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The value of a buyer's agent? Buying a house is so easy!

By
Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 MD594797

If you follow the thought process of some journalists (I use this term loosely here) and keyboard warriors, then buying a house is super easy. After all, all the information is online (they claim). You can just log on to your Real Estate website of choice, plug in your criteria, look through the smorgasbord of offerings, marvel at beautifully presented properties (or dismiss the ones that showcase the open toilet and cluttered counters), maybe chat with a bot, head to an open house, ask the listing agent to write up the offer docs and buy the house. It's so simple! But is it?

After 20 years as a full-time REALTOR® in Silver Spring, MD, and beyond, I can confidently and knowingly say that this is just not how it works in real life.

Reality is:

Buying a home is a process that can take months and many home tours. It can involve fierce competition, multiple offers, disappointment, intense negotiations, sellers who ignore the repairs they previously agreed to, or problems with the house/the appraisal/the title/the HOA or condo/the neighbor's fence... until you finally arrive at the closing table. 

As gorgeous as many homes look virtually, they don't often look quite like it in person. The pictures don't show the broken seal on a window, the caulking that is growing mold, the cracked tile, the scuff marks all over the walls, the ancient HVAC, the clogged gutter, or the unkempt yard next door. As I always say, floors don't creak in pictures. You have to tour the house to get a true picture, and you should tour it with your buyer's agent. 

The listing agent has a fiduciary duty to their client, the seller. It is their job to get the highest and best offer for their home. They may tell you all about what makes this home so special, but they are not likely to point out its flaws. While they do have a legal obligation to disclose any latent defects (anything that is not readily observable), they won't draw your attention to any deficiencies or red flags as a buyer's agent would. 

Once you've found the house that looks as good in person as it does virtually and/or you can work with its flaws, you may still need to beat any competition while achieving a balance between being competitive and not overextending yourself. A good buyer's agent will guide you doing just that, and then facilitate the transaction, watch out for your best interests, and navigate any contract hurdles that - more often than not - may pop up.

A listing agent can assist you with filling out offer documents and facilitating the transaction but that's where it ends. A listing agent cannot advise what price to offer or which contingencies to include, nor can they negotiate on your behalf. It's up to you to figure it out. Or, you pore over the comps with your buyer's agent, review the seller disclosures together, discuss offer strategies, decide on your best and final, dealbreakers, and compromises, and submit your best offer knowing that your buyer's agent made sure to cross all the Ts and present not only your best but a well written one

A buyer's agent works for you and their next paychecks. Yes, I said that because that is how we make a living and pay our bills. But, contrary to opinion pieces that flood the news and social media, we don't stir you towards the homes that offer the highest buyer agent commission, but zone in on the ones that meet your criteria and budget. A good buyer's agent will point out all the red flags to you and do their research so you can make an informed decision. They may even talk you out of a house or assist you with declaring a contract null and void if it's in your best interest to do so... and start the process all over. 

You see, only a happy buyer will write stellar reviews, refer us to others, and become a repeat client. We have nothing to gain from persuading you to buy a house that doesn't work for you, but we have everything to lose. Real Estate is a relationship business. We can't thrive in this industry when we do not represent our clients well. 

The value of a buyer's agent? We make buying a house look easy and/or make it easier for you!

We make sure you are well prepared before beginning the hunt for your new home, we research available options and comps, schedule home tours (with varying availability on the appointment books this can be a difficult task in itself), highlight the good and point out deficiencies, review disclosures, public records, additional addenda, and closing statements, discuss offer strategies, compile all required documents, negotiate, facilitate, navigate contract hurdles, get creative and exhaust all options to save a transaction (provided that is what you want), track all deadlines, communicate and update, collaborate with your loan officer, inspectors, and the title company, and we always watch out for your best interests... until you finally arrive at the closing table. 

Home Buyer Timeline

This post details how I operate as a buyer's agent, but not all have the same work ethic, knowledge, experience, broker support, patience, and tenacity to see you succeed. Before you sign a representation agreement, you should ask your potential agent qualifying questions.

Although a signed buyer agency agreement has been a requirement in the State of Maryland since 2016, the recent NAR settlement makes it against the law to show any home without one in place (come August 2024). Settlement or not, it's been my business practice to define needs and wants, educate you about the process, set expectations, and establish an agency relationship before we set out on your house hunt.  

The value of a buyer's agent..
more than opening a few doors. 

Posted by

Andrea Bedard
Thompson Co., REALTORS®

Silver Spring, Maryland
andreabedard.com

Fluent in Real Estate and German.
Old house lover.
Accredited Buyer's Agent.
Certified International
Property Specialist.
REALTOR® on the Run.

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Comments(31)

Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

And understand the majority of agents do not charge a fee if a property is not purchased. That may change in the future as part of the employment agreement.

May 20, 2024 07:11 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Andrea Bedard What a wonderful entry to this month's challenge specializing in buyer's agency. I started in an appraisal office back in 1984 so making sure property was worth what a buyer was paying for a property is always important. My broker's words, who was an appraiser, always echo in my head: a property is only worth what a person is willing to pay for it! 

May 20, 2024 10:17 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Andrea:

You've done an admirable job in outlining all the reasons buyers should have a buyer agent on their side, and the value of doing so. You're right - when you look online it all sounds so easy but that is certainly not the case.

Jeff

May 20, 2024 10:53 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good information to share with home buyers and home sellers.

Have a productive spring.

May 21, 2024 08:32 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Excellent post!  LOVE how you've detailed your services to expertly explain how you work and how WELL you work for your buyers.  With the understanding, it's easy to see how you will and have earned repeated business.  You go girl! 

 

18 states so far have passed laws making it illegal not to have a Buyer Broker in place before showing homes.  Arizon has a pending Senate bill to join the ranks.  We'll sign the Agency Agreement as well as a Buyer Broker Agreement stipulated commission that a buyer agrees to pay should a seller not offer compensation in the form of conecessions.  I'm eady!

May 21, 2024 08:42 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The RIGHT CHARLOTTE REALTOR!

Hi Andrea! Fantastic entry and I love reading your posts - we always seem to be on the same page. I'm with you on the journalists - I call them opinionists. Are there really any true journalists left in this country?

Thank you for participating in our challenge this month. You certainly nailed a buyer agent's job on the head. 

May 22, 2024 10:11 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

There’s some good advice here and some equally good potential for somebody up there. Good luck

May 22, 2024 11:11 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Andrea,

Great call to action post to represent buyers! Your post is full of excellent information and shows clearly what your role looks like when representing a buyer. It really shows why so many clients want to work with you over and over again!

May 23, 2024 03:48 AM
Pete Cullen ~ Broker Associate, GRI,CRS
Bailey Properties, Inc. - Santa Cruz, CA
Serving The Entire Monterey Bay Area

Great post and super relevant given all the media hype and misinformation circulating on social media.  Now more than ever our clients need a trusted professional to help guide them through the increasingly complex process of home buying.  Thank you!

May 23, 2024 06:54 AM
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
35 Years of Real Estate Experience!

I try to explain everything that could go wrong and people always think 'that could never happen to me'. I tell them that some transactions easily could have over 700 emails in their folder by closing. Some just don't get it.

Great post!

May 23, 2024 10:53 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
May 24, 2024 02:47 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Andrea,

The lawsuits out there enriching a bunch of lawyers have baffled me as much as you. I was wondering who the agents are who do those things. Not anyone I know. If you want to stay in business, who have to work like you do. Do the best job you can for your clients, so they recommend you down the road. Plus, all that data that the Silicon Valley companies rely on to make decisions without agents, was put there by agents. If you make them go away, we will be joining the rest of the world again with long market times and difficult transactions or worse, harmed consumers.

May 24, 2024 07:29 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

You have set forth your value presentation in a manner few will  match. Yes! A buyer does need their own advocate, tutor, guide...agent. 

May 24, 2024 08:44 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

The recent disclosure confused the public think they will pay to buyer agent. In the mean time seller needs to make up their mind how it is to be split should 2 agents are involved.

May 24, 2024 02:09 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Andrea, when one of those lawyers at DOJ decide it's time to buy a house they just may learn the hard way - what could possibly go wrong? 

May 25, 2024 01:40 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Excellent post Andrea Bedard .   People think it’s so easy to buy a house.  It’s not.  There is so much more to it.  Your post explains just that.

May 26, 2024 01:31 AM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

It’s possible in the not so distant future that AI may guide a buyer in a transaction

May 26, 2024 04:15 AM
Andrea Bedard

While I believe, AI can offer assistance, it cannot replace an experienced and dedicated buyer's agent. AI can't open doors, AI won't be able to point out flaws or suggest how something can easily be changed to accommodate a buyer's wishes, AI can't smell the funky odor in the basement because AI is not there to see it... and these are just a few examples. There are so many nuances, so many twists and turns that require interpersonal skills. I get annoyed when I have to talk to a "bot" vs. a real person. Not once has it been able to solve my problem or satisfactorily answer my question. I prefer interacting with people, and I know I am not the only one. 

May 26, 2024 06:07 AM
Thomas Santore Lic Associate Real Estate Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty/Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT - Yorktown Heights, NY
Realtor®-ABR-Land, Residential & Commercial Sa

i have been doing this 26 years and have never done dual agency and I sell 56% of my own listings but have no had any complaints.

Tom S

May 26, 2024 03:32 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Congratulations on a well-deserved featured post for May's challenge.  Knowing you and how you work, you have no competition that comes close to what you offer your lucky clients! Way to go Andrea Bedard 

May 27, 2024 07:09 PM
Andrea Bedard

Thank you for your kind words, Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400!

May 28, 2024 10:47 AM
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent

Great post!

 

Jun 09, 2024 02:56 PM