As a buyer, you are looking for someone to help you find the right home, give you the best advice on the value of homes, and help you navigate the intricacies of the buying process. Having a good buyer’s agent on your side could be the key to finding the right home at the right price.
But what’s the difference between a regular listing agent and a buyer’s agent? The issue with typical real estate agents is they’re not necessarily required to work in your best interest. Being commissioned salespeople, their pay flows from the deal. With a buyer’s agent, they’ll soley represent your side of the transaction fairly.
This isn’t to say that working with a listing agent is a bad thing. In fact, that’s how many people find their home. But in some instances, agents who represent both buyers and sellers may end up on both ends of the transaction. Representing both buyer and seller makes them a dual agent. In this situation, it’s hard for that agent to fully represent the interests of either party.
Some agents prefer to only represent the buyer’s side of the transaction, they are known as buyer’s agents. And the NAR (National Association of Realtors) has a specific course of study for people who want to earn the Accredited Buyer’s Representation designation. First-time home buyers especially might want to consider a buyer’s agent to represent them, since they have advanced education and may be more up to speed on loan programs gear toward first-time buyers.
Buying a home is a lengthy process. Regardless of whether you’re purchasing a house or a condo, you will be spending countless hours with your real estate agent. If you and your agent don’t see eye to eye or don’t get along, you’re going to have a rough time. Look at their social media accounts and online presence to get a feel for their personality. Or have a brief face-to-face meeting with them to have some of your questions answered and see if it’s the right fit.
When it comes to negotiations, you want your agent to take an approach that you’re comfortable with. The best agents can adapt their style to meet your wishes. This is important when you consider the levels of stress you will encounter during the purchasing process. Negotiations included everything from the price and closing costs, to repairs and appliances/furniture. You want an agent who is going to negotiate the best deal for you without stepping over any lines with the seller.
The agent you choose should be able to demonstrate competency within the market and niche you’re focused on. For example, if you are a first-time home-buyer searching in a specific area, your agent should be well-versed in market trends and activity for that specific area. And they should be able to walk you through each step of the transaction. This is very different from the skills you’d be looking for in an agent to advise you on your investment.
Agents, lenders, escrow/title companies, and inspectors are all on the list of industry professionals involved in most real estate deals. Most people don’t have these connections all on their own. That’s where your real estate agent steps in. A quality agent should not only have these connections, but should have options for you to choose from. And their connections should be just as knowledgeable as they are.
The real estate industry is full of jargon, nuances, and intricacies that aren’t intuitive to the average person. Therefore, it is up to your agent to be able to effectively explain and guide you through those obstacles in a way you understand and that resonates with you. Otherwise, you could wind up unknowingly making a bad decision.