Hiring an agent can make the biggest difference on your chances to buy a home. Home buying is a serious business, as a 1st time buyer or seasoned buyer, relocating or buying a vacation home, a reliable buyer's agent will work in your favor, protecting your interests and making sure your home dreams does not become a home nightmare. If you are ready to house hunt be aware: It’s a jungle out there: Prepare for a flurry of paperwork, stampedes of buyers competing for the same digs, and other challenges before you get your hands on those house keys.
We won’t lie: The process can be complex and stressful—which is why having a pro by your side can make all the difference. You might have heard of buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, listing agents, and so on. You’re a buyer, so what is a buyer’s agent? True to their name, buyer’s agents assist home buyers every step of the way; they can also save you tons of time and money on the road to home ownership.
We will guess that since you are serious and ready to buy, you’ve probably spent the last few years of your life working hard and sacrificing so you can save up and achieve “The American Dream”.
Buying a home is a huge milestone in every person’s life. A home is more than just a place to find shelter and safety from the elements. It is an investment that can potentially pay out large returns in the future. Thus, it is an investment decision where you should seek out valuable advice. That is just one reason why you should hire a Buyer’s Agent to represent your interests.
A Buyer’s Agent is a licensed real estate agent professional who represents the buyer in a real estate transaction. Whether you are a first- time home buyer or not, hiring a Buyer’s Agent will always be a smart decision when it comes to real estate property investment. A Buyer’s Agent specializes in making sure buyers find the home they’re looking for and catering contracts to legally protect home buyers’ interests. Unlike a listing agent, a buyer’s agent’s first priority is making sure that you, as the buyer, get the best deal for the best home.
Understanding Dual Agency (Or using the listing agent as your own agent)
It is a prevalent belief that using the listing agent will guarantee the buyer's a "Better deal" when buying a home. A common way to enter a dual agency situation is when you visit an open house before you've have decided to have an to represent you as a buyer, then, while there you express to the listing agent interest in the house and are told by the agent for the sellers that writing an offer will not be a problem. Sometimes they even go further and say you will not need your own agent to write an offer,t hat they can assist you with it.
Before entering into any of these types of dual agency agreements, however, Buyer’s need to understand the legal implications and how it might affect your ability to get the best possible deal in buying a home.
Generally, a seller’s goal is to get the highest possible price for a property, whereas a buyer’s goal is to pay the lowest possible price. How, then, can a dual agent properly represent the competing interests of both a buyer and a seller?
An agent for the seller is supposed to obtain the highest and best price for the seller. An agent for the buyer is supposed to obtain the lowest and most competitive price for the buyer. When an agent owes a duty of loyalty to two parties who have opposite, competing interests, the agent may have difficulty advancing the interests of either party, or worse, end up choosing the interests of one party over another.
While a Buyer’s Agent can be expected to advise you whether the listing price is reasonable, whereas the dual agent (listing agent), who originally worked with the seller to establish the listing price, will be more likely the defend the listing price.
Dual agents do not (or should not) share the other party’s confidential information. You might think that it’s a great idea to work with the listing agent because you may find out things like how low a seller is willing to sell for, or what would motivate the seller to accept a lower price. However, under California law, a dual agent may not disclose to the buyer that the seller will accept an offer for less than the listing price, unless the seller specifically agrees to this disclosure.
A dual agent who is receiving both the buyer’s and seller’s agency commission may be over-incentivized to close the deal no matter what it takes. This could create ethical (and legal) issues where an agent may be tempted to not disclose a relevant fact for fear of ruining the deal, and losing out on a large, double commission, potentially creating issues for both buyers and sellers.
Another point to remember is that Dual agency reduces your legal options if a problem arises. If you need to file a lawsuit, and you used a dual agent, you have only one broker’s office to sue, and thus only one broker’s insurance company that will step in and assist in paying any damages
So, now that have a better understanding that working with the seller or directly with the listing agent will give the buyer’s a deal might really not be such a great idea, let’s focus on what your Buyer’s Agent can do for you.
Here are 10 reasons why you should hire a buyer’s agent.
1. IT’S FREE
As the buyer, you will not have to pay your agent’s commission. It is the seller’s responsibility to pay both the listing agent and buyer’s agent a commission. This is agreed upon signature of the Listing Contract before the house becomes available for sale. Dealing directly with the listing agent, while may lead you to believe you will get a ‘discount’, only means that either the agent will be making a larger commission or the seller will pay a little smaller commission and make more money on the sale, not that you (The BUYER) will be getting a ‘deal’. Basically, you have the opportunity for free representation. Take advantage of it.
2. CONSULT ON THE PROPERTY MARKET
Many first- time buyers rely on the Internet for information. While there is a wealth of information available on the Internet, not all of these are reliable.Some of the information you come across could be outdated. Second, with today’s easy access to the internet, there are many cyber-scams praying and taking advantages of uninformed or inexperienced buyers and sellers. Third, while reaching out to the listing agent identified on the website sounds like a good idea, remember that you will be consulting with a person who represents the seller and the listing agent has the sellers best interests at heart, their job is bring the most possible money to their employer – “The Seller” not to you – “The Buyer”.
3. HELP YOU UNDERSTAND FINANCING OPTIONS
Finding the best mortgage for your situation is the key to being a successful homeowner. It could mean the difference between being able to afford your mortgage payments and finding yourself underwater or foreclosed. Your Buyer’s Agent will be able to help you find a great lender.
4. PROVIDE YOU WITH LISTINGS TO MEET YOUR NEEDS AND WANTS
One of the first things a Buyer’s Agent do is to sit down with you, listen, learn and work on identifying your wants and needs in a home or a neighborhood. Be very specific with your Buyer’s Agent. Make your Buyer Agent aware of all that you are l9ooking in a house: how many rooms you want, the size of the garage, the number baths, the availability of a garden and other details on your prospective home and neighborhood are important to you and your family. An experienced Buyer’s Agent will provide you with listings on homes and neighborhoods that meet your wants and needs. He or she will also schedule the site visits and appointments at your convenience. A Buyer’s Agent can even arrange for transportation and prepare an itinerary so you can visit as many houses as time would allow. If the houses and neighborhoods shall prove to be beyond the limit of your budget, your Buyer’s Agent will sit down with you and reassess the situation. The idea is to arrive at a compromise so you can have a home that would meet most of your wants and still stay within the budget.
5. KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN HOMES
Buyer’s agent regularly helps buyers find homes therefore, he or she will have an experienced eye when attending walk-throughs. Tell-tale signs of damage or modifications will stand out to buyer’s agent and he or she will pass that information to you. Armed with what the buyer’s agent’s trained eye has noticed, you’ll be able to make an informed choice.
6. MARKET KNOWLEDGE
A buyer’s agent will know how much the homes you are looking for should cost. They will have experiencing putting together a CMA, or comparative market analysis, so you can also know how the market is behaving. Remember, a buyer’s agent can be expected to advise you whether the listing price is reasonable, while the listing agent, who originally worked with the seller to establish the listing price, will be more likely the defend and justify their listing price.
7. LOCAL LISTING AGENT CONTACTS
The best way to get the best deal on a house is to know about it before it hits the market. Buyer’s agents use their network of listing agents to locate homes that match your needs. Some will also be able to draw from their company’s research tools. We have access to a properties that are not yet listed in the multiple listing service (MLS).
8. EMOTIONAL FILTER
Buying a home is an understandably emotional time. Having an agent who is not emotionally attached to the purchase will ensure you have a voice of reason when you fall in love with a home’s layout and don’t notice a decaying roof. Your buyer’s agent will also help you make sure you find the home you need instead of getting side tracked by wants.
9. ASSIST YOU IN THE BUYING PROCESS
Entering into a real estate contract is legally binding and not to be taken lightly. The buying process in real estate can be tedious and confusing at times. There are documents to be submitted, fees, payments to be discussed and dates to be honored.
A buyer’s agent has written and reviewed purchase agreements before. He or she will make sure that it includes contingencies in the right places to allow you to walk away from the contract to purchase if you are not satisfied. You also have to be certain that you will be getting your money’s worth on the house you intend to purchase. It may look good outside and inside and the owner could appear condescending but that doesn’t mean the house is everything that it seems to be.
A Buyer’s Agent has the experience and contacts to make sure you will get what you plan to pay for. He or she can arrange for the house to be inspected by a licensed inspector and other professionals as needed. The findings of the professionals including recommended repairs and improvements should be factored in the cost of buying the house. At the very least, these repairs and improvements should be negotiated with the home owner.
10. PROFESSIONAL NEGOTIATION
Regardless of your price point, negotiation is going to factor into buying a home. Since most homes are listed with a listing agent experienced in negotiating, you want to make sure your financial interests are equally represented in the negotiations. Aside from straightforward negotiations, buyer’s agents employ certain acquired skills over time like offering or receiving concessions to make sure you come out ahead or happy, depending on the current market’s behavior.
Negotiations in the sale of a property can be difficult. There are many parties whose respective interests are at stake. These parties include the seller, the listing agent, you and your Buyer’s Agent. He or she knows how to maneuver through the negotiations so you can be in the best position to get the best price the market allows. A reputable and trusted Buyer’s Agent will also advice you if the final offer price is worth taking or is best left at the negotiation table. A reliable and trustworthy Buyer’s Agent must be not just be willing but ready to advise you to walk away if turns out that the property you have chosen turns out not to be one that will work in your best interest.
Becoming a homeowner is an exciting life step, and one you should prepare for. Making an oversight anywhere in the buying process could cost you more than a new car. While most homes have a listing agent (Dual Agent) that will help you through the home buying process, their first priority is the home seller. To make sure that your interests are protected, hire a buyer’s agent to represent you.
Protecting yourself against any unseen problems with your future home and to make sure you get the best deal on the best house is top priority for the buyer’s agent you hire. Interview a couple of them and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t make the mistake of entering into a contract without a professional to guide you through the nuances.
Contact us to learn how we can be your personal guide or reach out and we’ll match you with a top agent in your neighborhood (Nationally and Internationally). Cell: 714-698-9655 or email Noemic@sevengables.com
This material has been compiled from many different online sources.
If you as a Realtor are behaving like a lender, I hope you have a great lawyer.
Why, Thomas? I know several Realtors that are also Lenders, and they're terrific ... including me.