One of the questions I am asked every so often is, “What is a buyer’s agent?”  A buyer’s agent in a real estate transaction is the real estate agent who works on behalf of the buyer during the purchase of a home.  It’s really that simple.  There are numerous duties a buyer’s agent is expected to perform before and throughout the home search.  Let’s look at a few of them.

What Does A Buyer’s Agent Do?

The buyer’s agent should help the buyers find a suitable property.  At Deerwood Realty, we use a collaborative approach.  Some buyers are very hands on.  They tell us what they want to see, and we show them those houses.  Other buyers give us a list of things that they most desire in a new home, and we find a home for them that fits their criteria.

The buyer’s agent should help their clients avoid pitfalls in the buying process.  Buyers don’t always end up buying houses.  It’s not uncommon for something to happen during the buying process.  For example, a buyer could lose their job and not qualify for a mortgage.  The buyer could be selling a home that doesn’t bring the expected net amount.  Another thing that can happen is that the buyer looks for a house that requires way more work than they are capable of doing by themselves.

The buyer’s agent helps negotiate a fair offer.  Sellers and their agents have an opinion on the price of the home for sale.  Buyers, with the help of their buyer’s agent, learn about the area, the previous sold homes, and the current home inventory, which helps them to find a fair price to be paid.

The buyer’s agent knows lenders who can get a deal done.  There are thousands of lenders in any community.  Some have terribly high fees.  Others can’t seem to bother themselves with filing paperwork needed to close a deal.  A buyer’s agent knows who is getting deals done and who is wasting their time from experience.  This often overlooked quality of a buyer’s agent is something that can be very beneficial.

Now That We Know What a Buyer’s Agent Does, You Might Have Additional Questions.

How does a buyer’s agent get paid?  A buyer’s agent is typically paid at closing by the brokerage of the seller’s agent.  When a seller lists their home for sale, they specify in the listing agreement what they are willing to pay a buyer’s agent.  A buyer’s agency agreement specifies what the buyer’s agent is paid.  It’s important to read that buyer’s agency agreement.  Some contain additional fees.

Is a buyer’s agent a qualified inspector?  The vast majority of the time, a buyer’s agent is not a qualified inspector for your home.  Some buyer’s agents, like myself, have spent time in residential construction, so we know a little more than a traditional real estate agent.  However, even if I see odd things in a home, I still recommend an inspection by a qualified inspector before agreeing to purchase a home.

Can a buyer’s agent list property for sale?  It depends on the agreement that the buyer’s agent has with their broker.  On real estate teams, it’s highly unlikely that the buyer’s agent is going to be the same agent as the listing agent.  At Deerwood Realty, our agents can do both.  We think there are advantages to having our buyer’s agents be able to list property.  The main one is that they gain valuable perspective with regards to what the real estate marketplace is doing.

What Are Some Misconceptions About Buyer’s Agents?

Buyer’s agents are not glorified taxi drivers.  One of the more odd things that I notice is that people think that we know every house on every street in every neighborhood.  We don’t, and you should run from any agent that tells you otherwise.

Buyer’s agents are not certified marriage counselors.  Getting couples to work together to buy a home can be tricky.  While we work with our buyers on issues like pricing and negotiation, we aren’t marriage counselors.

Should I hire a Buyer’s Agent?

I realize that I’m biased, but you should absolutely hire a buyer’s agent when searching for your dream home.  For one, they are being paid by the seller, so your out of pocket expense is very small.  Second, they are assisting buyers all of the time.  They know how the process works, and they aren’t fooled by changes in the market.  Finally, they help offer a level of protection as they are working for you and not for the seller.