Benefits of Working with a Buyer’s Agent and Finding a Reliable One
One of the best things you can do as a real estate buyer is to work with a buyer’s agent. What’s the big deal with a buyer’s agent? As far as you’ve always known, you can always work with any real estate agent. In fact, you can even just call the person whose name and number appear on the for-sale sign on that house you want.
Why a Buyer’s Agent?
Truth is, an exclusive buyer’s agent can do a lot of things for you that “any agent” typically won’t, such as negotiating price and terms strictly towards y our favor, preparing all necessary forms, orienting you about local market conditions, and the like. Still this is not to say that a regular real estate agent won’t be of any help to you. Most buyers actually work with one. And as with exclusive buyer’s agents, these people are also governed by laws of the state, especially on ethical practices. But yes, there is a difference between the two.
A real estate agent usually works for a company representing both sides of a transaction. Note that these agents will eagerly show listings of their firm first before the others. They are essentially there for the seller, instead of you. On the other hand, an exclusive buyer’s agent usually works for a company which doesn’t deal with sellers’ listings. They receive no incentives for showing you certain properties, except those which match your needs. This means they will assist you as well in finding homes that being sold by one owner after another. That’s not what a typical agent would do.
What to Look for in a Buyer’s Agent
There are three things you’d want in your partnership with your buyer’s agent – chemistry, respect and the ability to deliver. It’s easy to get a feel for that after only one or two meetings. Particular conditions of your relationship will be indicated in the contract. Look out for the following:
> If the contract says you have a dual agency agreement, that means the agent or firm can work for both you and the buyer. Although this is not permitted in some states, it’s still very common, leading to various conflicts of interest.
> If the contract doesn’t mention that it is a buyer’s agent agreement, you should assume that the agent is a representative of the seller. You want to sign a dedicated buyer agency agreement. It must include all the terms of your engagement with the agent – compensation and services as well as the contract’s period of coverage.
> Finally, if you have a designated agent agreement, that means one agent in the brokerage firm is working in your interest, and another agent in the seller’s. Designated agents have fiduciary duties to their clients – either the buyer or the seller – but not both. While this may work in some situations, it can be tricky.