Can’t be, you never get anything worth having for free these days – right? Well, in the world of real estate, you actually can get something for free: the services of a real estate agent dedicated to you and only you for the amazing price of – FREE! How can that be, you ask???? The agents are called Buyer’s Agents and yes, they will provide their services to you, Mr. Home Buyer, for absolutely no cost to you. That’s right: no cost. So let’s talk a bit about who and what a Buyer’s Agent is.
A Buyer’s Agent can be any licensed real estate agent who represents you, the buyer. They are paid a portion of the real estate commission that the seller pays. So how do you get one of these free agents? Just ask any real estate agent if they want to represent you as a buyer. Keep in mind that some agents work exclusively as buyer’s agents. Most agents, however, are willing to represent either buyers or sellers. There’s yet another tricky category called ‘dual agents’ where one agent (or one brokerage company) represents both the seller and the buyer in a single transaction but that’s the subject for a separate post. For now it’s sufficient that you know that an agent working on your behalf would be your Buyer’s Agent.
So why would you even need a Buyer’s Agent?? Can’t you just go out and find a home on your own without an agent, especially with all of the resources that are now available on the internet? Can’t you also just visit open houses until you happen to find one you like? Can’t you just find a house you like and call the agent on the for sale sign out front? The answers are yes, yes, and yes. But there are still several very valid reasons for signing up with a Buyer’s Agent (and yes, they will ask you to sign a contract with them – more about that later).
Here are some of the reasons you should work with a Buyer’s Agent:
(1) They represent YOU. Their job is to negotiate the best deal possible for you. On the other hand, a seller’s agent is just that – they represent the seller, not you. Their job is to get the best deal possible for the seller, not you.
(2) They are usually very familiar with the area that they primarily work in. They know what the prices of homes should be, what amenities are available in the area, where the schools and churches are, where the shopping is, whether airplanes will keep you awake at night, what future plans are for the area (sometimes, not always) etc etc. An agent on a for sale sign could very well be from the other side of town and might know absolutely nothing about the area that you’re looking in.
(3) Working with a Buyer’s Agent allows that agent to learn exactly what you’re looking for. When you work with whatever agent happens to be at an open house or on a for sale sign, you’re constantly dealing with different agents. It’s far better to develop a rapport with a single agent who knows what you’re looking for. You’ll also likely develop a sense of trust for the agent when you work with them exclusively. That’s difficult to do when working with multiple agents.
(4) They’ll be happy to help you find homes that you might like then take you around to see them. You don’t have to wait to find an open house that might or might not be right for you. They won’t mind spending the time it takes to find you a house since they know that if you buy one, they’re going to get paid (that’s in the contract with them). When you work with multiple agents, they all know that only one of them is going to be paid when you eventually buy a house (if you ever do), therefore none of them have very much incentive to do a good job for you. Also, since you don’t have a contract with anyone, they all will feel that you’re not really a serious buyer in the first place.
(5) A Buyer’s Agent can help you with your purchase even if you’re buying a new construction home. Remember, the friendly agent in the model home works for the seller, not you. They have an obligation to get the best deal for the seller, not you. A Buyer’s Agent will represent you, will strive to get you the best deal, and will work to protect your interests.
(6) A Buyer’s Agent will save you time. You might think that you can find everything you need on Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, or any other of the many real estate websites. The fact is that agents have access to far more info than you do. Yes they do. They know when homes are sold pending an inspection or pending an appraisal, therefore you won’t waste your time trying to find out about homes that aren’t really even available. Also, many of them have info on homes that are coming on the market but aren’t even listed yet. You won’t find that on the internet.
(7) A Buyer’s Agent owes you fiduciary duties. That’s a fancy legal term for what the agent is contractually obligated to provide to you:
(a) Loyalty – the agent must act solely in the best interests of the principal (you)
(b) Confidentiality – the agent must protect the principal’s secrets
(c) Disclosure – the agent must disclose all material facts to the principal
(d) Obedience – the agent must obey all lawful instructions from the principal
(e) Reasonable skill and care – the agent must use care and diligence in representing the principal
(f) Accounting – the agent must account for all valuables held on behalf of the principal
So there you have it. With all the things that a Buyer’s Agent can and will do for you, why on earth would you not use one if you’re in the market for a house, especially since the cost to you is ZERO!
So if you’re a serious home buyer, get out there and find yourself a Buyer’s Agent, sign a Buyer’s Agreement with them, and let them get to work to find you that home of your dreams. And if you happen to be near the Minneapolis or Prior Lake area, I hope you’ll consider ME for your Buyer’s Agent. I love finding that perfect house for a buyer!
As usual, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I love to help.
- What is a Buyer’s Agent? (minnrealtors.wordpress.com)