SELECT A REAL ESTATE AGENT
Once you’re serious about buying a home, find a real estate agent. While cruising Open Houses may be a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, it is an incredibly inefficient method of finding the right home for you. A real estate agent has access to nearly all the homes for sale and can sort through all the data to find what you’re looking for. And, in most cases, our services are FREE to buyers (we’re paid by the listing agent for helping sell the home).
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT FOR YOU
In our area, there are thousands of real estate agents, so the choice is truly yours. Referrals from friends are a great way to find an agent; probably one of the best. Open houses are also good places to informally interview real estate agents. It’s important that you have a good rapport with your agent, so make sure you can envision spending time with this person. (House hunting can be a very emotional experience!). The real estate agent you choose should be enthusiastic about working with you, and should be familiar with the neighborhoods you are interested in.
WHAT IS A BUYER AGENT?
A Buyer Agent is formally “hired” by a buyer to help the buyer find a home, negotiate a contract for it and get the transaction to closing. This involves more than just driving around on a Saturday afternoon looking at homes.
A Buyer Agent contractually agrees to be an advocate for the buyer, to advise, to disclose all material information related to the property, to be reasonably available to the client to show homes and handle other matters, to disclose any confidential information learned about the seller or property and to keep ANY information shared by their client confidential (with a few exceptions).
SHOULD YOU HIRE A BUYER AGENT?
I strongly recommend that you NOT sign an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement when you first meet an agent. I never ask a new client to commit to me until they are comfortable that I am knowledgeable and responsive, and that we have a good rapport. Be aware that some agents will not work with you at all unless you sign the contract up front.
Once you have established that you and the agent work together well, it is usually a good idea to sign an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement.
Because house hunting and home buying is hard work, and it’s just common sense that your real estate agent will make a stronger commitment to you if you have made a commitment to him or her.
HOW ARE BUYER AGENTS PAID?
Many first time buyers are surprised to learn that BUYER AGENT SERVICES ARE FREE TO THEM! In nearly all cases, the agent for the buyer is paid by the listing broker of the home you purchase. The listing broker negotiates a fee to be paid out of the proceeds of the sale. If the listing broker sells the home to a buyer he finds himself, he is paid the entire fee. If another agent finds the buyer, that agent is paid a percentage of the above fee; typically close to half. Both agents split their share of the fee with their employing brokers to pay expenses such as support staff, office space, supplies, lights, etc...
Just so you know, real estate agents are self-employed. We do not have company cars, expense accounts, salaries or draws. Our only income is the fee we receive when a home sells.