What is a Buyer's Advocate?
The real estate market is ever-changing, and many people want to know answers to questions they have before they even think to ask. One of the most common questions people ask about the real estate market is, “What does a buyer’s advocate do?” A buyer's agent vs real estate agent is not always something people recognize, but it’s not uncommon. A buyer’s advocate is someone who works for the buyer. This is a real estate professional who searches, evaluates, and negotiates the price of a home for the buyer. They don’t work in the sales industry. People want to know how to find a good buyer's agent.
Why use a buyer's agent? It’s beneficial to buyers because they want someone on their side. This is a good way to ensure the agent working for them is only working for them and not working on finding a commission from a sale and a purchase. The buyer’s advocate or agent works only with the buyer and has no relationship whatsoever with the seller of a home. There is no time in their career path in which they work with people selling homes unless someone happens to be selling a home and looking for a new one at the same time. This only means the buyer’s agent is working with them on the purchase of their new home with no interest in the sale of their current home.
Why Hire a Buyer’s Agent?
1. You pay nothing.
“How much does a buyer's agent cost?” is another common question people ask about hiring one, and the answer is simple. It costs nothing for a buyer to hire an agent to help with the purchase of a new home. The seller is the one who pays all fees associated with the hiring of a buyer’s agent. Why not hire someone you don’t have to pay to do all the work for you?
2. Knowledge is power.
A buyer’s agent knows the real estate market, what to look for, and how to negotiate the best deal. If you’re not familiar with the world of real estate, you might not know what to do or where to find answers to your questions. The agent you hire knows these things and provides a valuable resource for you in the market.
3. They help with financing.
A buyer’s agent doesn’t help you get financed, but they can help you find it. If you want to buy a home without a down payment, with a special form of financing, or anything else you need, they know where to look and what to suggest. They have options for people who don’t even think they can afford to buy a home. Their ability to help with financing is second to none in the real estate market.
4. They’re practical.
When it comes to hiring a buyer’s agent, the main reason to choose one to work with is practicality. You might find a home and fall right in love with it, but it’s your agent who sees the practical side of things. He or she is the one who points out the home is too far out of budget, that it’s not in a good neighborhood, that it needs a lot of repairs, or that the price of the HOA fee is way too high for you to afford. You are going to make more informed decisions with someone like this on your side when you let emotion cloud your better judgement.
5. They have more contacts.
A buyer’s agent has the ability to work with local agents to receive information regarding homes that aren’t even on the market yet. This gives you a competitive edge if the perfect home is going to hit the market in a few days. You get to see it first when your agent presents it to you, which means you have a better chance of getting what you want before someone else has time to snap it up.
How to Find a Good Buyer’s Agent
1. Ask if the agent accepts sales listings.
If the agent says they do, they are not a buyer’s agent. They are a real estate agent. A buyer’s advocate qualifications promise the advocate Is working only for you and that they are there to help only with property advisory issues you have and not with a seller.
2. Ask about buyer's advocate qualifications.
Before you get into the property advisory part of the job with a buyer’s agent, ask them what credentials and qualifications they have. The best way to find a good buyer’s agent is to ask for their history, their time on the job, and a list of their qualifications. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with working with a new agent, you probably want one with a bit more experience.
3. Ask for references.
A good buyer’s agent will have a handy list of people they’ve worked with in the past happy to vouch for them. Don’t just ask for the list, though. Use it to call people and talk to them. They might have a bit more insight into the situation than you realize, and this information is very helpful when you hire an agent.
4. Ask what other jobs they might have.
You want a buyer’s agent who works no other jobs. There is nothing wrong with people who moonlight, but you need and want the full attention of the person working for you. This person needs to be available when you need them, and working another job really does limit their time and availability to work with you.
5. Ask about area familiarity.
The last question you want to ask when it comes to finding a really good buyer’s agent is how familiar the person is with the area. You want someone who is familiar with area rules, financing information, laws, and specific neighborhoods. After all, finding a perfect house requires someone who knows where to look. Hiring an inexperienced agent in the area can result in finding a home in a neighborhood that doesn’t hold its value well, one that’s in a bad neighborhood, or even one that doesn’t fit your family’s needs. You deserve someone who is working for you and doing the very best job they can.