The Ins and Outs of Using a Buyer’s Agent
Why should I get a buyer’s agent involved?
Whether you’re looking for your first home or your tenth, the decision to purchase is a big one—sometimes the biggest one of your life. It used to be that when you purchased a home, you always dealt with the listing agent—who’s priority is the seller’s best interests. However, working with a dedicated buyer’s agent is a smart idea in today’s world for several reasons:
- Looks out for your interest — A buyer’s agent looks out for your best interests, not the seller’s.
- Provides local knowledge of the market — Realtors bring a deep knowledge of the local market, including pricing structure, inside knowledge of real estate trends, local neighborhoods and services.
- Provides access to the MLS — Realtors have access to MLS (Multiple Listing Service), with in-depth, up-to-date information on listings in the area. Your buyer’s agent can do a cost-market analysis of homes in your neighborhood to see if the listing you’re interested in is priced correctly. That’s not something many of the national home-finder websites can offer—and many NHFs list out-of-date information.
- Negotiates for you — A buyer’s agent negotiates your contract and can assist with all legalities and paperwork.
Will it Cost Me Money?
No. It’s going to SAVE you money. Having an advocate on your side who is keeping up with changes in regulations and requirements while drawing on wide-ranging, ongoing real-estate transaction experience is going to save you from the pitfalls and traps that can cost you many thousands of dollars to undo. Unless there are special arrangements, the buyer’s agent commission doesn’t cost you a dime. The buyer’s agent commission is normally paid by the seller and is split between the buying and selling agents, and it stays the same whether there are two agents involved or just the one listing agent.
What About New Construction?
This is where having a buyer’s agent is absolutely essential! It’s fun to visit new model homes—and often tempting to “stop by” new construction neighborhoods to check them out. However, homeowners who visit builder models without buyer agent representation often don’t realize that new construction sales agents represent the seller only.
Get a Buyer’s Agent Onboard Quickly. While most builders will work with a buyer’s agent, many require that your agent register you before and/or accompany you when you first visit a model home in order for them to be able to represent you in negotiating the sale (and be paid the realtor commission by the seller). Having a licensed Realtor who is experienced in new construction as your designated buyer’s agent can help you navigate an often-complicated process. They’ll register you with the builder, help you negotiate the best deal possible, and can catch things buyers often miss in contracts.
For Sale by Owner
Another situation where it’s beneficial to have Realtor representation is in For Sale by Owner (FSBO) situations. When you see an FSBO sign in front of a home that draws your interest, don’t contact the owner. The first thing you should do is pick up the phone and call your buyer’s agent. Why? Because it will ensure that a professional is protecting your interests, and it won’t cost you a dime.
Sellers often go the FSBO route to avoid paying a real estate commission. However, if you let your buyer’s agent make the first approach, many owners will agree to pay a buyer’s agent commission if it’s going to get them a qualified buyer, and your agent will do all the heavy lifting for you. They will view the home first with a practiced eye and let you know whether it’s a good value so you don’t waste your valuable time. They will write the offer, negotiate the contract, and coordinate with your chosen real estate attorney and/or lender—making sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed.
Research the Builder
Every builder is different, so it’s important to know the various builders in the area, their reputations and what they offer. Your Realtor can help you gather this information (and may have that knowledge from previous experience). It’s often best to visit several communities with your Realtor and speak to past buyers.
Are you looking to buy? … Are you looking to sell? … Let me help start you on your journey today. Give me a call at 443-553-3658 or send me an email so we can talk about your needs.