Home buyers should always have their own agent. Buyer agents work to negotiate the best terms and price for the buyer. Best of all, the buyer agent’s services are free to the buyer.
Most people think they have to pay a sales commission. The truth is this: only the seller pays the commission.
Whether a buyer uses an agent or not, the seller still pays the commission. The only person that wins when buyers are not represented is the listing agent.
Most buyer agents will have their clients sign an agency agreement, an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. It outlines their services, how they are compensated, and how the two parties will work together.
To ensure you’re working with an agent who specializes in representing buyers, seek out an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR).
Remember, you wouldn’t hire your spouse’s attorney to represent you in your divorce. The same goes for real estate. Why use the seller’s agent to negotiate your best interest? There is an inherent conflict of interest.
The home buying process is stressful enough without worrying about who you can and cannot trust. Your buyer’s agent is your trusted advocate.
Buyer Agents and the Agreements
According to most buyer agency agreements, the buyer’s agent must do these things:
- Protect their client’s financial information
- Negotiate the best possible price for the buyer
- Must disclose to the buyer if they are working with another buyer interested in the same property
- Show all properties the buyer is interested in that fits their criteria and budget
- Connect you with the service providers—inspectors, lenders, home warranty companies—to best suit your needs
The buyer also has some responsibilities to their buyer’s agent:
- Buyers must work with their buyers agent exclusively
- Buyers should never give personal information to any other agent
- Buyers should not call other agents to see properties, even if they think they are saving their agent some time and effort
- Buyers should clearly define their must haves and deal breakers to help their agent streamline the showing process
Home buyers are at a premium in today’s housing market. Buyers should interview agents just as seller’s interview listing agents.
Make sure the buyer’s agent you select is familiar the type of property you want to purchase, the area you want to purchase in and the particulars of your situation. An agent is only as effective as the information they are given. Clients relocating from one city to another require a different set of skills from a client moving within the same area, for example.
Buying real estate is a big decision. The best advice is to find a REALTOR® who will guide you through the local market conditions.
Read the rest of the REALTOR® Guide: