be expanded, it's in no one's best interest to ask the listing agent. While I am not going to answer dishonestly or intentionally mislead anyone, I think it's prudent for a buyer and their agent to confirm certain pieces of information on their own.
It's called Due Diligence.
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