Until only about ten years ago, the general public (and even some real estate professionals) weren't aware of buyer representation. Most prospective buyers assumed that because an agent was showing them property, that agent represented them and their best interests. Not true.
Traditional real estate agents, by law, represent the seller. You might think, "Not my neighbor Susan–she's a licensed agent and has shown me property all over town. Surely she represents me." She doesn't. If she is licensed and upright in her dealings, she really represents all the many sellers of the homes you've looked at together. Law requires that she get the best price and terms possible for the seller.
Fortunately, things have changed. With the increasing diversity in home construction standards and property values, buyer representation has evolved to fill a growing need. Buyers, in many cases moving into a new area and distracted by the challenges of a new job, often need more help than a regular agent can give.
What is a buyers agent?
Buyer's agents set themselves apart from regular real estate agents by contracting in writing with the buyer to represent them exclusively. A buyer's agent clearly discloses to all potential sellers that she is a buyer's agent and represents only the buyers to whom she's contracted.
Many buyer's agents–like Monica Heckman/Buyers Only–go one step further by not listing homes for sale. That way there's never a conflict of interest, or even the appearance of a conflict. Buyers always know who's on their side.
What does a buyer's agent do?
Because Monica Heckman/Buyers Only doesn't list homes, we don't have
anything to sell you. What we will do is:
- Pre-qualify you so you'll know your price range
- Show you where and at what cost you can get a mortgage
- Educate you in the market by showing you all the homes in your interest area and budget, not just those in the Multiple Listing Service
- Point out the negative aspects of a particular home in addition to all the great features so you're always well-informed. (That's something a regular agent is hesitant to do because of their relationship with the seller).
Only now, when you're ready to make an informed purchasing decision, does your buyer's agent sit down with you to plan negotiating strategy.
What does it cost to use a buyer's agent?
Selling costs are normally built into the price of a home, so normally the seller pays all agent's fees. A reputable agent will discuss the cost aspect with you at your first meeting. Some expensive problems you can avoid by using a buyer's agent include:
- Buying too quickly because you're unfamiliar with local prices and market conditions. A quickly snatched "bargain" can ultimately turn into a painful experience.
- Paying too much for your home for lack of a competitive market analysis done from the buyer's perspective.
- Coming out on the short end on issues of possession, interim interest, and legal fees because the seller has an expert to counsel them and you don't.
What are your questions about buyer representation? Email us now, and we'll answer any questions you might have.