For years, many homebuyers have used a Realtor to show them available properties, prepare offers, and help nail down a purchase agreement. But Realtors typically are paid by the seller, and so clearly have an interest in making a sale. They also have less incentive to point out possible flaws in a property or its location. It’s not surprising, then, that a 1983 survey by the Federal Trade Commission indicated that 72% of homebuyers thought the agent showing them the house represented them. But that wasn’t necessarily the case.
To clear up possible confusion and conflict, a number of states passed laws requiring, among other things, disclosure of the duties of agents involved in a real-estate transaction. The changes also prompted home purchasers to increasingly use a “buyer’s agent”, a real-estate salesperson who exclusively represents the buyer.
Top 10 reasons why you should hire a buyer’s agent:
10: You hire an advocate for you. Transactions are more complex than ever, and delineating a clear relationship with your agent, prior to embarking on your home search, will ameliorate some of the stress that goes along with home purchases.
9: When you hire an experienced buyer’s agent before you look for a home, you’ll be served, not sold. Your interests become their interests. A buyer broker contract sets guidelines of the type and price of property you want to see, and your agent must show you all properties that meet your specific guidelines.
8: You’ll receive introductions to reliable mortgage lenders, home inspectors, escrow and title officers, settlement attorneys etc. The number of service providers has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, due in large part to the boom in the real estate market. Your agent will help you wade through that minefield to select the top providers for your transaction.
7: Your agent will assist you and your mortgage broker or lender in clearing up any credit problems, before you begin to bid on a property, thereby increasing the likelihood of favorable financing for your purchase. This can result in savings of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, and may even make the difference in getting your dream home, or not.
6. Your agent will help you determine value from a buyer’s, not seller’s, point of view. Let’s face it; the sellers (and their agent) set the price of the home. Your agent will provide you with a comparative market analysis (a sort of market appraisal) of the home you want to purchase. In addition, they can counsel you about what a fair offer price should be, with your interests in mind.
5. Your agent will preview and select the properties that most suit your needs. While it’s sometimes fun to look at open houses, when it comes to the serious business of home purchasing, you want an agent who is intimately informed about your wants and needs to scout out the best of the best, and direct you to it. After all, your time, and your family’s time, is precious.
4. The agent will apply more of their time and resources to you. This buyer-broker relationship tells the agent that the buyer is serious about buying, and serious about using the agent to assist in the transaction. It indicates to both parties that that buyer has hired the agent, and that the agent has a responsibility to that person to serve his/her best interests. Once the agreement is in place, the agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the buyer to roll out full service and invest time, money, and effort into meeting that persons needs and wants.
3: This is one of the most complex times for a buyer in the last 25 years. There is more information available to the buyer than ever before, and less and less true experts to interpret that information. The financial landscape, along with loans, interest rates, and home values, changes daily. You need a trusted advisor who spends all day, every day, watching out for your needs, and for opportunities, on your behalf.
2: Unlike any other time in my 32 year career, this market is made up of a large percentage of “For Sale by Owner”, REO, short sale, and foreclosure properties, which make for difficult and complex transactions. In addition, in some market areas, pocket listings (those not in the Multiple Listing Service or advertised on the web or newspaper) and private sales make up as much as 30% of the market. How will you find out about those properties? You need an exclusive Buyer’s Agent to tell you about them. (Read more in my blog post, Why you Should Care About Pocket Listings.)
1: This is, more than likely, the single largest financial investment you, and your family, will make. Don’t you deserve a partner in confidence, a trusted agent who will assist, educate, search, consult , advise, disclose to and protect you?
Before signing a contract, prospective homebuyers should interview several agents and check their references with current and past clients. Find out how they do business, who works on their team, and what services they will guarantee to you. In addition, take the time to make sure your agent is well connected to a network of agents that has information on private sales and pocket listings. Find out if they use the most current technologies to serve you. The go out with your partner agent and find that home.