Having A Buyer's Agent To Represent YOU
When a real estate agent represents a seller, they have their best interests at heart. It's the law. There is no way that agent can represent the seller and a buyer that has no agent at the same time. It's called Dual Agency. That agent can help the buyer by steering them in the right direction about mortgages and such, but that is it.
When it comes time to make an offer on a home and you ask the seller's agent, "how much should we offer?" That agent will tell you, "as close to the asking price as you can get". They have to tell you that because it's their job to get the seller the highest price possible.
When you, the buyer, are represented by an agent, there is a lot they can do for you:
- After you sign a Buyer Agreement with your agent (can be canceled anytime. It is not a contract), they can negotiate the offer on your behalf and try to get you the lowest price possible.
- Once you decide to make an offer, the agent will pull up comparables to see what similar homes in the area have sold for and present that offer to the seller.
- Can tell you how long the house has been on the market. If it's been on the market for months and months, then that's an advantage to you when making an offer.
- Keep you on track with paperwork that you need to submit so closing will happen sooner than later.
- Keep you in the loop about what is happening on the seller's side.
- Be there with you during the home inspection. This is very important because buyer's are nervous about the inspector finding something that would threaten the purchase of the home.
This is only a short list of what buyer representation means. Without a Buyer's Agent, then by law, we always work for the seller. We still owe a buyer fair treatment in this case but we can't represent you without a Buyer Agreement.
Even with a Buyer Agreement signed, your agent should not ask after you see every house, "so, what do you want to offer?" Here is my take on this. When a buyer is ready to make an offer, they will let us know. There should be no pressure tactics because buying a home, whether it's your first or ninth, is a huge decision and an emotional one. Your emotions should never be played on.
If you ever feel that an agent is not doing right by you, talk to them first before canceling your Buyer Agreement with them.