Today as I was working for the first time with a new buyer, he stopped me when I got to a standard portion of my discussion of the Real Estate Facts of Life. And he said these six words:
"Thank you. I did not know that, Nancy!"
That statement didn't surprise me. Here's what I had said:
"Mr. Buyer, when you drive past a house you like and you call the agent whose name is on the sign in front of the house, do you understand that you are calling someone who is working FOR THE SELLER. That agent is duty bound to get the best possible price on the home FOR THE SELLER. So, since the seller has his own agent in the transaction, don't you think YOU should have an agent who is going to watch out for your best interests? I will be that agent. As your BUYER'S AGENT my only concern in the transaction will be for you. So, If you see a house that interests you, tell me about it and we'll take a look at it together. I will tell you what I consider to be the good, bad and ugly of the houses you view. When you ultimately choose your favorite and it's time to make an offer, I will work hard to make sure you can acquire the house you want for the best possible price in the current market, get proper inspections, meet contract timelines and take care of what will seem like a thousand other details that will get you to a successful closing.
In Illinois we are designated agents. We can be Seller's Agents or Buyer's Agents. We also are permitted to be Dual Agents, working for both sides with strict rules about confidentiality. And we can perform ministerial acts for someone with whom we have no agency relationship, which also must be disclosed. (Note: each state has different laws governing agency.)
Yes, I have listings too. And buyers do call me from the signs. But it's my ethical responsibility to make sure they understand the agency relationships at work.
By all means buy a house this year. But please don't buy a house without a clear understanding of who is working for YOU.