The holidays are over, and I have already begun getting "spring" buyer calls so I wanted to take the time to explain exactly what a buyer's broker is and why you should work with one.
It is a common misconception among buyers that the listing agent can represent you and the seller. Of course they could, there is a legal way to do this and it is called Dual Agency, yet it is so controversial that New York State requires additional paperwork to agree to it.
I personally prefer to allow the buyer to work with another agent, I believe to do my job 110 percent for my client I can not do both.
So I have decided to take the time to explain exactly why working with a buyer's broker is so important.
Well first, and most likely, the best part is it is free. There are very rare occasions when there will be some discrepancy of who should pay the commission, but any home listed with a Realtor will result in the seller paying the compensation.
Second, you have someone in your corner, that will do all the “homework” about the home for you. The most important aspect to a home is the price, and the homeowner and the listing agent will choose that price. Having your own “expert" will ensure that you don’t overpay for a home because they will be working exclusively with your best interests in mind.
The difference between a listing agent and a buyer broker comes really down to the law. There is a difference between what a listing agent has to tell you, and what they can tell you.
An example is the price of the home. If a home is listed at $350,000 and the home down the block sold for $325,000 you obviously have some room to negotiate. If the seller will go down to the lower number a listing agent by law can not share that information with you. However a buyer's broker will be aware of that neighboring sale and use that during negotiations with the sellers.
The buyer broker contract is not so much of a contract as a promise. If you decide after looking for a few weeks that you want to hold off no agent would have a problem releasing you from your contract. This is a way for both the buyer and the agent to both be on the same page, as far as what is expected from each party involved.
No one should expect someone to sign a contract without meeting with them first, and I personally will go out a few times with my buyers before asking for them to sign a contract. This gives them the chance to see how I run my business.
Buying a home is a huge decision and you will be spending a lot of time with your agent. If your going to be spending Saturdays with an agent not only should they be good at their job, but you shouldn’t mind being around them for the entire day.
That being said, I also like to remind buyers that the agents are working for them. If you do not actively participate your home buying process will not be easy, as no agent is a mind reader. If your agent keeps taking you to see a style of a home you don’t like, you need to voice that to the agent.
Lastly, there is something that some in the real estate world don’t often mention, and that is time. You don’t want an agent to waste your time and they obviously do not want to waste their time either.
When my buyers are dedicating their time to me, I now have a vested interest because they are counting on me. You should be confident in the work that your broker is doing for you so whether you sign an agreement for a month or a year, this is a very important piece of paper for everyone involved in your home buying process.