If you have ever asked yourself, “Do I need a buyers agent to buy a house?” the answer is most certainly yes. Technically and legally speaking, you aren’t “required” to have a buyers agent to buy a home, but here’s why you should.
What is a buyers agent?
A buyers agent is a licensed real estate broker who represents the buyer in a real estate transaction. You may have heard this referred to as a “selling agent,” which should’t be confused with “seller’s agent” also known as the “listing agent”. A buyers agent will act on your behalf to negotiate a Purchase and Sale Agreement with the seller’s listing agent. Having an agent represent you when purchasing a home will help protect your interests.
Why should I have one?
This question is often asked because of the fear of additional or unknown cost. However, a buyer entering into a transaction without representation is the party with a lesser advantage. You will want an agent in your corner to handle the contracts, negotiation and more. It is to your benefit to have an experienced broker representing you and your interests.
What will it cost?
Historically it was common for both the listing and selling agents commissions to be paid by the seller. Those agent commissions were almost always based on a percentage of the sales price. However, new rules went into effect on October 1, 2019 which may change the way buyers agents get paid. This is a very important conversation to have with the real estate agent you select to represent you. For most, this is the largest purchase they will ever make. Certainly not something you want to enter into without representation.
What will a buyers agent do for me?
The short answer is: A LOT! But let’s go with a list:
- Work with you to determine exactly what you can afford based upon your mortgage pre-approval.
- Work with you to decide what you are looking for in a home and prioritize those features.
- Help you narrow down the city, town and neighborhood you want to live in.
- Search for homes that fit within your parameters and take you to see them. (you can’t get into a home without an agent unless it’s an open house)
- Counsel you on what kind of offer you should make, and draft and submit that offer.
- Act quickly on your behalf to submit an offer on your desired property in the current market climate.
- Negotiate the details on your behalf, with your best interest in mind, to achieve mutual acceptance of your offer.
So any agent will do?
No. Look for a top-rated, experienced agent with knowledge of the local market where you want to live. A great buyer’s agent will go above and beyond just submitting an offer. A truly great agent will also guide you and support you through the following:
- Inspection: provide referrals, be present for the inspection and carefully review it with you.
- Repair requests: go over any items of concern on the inspection, help you decide what steps to take and negotiate those items with the seller.
- Coordinate: stay in contact with all parties involved in your transaction and ensure that things are progressing in a timely manner.
- Appraisal: coordinate with the parties involved and review the appraisal with you.
- Title: review the documents and make sure everything is in order and answer your questions after your review.
- Escrow: communicate with all parties to facilitate a timely close, including being present for your signing, to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Another very important asset in a buyers agent is finding one that is also a certified negotiation expert. Because when you are making the biggest purchase of your life, you want someone who can negotiate the best purchase for you.