A Buyers agent is a real estate agent who protects the interests of the buyer in a real estate transaction. An agent who has a fiduciary duty to the buyer. The agent who represents the buyer in negotiations with the seller or sellers’ agent and who has a responsibility of fidelity, honesty, and to act in the buyers best interest. A buyer’s agent is most often compensated by receiving a percentage of the commission the selling broker has received. The selling brokers’ percentage is usually predetermined and listed as the co-op amount on the MLS listing that has been placed by the listing agent. A lot of traditional real estate agents will represent both sellers and buyers in separate transactions. The party who engages them in the transaction is usually who they represent. For instance if Mary (agent) signs an agreement with Joe to sell his house, she represents the seller (Joe). If Mary (agent) signs a buyers engagement agreement with Tom to help him buy a house she represents Tom.
Reasons to Use a Buyer’s Agent
- To have professional representation for yourself in negotiations, especially counteroffers
- To have someone sending you appropriate listings to look at who has access to a wide variety of listings available currently
- To have a professional who is familiar with the required paperwork (contracts and stipulations) available to read and explain the paperwork to you
- To have a representative who is capable of monitoring the settlement statement (HUD-1) to discover any errors made by the closing attorney’s staff.
- You need someone who has accurate information about the area you choose to live in and the home you want to purchase so they can do a comparative market analysis for you at offer time. This will hopefully keep you from offering too much for the home.
- You will need access to a variety of trades’ people. Buyer’s agents often have a network of lenders, home inspectors, and closing attorneys who have given them good service in the past that they can recommend.
- In the current market of Short Sales (when a bank or mortgage company agrees to let the borrower sell their property for less than what is owed to the bank/mortgage lender) and REO (Real Estate Owned/banked owned property already foreclosed on) properties, buyers agents have access to contract addendums that accompany these homes and are accustomed to reading them to look for certain restrictions such as the “First Look” time period, the amount and form of the earnest money requirement etc. Most of these documents are many pages in length and often confuse the homebuyer. An experienced buyer’s agent is prepared to read and offer suggestions (opinions) before the homebuyer has to decipher each addendum that comes with each property they want to see. The experienced agent should be able to determine if his/her client can meet all the necessary requirements ahead of time.
- The prospective homebuyer needs someone who can make suggestions to them or offer an outside opinion that has no emotional stake in the outcome. For instance, someone who can suggest to the homebuyer they may wind up spending more on a foreclosure “fixer upper” than if they just looked at homes in a slightly higher price range.
- A thorough buyer’s agent will obtain a copy of the HOA (homeowners association) restrictive covenants for their client and call attention to those covenants which may be of particular concern to the client such as when and what amount the dues are for the clients’ new home. A homeowner in Georgia is not released from liability concerning mandatory HOA participation for not receiving a copy of the association covenants.