By this time most home buyers that have gotten far into their research know that they should use a buyer agent to represent them in the purchase. They have discovered the concept of advocacy. They have learned that buyer agents advocate for buyers and seller agents advocate for sellers and that dual agents do neither.
There are things that most buyers don't quite figure out.
- Most industry (National Association of Realtors) branded buyer agents, the ABRs, often work for sellers too. The result is that it is not possible to choose an agent and assume they will be a buyer agent based on the "ABR" label.
- Representation is at the firm level - not at the agent level. Agents represent their companies. Some states, after lobbying by industry organizations, made up a concept called "designated agency" to try and make it appear that the conflict of interest that is created when the firm represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction, is avoided. They (not the consumer) designate an agent of their company to represent the buyer and another to represent the seller, Aside from the fact that the consumer can't pick their own agent is the fact that the person supervising both the buyer agent and the seller agent is representing both the buyer and the seller. "Designation" does not eliminate dual representation.
- Agents that advertise that they 'will be your buyer agent' or that otherwise advertise buyer agent servies usually do not know if they will be able to offer that service. An agent can't guarantee they will have that service available if there is a chance that the responding consumer may be interested in a home for which the agent's company is representing the seller.
- There are some agents that work for exclusive buyer offices. HUD recommends that home buyers consider using an exclusive buyer agent. Since these offices never represent sellers there is no chance that the agent working for the company will be in the position of representing the opposing interests of a buyer and seller. Agents working for exclusive buyer offices are known as EBAs. Unlike the industry branded ABR being an EBA does not require membership in an industry organization. It merely requires that they work for a company that never lists property or works for sellers. Many, though, are members of the National Association of exclusive Buyer Agents, NAEBA. Using an agent that is a member of NAEBA is one way to be sure they are an EBA.