Finding the right real estate agent to best represent you is the second step in the home buying process after you’ve decided to make a move.
Three types of agents exist to serve a unique function in the home buying process, and each of those functions has a different clear and defined agent/client relationship with varying terms from state to state.
Many prospective buyers don’t feel the need to hire an agent, as they insist they can handle it all themselves or with the listing (seller’s) agent. However, they fail to realize that the seller’s agent works solely on behalf of the best interest of the seller. A buyer’s agent works on behalf of the buyer and ONLY the buyer. The agent helps in contract negotiations, with gathering critical information about the home, and everything in between. This relationship is sealed by a Buyer’s Agency Agreement, as without this agreement an agent is legally required to withhold the following information from the buyer:
- Why the property is being sold.
- What negotiable concessions the seller is willing to make.
- Any communication between the seller and the agent.
- Any private info that would give the buyer a leg-up in and hurt the seller in negotiations.
There usually aren’t any additional fees associated with signing a Buyer’s Agency Agreement. All commissions distributed to agents for the sale are most often paid by the seller at closing.
Unlike the buyer, the seller’s agent represents the sole interest of the seller. By default, an agent involved in the sales transaction represents the seller until a Buyer’s Agency Agreement is signed.
The Dual Agent
When two agents represent a buyer and seller and work for the same brokerage, they are required to sign a dual agency agreement. A dual agency agreement must be disclosed to the buyer and seller and, once signed, any information that is privileged in nature must be shared with all parties.
Finding the Realtor for You
Finding the right agent should take a bit of legwork, as interviewing at least 2 or 3 agents is in your best interest before deciding. Crowdsourcing this information to family and friends is a great way to gather information. Here’s what you should ask during the interview process to ensure your needs will be met.
- How long have you been a realtor?
- Have you lived in the area for a while? Are you familiar with the area? Have you been selling houses in the area for long?
- Are you working with many clients right now?
- Are you used to working with more buyers or sellers?
- Within the last year, how many homes did you sell?
- What’s a typical commission for you?
- What plans do you have for getting my house out there?
- Are you able to provide me a list of recent client references?
Buying a home is likely the largest sales transaction you’ll make, so it is important to work with an agent who you’re both comfortable with and will deliver you the best offer!