You’re ready to buy a house. You see a home you like so you call the agent who has it listed. Do you know that the agent you are speaking to is representing the seller, not you?
Don’t get us wrong, as REALTORS®, we love when we get calls from people who don’t already have an agent. However, we do recommend having a buyer’s agent. Working as a dual agent, agent of the seller and buyer, is difficult and typically the agent can only provide limited advice to either party. Going it alone with a realtor representing the seller puts you at a disadvantage. Would you go to court without an attorney? Would you go on a safari without a guide? Right. You need the right kind of representation. But exactly why do you need a buyer’s agent?
What is a buyer’s agent?
A buyer’s agent is a licensed real estate agent with a fiduciary responsibility to their client (YOU!). Buyer’s agents help you find homes that fit your needs and wants. They coordinate showing appointments and show them to you! Yes, a buyer’s agent can unlock the door and take you into the home that is listed by another agent. This is the cooperative environment that exists within realtors and associations. When you find your ideal property, buyers agents assist with all of the paperwork to make the offer, and they present the offer on your behalf to the listing agent! They handle behind-the-scenes activities like coordinating inspections and closings as well as working through the challenges that arise, and help make sure your lender has everything they need for closing day. They keep your needs at the forefront of the transaction. We act as a step-by-step guide throughout the entire process.
Why do I need a buyer’s agent?
In the end, through their knowledge and expertise, a buyer’s agent saves you time and money. We have knowledge of real estate and the home buying process in this highly competitive market. We know how to best help you find (and submit the “winning” offer) on your dream home. One of the biggest assets we bring is our familiarity with the neighborhoods that we serve.
We know what has recently sold, for how much and what may be coming soon to the market. This helps you avoid some of the common and no-so-common pitfalls of today’s hot market! That’s right, this hot market is known as a seller’s market and that makes getting a buyer’s agent that knows the ropes more important than ever. Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homebuyer, we recommend having a buyer’s agent assist and make the process as easy as possible for you.
What does a Buyer’s Agent do for You?
We are your tour guide, problem solver, and advisor. We watch out for you, guide you along the process, analyze the market by constantly reviewing comparable properties to make sure you are making smart offers, and help make sure all of the paperwork is done appropriately. It is not just about negotiating the price and handling paperwork. We also do the following:
- Listen to your wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. Your buyer’s agent will help you find the right home for your lifestyle. Do you want to be in a certain school district? We can search by that criteria. Are you looking for a single-story home with a fenced-in yard? You got it! We can point you in the right direction and search with those parameters too! We can pull only properties that meet your criteria, so we don’t waste time looking at homes that don’t fit the bill. Knowing how quickly things sell, is extremely important. We can also help you imagine the possibilities to alter a property to make it perfectly fit your desires!
- Be in constant communication. When you find the perfect home you need to act quickly, especially in this market. As a buyer’s agent, it is our duty to let you know of homes that fit your needs and wants as soon as they hit the market, or sometimes even before they hit the market! We are ready to drop everything and show you a house any time. Saturday morning or a Thursday evening, it’s our job to help you find a home. Don’t worry about bothering us! Time is truly of the essence, as homes can come up for sale and then be under contract in a matter of hours – not days!
- Put you in touch with other professionals. We have connections to the experts in related industries, such as home insurance providers, home inspectors, mortgage lenders, and more. We work with these people every day, so if you need anything from lawn maintenance to a bathroom remodel, ask us!
- Act as a proxy or go-between. Sometimes, despite everyone’s best attempts, things don’t go as planned. This is high-stakes, as a home sale or purchase is usually a person’s single largest financial investment! Emotions can run high. We can act as a proxy between you and the seller, helping to keep things professional and moving forward.
- Help overcome setbacks. If a home inspection brings some unexpected issues to light or a home appraisal comes back much lower than anticipated, would you know how to handle that? We can offer advice and help work toward a solution. Sometimes these situations require another “mini” negotiation but don’t worry. We are experts!
How much is a Buyer’s Agent Fee, and Who Pays?
WAIT…. if you’re doing all this work for me, how much do I owe you? As a buyer’s agent, the seller of the home oftentimes pays our fee at closing – not you! How about that? We help you find the perfect home, guide you through negotiations, paperwork, closing, and beyond…. and potentially at no cost to you! Using a buyer’s agent provides great value. We help ensure you don’t unknowingly overpay for a property, that you don’t miss requesting sellers repair a major, big-ticket item…our expertise is worth every penny in the headache and heartache it can save you!
Both buyer’s and seller’s agents work on commission, which is typically split between the agents and their respective brokerages at the time of closing. Don’t think they are keeping all of the checks you ultimately see or that it is straight profit.
Should You Sign an Exclusive Buyer Agreement with Your Agent?
Some buyer’s agents will ask you to sign an exclusivity agreement stating that you will work with them and them only throughout the home buying process.
The primary benefit of an exclusive agreement is that you know you will have the highest level of attention from your agent. You will call YOUR buyer’s agent anytime you find a property you would like to see, with all of your questions, for accompanying you to any open houses, etc. These agreements protect an agent’s interests too. They will invest a lot of time in understanding your needs and showing you homes. They want to know that you are committed to working with them if they are making that kind of investment in you.
Whether or not you sign an exclusive buyer’s agency agreement should depend on how much you like and trust the agent and if you think working exclusively with them is in your best interest. Some buyer’s like the certainty of dealing with a single agent and find it much more simple. Others prefer the variety and range of multiple agents, but they sacrifice the benefit that a single personal advocate can provide.
To get the most professional and knowledgeable agent, it is worth making a commitment to them with an exclusive buyer’s agency agreement. The best and busiest agents prefer to work with clients who are also committed to them because they simply don’t have the time to potentially waste if a buyer doesn’t want to work with them exclusively. Don’t you want the best? Plus, if things go sour, you and your agent can likely part ways and still be friends. Thus, freeing you up to find a buyer’s agent that is a better fit. You don’t have to feel trapped if you believe you did not do enough research on buyer’s agents ahead of time. Just make sure you are educated and seek to avoid this whole scenario.
The Bottom Line: You Want a Buyer’s Agent
A buyer’s agent is your ticket for a smooth journey to homeownership. The benefits are clear: from start to finish, we are on your side. We save you time, provide advice, and we share our real estate expertise and professionalism at no immediate cost to you.
So, reach out, start a conversation with us and let us assist you in finding the perfect home!