Real Estate Buyers Beware: Get Representation…You Need Representation

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Traditions

It is the buyer’s right to seek an agent, and it is in their best interest to do so.

For Sale by Owner

When a potential buyer sees a For Sale by Owner property he or she should contact their realtor before contacting the For Sale by Owner. And when the buyer makes an offer on the For Sale by Owner Property he or she needs representation on the sale. The buyer always needs representation for many reasons.

Home Inspections

Most buyers do not know to ask for home inspections, what they cost, or who to call to do one. If there is work to be done on an inspection report, a buyer should negotiate, and a REALTOR has skill and experience at this.

New Home Sites

New home site buyers need to hire a REALTOR to look out for their interests, too. Remember, the site agent is there to protect the builder’s interest and therefore everything will be geared towards what benefits the builder, not the buyer. When registering at a new home site, be sure to include your agent’s phone number, name, and company.

Dual Agency: The Listing Agency

When a REALTOR chooses to represent the seller AND the buyer, this is considered dual agency. A buyer’s rights are not emphasized in these circumstances. Bringing a REALTOR onto the buyer’s side equalizes the sale, and gives the buyer much needed experience and professional advice.

Earnest Money Deposit

When the buyer makes an offer on a For Sale by Owner – who makes the Earnest Money deposit? How does a buyer obtain the deposit back if the contract falls through? A REALTOR will place the money in an escrow account.

Buyer’s Broker Agreement

A buyer’s broker protects the buyer’s interest in the transaction. In Virginia, the seller pays the commission, so by law the listing agent and the selling agent have to protect the seller’s interest. So, if you select a buyer’s broker to work with you on the home purchase, you will be represented in the sale.

Cost Analysis

In order to prevent overpaying for a home, a REALTOR will do a cost analysis for a buyer, to determine if the home is priced correctly. This is the same kind of analysis an appraiser would do, using comparable sales which have closed in the last three months in the area.

Escalation Clauses

Escalation clauses are applicable in markets where there is very little inventory and it is a fast selling market. The escalation clause will give you a competitive edge in procuring the home that you want when multiple offers are presented on a property. An escalation clause is not a standard feature on contractual sales.

Home Owners Association

The buyer needs to know the time frame for the Home Owners Association (HOA) packet. A buyer may be caught in buying into an HOA with high hidden fees if the time frame is missed when he or she can exercise their right to void the contract. This will vary from state to state.

Disclosures & Disclaimers

If there has been any structural damage to the home or adverse environmental problems with the home they must be disclosed. An example of this would be asbestos wrapped pipes. If not, then a disclaimer will accompany contract. Laws on disclosure/disclaimer vary from state to state.

Well and Septic

In rural areas, where well and septic are used instead of city water, they are applicable as conditions of the contract. There are time frames for these inspections also, which vary from state to state.

Termite and Moisture

Clean termite and moister letters vary from state to state and from the time frame that needs to be adhered to in the contract. The majority of lenders require a clean termite and moister letter prior to closing. The REALTOR in your area would know these timelines.


If you are moving into an unfamiliar geographic location, ask your real estate agent if he or she can refer you to an agent in the area you are moving to. A REALTOR obtained through referral will help in relocating and purchasing your new home.

Select an Agent Carefully

Each For Sale by Owner buyer needs to interview a REALTOR and select one who is comfortable approaching For Sale by Owners and working with them. Do not let For Sale by Owners or new home site agents dissuade you from using an agent. He or she may say that you will pay less for the home purchase. In reality, a REALTOR’s professional advice may save you from taking a property that could become a nightmare, or help uncover a hidden jewel. Remember, if you’re searching for a home you still need a realtor, to look out for your end of the sale. Get representation on your side.


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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

What a great post, Elaine. And all I can say is amen to that! I always tell prospective buyers that the seller has representation, why shouldn't they.

Aug 22, 2019 07:19 AM #1
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Elaine VonCannon

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