The first step in your home buying process should be hiring a buyer's agent. Buyers' agents work to make sure your interests as a home buyer are represented. They work with you to find you your dream home, and on top of that? Hiring a buyers agent doesn't cost you anything extra.
What is a buyer's agent?
The buyer's agent works exclusively to find buyers a home that suits their needs and requirements and to protect the buyer's interests. Some services they provide include
- using their knowledge of the area and your criteria to find the properties that suit you best;
- sharing current information about the market you're shopping in and the homes you're considering;
- providing advice during purchase negotiations;
- connecting you with other professionals (inspectors, movers, attorneys, mortgage brokers);
- overseeing the home inspection and helping you evaluate the findings;
- negotiating contingencies; and
- offering guidance through each step of the closing
What does a buyer's agent do?
- Find the Right House: Your agent will help you identify the right place to start your home search. After talking with you about your budget, needs and desires like neighborhood preferences, they’ll narrow down the list of possible houses and pinpoint properties that fit the bill.
- Schedule Showings: Your agent will set up any viewings of property, advocating for you to get in as soon as possible in a tight market. During the showing, they may ask questions to help you learn important facts about the property. And after, they’ll follow up with the showing agent to let them know your feedback.
- Negotiate: One of the most important roles of an experienced agent is their ability to negotiate on your behalf to strike the best deal. They’ll have deep knowledge of the area, what’s been selling, comparable properties and any unique details of the transaction that may be to your advantage.
- Select Vendors: Once you submit an offer and the seller accepts it, you’ll need to line up some professionals to move your transaction forward like a lender or home inspector. Your agent has a network they can recommend from so you have vendors you feel comfortable with.
- Take Part in Inspections: You’ll want your agent to be by your side during a home inspection so they can hear firsthand any issues that come up. That way, they’ll understand how serious the problems are so they can develop the best strategy for negotiating any repairs or credits.
- Liaison: A buyer’s agent is on top of all the paperwork and will be essential throughout your transaction to keep everyone informed so that there are no surprises when you get to the closing table.
- Attend the Closing: This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! An experienced buyer’s agent has been at the closing table many times and will walk you through this last step, answering any questions and providing support during the meeting.
The creaky myth that sellers pay the buyers agent commission continues to be perpetuated today. Like many elements of a real estate transaction, though, it's complicated. Let's try to simplify it.
A buyer's agent is paid commission at closing, just as a listing agent is. Because agent commissions are taken "from the seller's side" of the balance sheet, many buyers are told that working with an agent doesn't cost anything. It may look that way on paper, as it's money that the seller agrees to relinquish. But the cost of commissions is, naturally, factored into the listing price. Since the only person bringing money to the table at a closing is the buyer, you are, in fact, paying them.
Here's something to consider, though: Unless the property is for sale by owner, the sellers will have a contract with listing agent, and they will have agreed to a commission percentage – usually 5% to 6% of the purchase price. So, whether you work with a buyer's agent or not, you're supplying this money at closing. If you contract a buyer's agent, the agents split the commission.
The bottom line is, having a buyer's agent won't cost you extra.
Why should I hire a buyer's agent before going to open houses?
Most first time buyers tend to spend most of their early home-searching days on listings sites, like Zillow. There's nothing wrong with this because it's great to know what's out there and what your budget can get you in your area. But once you get to the point where you're ready to go look at homes, then it's time to find an expert real estate agent.
Did you know that most real estate agents know about listings before they come on the market? Did you know that great realtors have relationships with developers, so they know when new construction is coming on the market? These are two great reasons to talk to a real estate agent before you start going to see homes - an agent could end up introducing you to a home that you never even knew existed.
Ready to get started? We'll match you with an expert, local buyers agent today.