Buying a home is probably the most important purchase you will ever make. Do you want to handle it alone? Until a few years ago, home buyers had no choice. They decided upon a home to buy and negotiated the contract without representation.
Traditionally, all residential real estate agents represented the home seller. This was true of the “listing agent” who put the home up for sale, as well as the agent who found the buyer. The agent, who helped the buyer find the right home, actually worked for the seller as a “subagent” of the listing agent. Under that traditional system, all agents were legally bound to represent the seller, and the buyer had no representation.
Now Buyers Have A Choice
Buyers no longer need to represent themselves during the home search and purchase. Smart home buyers today can receive undivided confidential representation by choosing a “buyer’s agent.” In fact, 71% of home buyers surveyed in a recent Gallup Poll for the National Association of Realtors said they would use a buyer’s agent next time they purchased. At last, you don’t have to buy a home alone. Now you, like the seller, can have someone on your side looking after your best interests.
What will a Buyer’s agent cost me?
Perhaps the right question is, “What will it cost me if I don’t use a buyer’s agent?” Purchasing a home without representation is possibly the biggest financial mistake you can make.
A buyer’s agent can guide you each step of the way to prevent costly errors. Failure to find out about defects in the property or the actual value of the property can certainly be an expensive mistake. Failure to negotiate a contract that works for you can cost you money as well as time. With a buyer’s agent, you can ask for and receive advice and assistance in selecting the best property and determining an offering price.
Who pay’s the buyer’s Agent fees?
Surveys show in most instances buyer’s agents are paid like seller’s subagents; that is, buyer’s agents generally receive a share of the sales commission built into the list price. All listings in MLS will indicate how a commission will be paid.
However, there are other ways buyer’s agents may be paid. Be sure you understand from the start how the buyer’s agent will be paid before you commit to a relationship.
Remember, the question you really need to ask yourself is: “Can I afford to buy a home without a buyer’s agent?” For most home buyers today, the answer is “NO”!
How can a Buyer’s agent help me?
Buyer’s agents owe certain duties to their home buyers, such as care, confidentiality, full disclosure and accurate accounting. State laws define these responsibilities, the REALTORS Code of Ethics, general principles of agency and court decisions. That’s the legal definition. But what does a buyer’s agent actually do for the homebuyer? Like other agents, a buyer’s agent will show the buyer available homes, point out the property’s features, provide financing information and submit the offer to purchase. But that’s not all. As your representative, a buyer’s agent will share valuable and essential information with you if the agent knows it such as:
- The seller’s reason for selling and timetable;
- Length of time the home has been on the market;
- Previous offers and counter offers for the property;
- Strengths and weaknesses of the property;
- Determining an offer price based on past comparable sales; Locating suitable property not currently on the market.
You owe it to yourself to be the most knowledgeable buyer you can be. Most important for many buyers, you can ask a buyer’s agent for advice and assistance in setting your offering price and structuring the other terms of your offer. What’s more, you’ll have peace of mind knowing an advocate is working on your behalf to help you buy at the best possible terms. A buyer’s agent’s goal is to help you buy the home you want – and buy it at the right price.
Can a Seller’s agent or subagent help me?
Without a buyer’s agent, you’re really on your own. Keep in mind, the seller’s agent or subagent is actually working for the seller and is the seller’s legal representative. Yes, a seller’s agent or subagent can offer buyers some services, including a diligent search to find the right home, an explanation of available financing, calculation of monthly payments, estimation of settlement costs, and presentation of your offer to buy.
What a seller’s agent cannot do is disclose information not in the best interest of the seller, such as an opinion of the home’s real value or what price and terms the seller would accept. By law, the seller’s agent or subagent must negotiate on behalf of the seller and may not withhold from the seller information that could strengthen their bargaining position. That means you, as a buyer, should be careful not to disclose to the seller’s agent or subagent any financial or personal information that could be used against you.
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