Buyer Agency and Buyer Representation

Buyer Representation

The most common question asked of a Buyer’s Representative by their future client is, “How much do you charge?” The answer is that the Buyer’s Agent is paid a commission by the Seller of the chosen property, on close of escrow. If you don’t successfully close a transaction, no compensation is provided.

Buying a home is no small matter. Besides being the largest financial transaction you may ever undertake, it’s probably also the most complex.

We represent buyers as Buyer’s Agents. We are not salespeople; instead we act as consultants, advisors and negotiators for our buyer clients. Our expertise and knowledge of the market allows us to provide unique, client level services while protecting the financial interests and personal needs of the buyer. Our sound professional advice helps you make intelligent decisions and maximize your purchasing power.

What A Buyer's Agent Will Do For You:

  • Help assess your financial situation and readiness to purchase a home.
  • Assist you in finding and working with mortgage lenders.
  • Discuss your “dream home” preferences, which include areas, room counts, size, styles, age, floor plans, and price
  • Search the entire local real estate market, including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), properties for sale by owners, short sales and foreclosures.
  • Provide information and factual demographics of areas you are interested in, including crime statistics and school district scores.
  • Provide an assessment of the pros and cons of each property, along with any special features or problems that you might not have noticed.
  • Prepare a market analysis to determine the property’s value, based on recent sales of similar homes in similar selling circumstances.
  • Explain the Purchase Agreement in great detail and prepare a Purchase Agreement for the property you are interested in.
  • Negotiate with the Seller’s Agent on your behalf and in your best interests, based on discussions you will have.
  • Provide assistance in hiring qualified professional inspectors, be present during the inspections with you to discuss the inspectors’ findings in detail.
  • Where appropriate, will notify the Seller or the Seller’s Agent in writing of inspectors’ findings and your choice of any options available to you.
  • Maintain contact with the Title Company and Mortgage Company to insure that your interests are being protected.
  • Review the Settlement Statement from escrow with you at or before closing.
  • Attend the closing at escrow and answer questions.

What buyers should know about compensation, loyalty and shared expectations.

Information provided by Real Estate Buyer’s Agency Council

Most real estate agents earn their living by representing buyers and sellers in property transactions. While commission rates and/or terms vary from one listed property to another, there’s no question about which agent and brokerage firm is representing sellers. The yard sign alone makes that clear.

However, problems can surface on the other side of the transaction if a buyer (intentionally or unwittingly) does things that lead two different agents to believe they are representing that buyer.

Examples include:

  • A buyer has been searching for homes with an agent’s help. On impulse, he attends an open house and starts talking to the hosting agent about what kind of home he is searching for, failing to mention that he is already working with another agent.
  • A couple, early in their home search, notice two different houses for sale with two different agents. They call each agent, asking to see the homes.

In each of these cases, a buyer has demonstrated purchasing interest with more than one real estate agent.  Depending on other details of the circumstances – and how your state defines the way agency relationships are formed – it is possible that a dispute could arise between agents regarding who should receive a commission if the buyer proceeds with a purchase.

This is one reason why it’s in everyone’s best interest, including yours, to shop for an agent before you shop for a home, and to formalize your relationship with a signed buyer representation agreement.  Buyers have nothing to lose, because you can expect a higher level of service, typically for no additional cost.

In return for providing these services and assisting you with various transaction details, buyer’s agents expect you to remain loyal to them, making it clear to any other agents that you are already being represented.  Agency relationships are based on mutual consent, so if your buyer’s representative isn’t living up to your expectations, you can cancel the agreement.

Most importantly, you should discuss expectations early on.  Each buyer’s agent has their own style and preferred way of working with clients.   And each agent has their own buyer’s representation agreement, outlining their obligations to you and what they expect in return.

There are also certain things buyer’s reps are not allowed to do for you, such as advise you on which neighborhoods are better than others in terms of schools, crime rates or population demographics.  Fair Housing Laws state they can only point you to sources of information, helping you make your own decisions on these and other matters.

Taking time to discuss shared expectations at the beginning of your relationship is the surest way to avoid misunderstandings and form a strong partnership – one that allows your buyer’s rep to serve you to their greatest ability and help you achieve the best possible result in your home purchase.

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