Tip for buyers – Buyer’s Agent
You are excited about looking for a new home! You just received your pre-approval from your mortgage professional. Your price maximum is defined, you know what kind of mortgage you have and how much you must put down, and you’ve started looking online at homes that fit your criteria. There are some beautiful homes out there and you can’t wait to check them out! But before you start house shopping, there’s one more thing you should do.
You should hire a buyer’s agent. Selecting a real estate agent who represents you is a very important part of the home buying process. Some buyers do not want a buyer’s agent while they are looking for homes. Perhaps they feel an agent might be pushy, or ask too many questions, or be unnecessary. Perhaps they feel they might get a better deal if they work with the listing agent directly. But here’s why selecting an agent to support you is not a step you should skip!
Using the listing agent
You certainly could contact the listing agents for all the homes you want to see. Let’s say there are ten of them. You could call all ten agents, wait for them to respond, and then set up an appointment to see each of the ten homes. As you can tell, this would be an administrative nightmare, trying to remember which agent was responsible for which house. You’d also be at the mercy of their schedules, not yours. You’d have to figure out who the agent WAS because that’s not always clear. When you click on a listing on any home site, you often just get the next agent in line and not necessarily the listing agent. So trying to contact listing agents would be difficult.
But much more importantly, the listing agents work for the sellers, not for you. Their client is the owner of the home, and anything you might say while reviewing the house will be shared with the seller. So let’s say you love it and say “Oh My, I would even be willing to pay more than they’re asking!!!” Well, now that’s exactly what you’ll have to do, because the sellers will know what you said. Also, the listing agent won’t be able to give you any advice, such as what a good price for the home actually is, or what you should add as a contingency, or who the good inspectors are, or…. There are many things they can’t do for you because you are not their client.
Also, contrary to what some buyers think, you will not get a better deal if you use the listing agent. In fact, you may often pay more because the agents won’t be negotiating on your behalf. They will be negotiating on their client’s behalf. And the price won’t be less because there is no buyer agent to pay. The seller typically pays the same commission regardless of how many agents there are, so financially, there is no benefit to using a listing agent to buy a home.
So what does a buyer agent do?
A buyer agent works for you and with you. They represent your interests. They can advise you in all aspects of the home buying process and help you with market analysis, the inspection process and appraisal report. They will negotiate the purchase of the home at a price and terms that are acceptable to you. They will disclose whatever they know to you, keep everything you tell them confidential, follow your instructions, set up appointments, arrange showings at a time that is convenient to you, investigate new listings and more. Basically, the buyer agent is your teammate in the purchase of your home, and has your back in all respects.
What does the buyer agent cost?
Typically, the buyer agent’s commission comes from the seller. The seller agrees when they sell their house to provide a certain amount of commission to the buyer’s agent. So in most cases, there will be no fee to the buyer. There could be some instances though where the seller does not want to pay commission (for example perhaps a For Sale By Owner seller). In those cases, you may need to take care of your agent’s commission directly but that is something you will know before making an offer on any home. Usually, there is no expense for a buyer to use a buyer’s agent. Free expertise! What could be better than that?
How do I find a buyer agent?
Many buyers just use the first person who calls them back when they request information from a home. That doesn’t mean they are getting an excellent agent. Buyers who don’t already have a specific agent they are working with, should start by asking friends, family members or business peers for recommendations. Getting a referral to someone who did a great job already is your best bet. If no one knows someone who serves the area you are moving to, but you know a great local real estate agent, ask that agent if she or he has a referral in the area you are moving to. If that doesn’t work, you can contact your favorite brokerage and let them know what you are looking to do and ask for a recommendation. You should also do some online research for agents in the area you are moving to. Check out their reviews, profile, past sales, and websites.
Once you have a few names of agents, you should meet with them and select the one that will work best for you. Tell them what you are looking for, and see what they provide in terms of options. Ensure they are listening to your specific needs and will answer your questions. Are they willing to explain the entire process to you? Are they patient? Do they communicate kindly and clearly? Are they pleasant? Do they have any experience in working with buyers in the area? Once you have found the agent that “fits,” you are ready to get out there and start to look at homes!
After getting pre-approved, your most important task is to select a buyer’s agent who will help you navigate through the entire purchase process. They will work with you from the “let’s look at houses” stage, through the offer and negotiation process, inspection, contract, appraisal, walkthrough and closing process. They’ll be with you as a partner until you have the house keys in your hand, and even beyond.
If you are looking to purchase a home in Monroe NY, Orange or Rockland counties and you need a buyer agent, feel free to call me at 914-419-0270 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other buyer-related blogs, click here.