What is a Buyer’s Agent and What do they Do?

Many times we assume that people know what we do and how we work, but in reality we find people who really don’t know what we do or how real estate transactions actually work.

Once a buyer starts thinking about the purchase of a new home, a buyer’s agent can be of assistance.  Over 90% of buyers start their “shopping” online.  Many of these buyers say “I’ll know the one I want when I see it”.  The best time to involve a Realtor in the home-buying process is right at the beginning.

Many buyers don’t want to “waste a Realtor’s time” until they find exactly what they are looking for, but the simple truth is that the Realtor can save you much time, effort and frustration in the home buying process.  Whether you are a “seasoned pro” or this will be your first home purchase, the real estate agent knows what questions to ask to help you with the process:

  1. What type of home are you looking for?
  2. Where would you like it located (school district, community, etc.)?
  3. Are you looking for in-town or out of town living?
  4. What amenities are a must have in the new home and which ones are “we would like to have”?
  5. How soon do you want to move?
  6. Are there physical concerns that need to be addressed?
  7. Are you handy and can do some work to the property or do you want it in very good condition?
  8. Will you look at properties in a flood area?

These would be a few of the questions that a Realtor would need to know to get you started with the home buying “process”.

With these (and maybe some other) questions asked, we are now ready to find the house, right?

Although many buyers think so, there is a major step that has to be taken first.  With the help of your professional, they can assist you in obtaining a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender.  Almost every buyer wants to put this much farther down on the list, as it is not the fun part of buying a home.  The question needs to be asked, “How much can I afford?”, thus making this high on the list.  Besides knowing how much you can afford, it also indicates to your buyer’s agent the type of financing.

Not all homes qualify for all types of financing, thus it is another major reason why  you and your real estate professional need to know this information right up front.  In most cases, before an offer can be presented to the sellers, this pre-approval letter must be submitted so that the sellers know that you are a qualified buyer.  You should start this process at the beginning so you are ready to make the offer on the home as soon as you find it.

Many times your Realtor will be able to recommend some lenders that they have worked with before, whom they trust and know will treat you fairly and professionally.  Not all lenders are the same and beware of just picking one off the Internet!  More buyers have had bad experiences by not listening to their real estate professionals and looking on their own for a lender.  Remember, it is Realtors’ reputation that is also on the line when they recommend someone to you, so they will not recommend someone who is not trustworthy or professional.

After the pre-qualification letter is issued (be sure to have one sent to your Realtor) it’s time to go shopping, as you know your spending limit.

By actually engaging the services of a Realtor, they will explain their role in the process and also ask you to sign a Buyer’s Agency contract.  Everything will be spelled out in this contract, but generally the Realtor will be paid by the seller’s agent.  If that is not the case, this will be discussed in the contract.

Why should you commit to one Realtor?  The advantages are many for you:

  1. Through a client relationship, you can share confidential information with your agent which can not be disclosed to anyone else.  This may include your urgency to purchase, pending change in marital status, large financial debt, bankruptcy, new job status, or many other things that may effect your ability to purchase/finance a home.
  2. You will have to make only one call to an agent that you know and have worked with for any home that is on the market.  The buyer’s agent will then call to schedule appointments for you to see the homes and find out any other information that may not be published online.  Your agent may be familiar with the home and since they know your likes and dislikes, know whether it is worth your time to go see it.  All you have to do is show up!
  3. As you start to work with your agent, they will encourage you to talk about your likes and dislikes about the home during the showing.  With this information, they can better “fine tune” properties that may be of interest to you that are currently on the market or as they come new to the market.
  4. By making a commitment to a Realtor (signing the Buyer’s Agent contract), they will also commit to you.  If you are calling every agent in the book or say that you will work with the agent that has it listed, there is little incentive for an agent to do the best job for you, because you may be working with another agent tomorrow.  Agents get paid by a commission, solely and only when they sell a home.  You will get the best efforts of that agent, knowing they will get paid, if they do a good job.
  5. A Buyer’s Agent will look out for your best interest when you have made that commitment because you are their client.  They will be more apt to point out problems they see or areas that you may want to get inspected by a qualified professional in that field to make sure there is no problem.  You may be looking at the great view or wonderful kitchen, but your agent is looking at all aspects of the home.  Although they may have a working knowledge of many things with the home, they are not experts.  They can recommend experts who can review the home for problems by naming home, termite, chimney, lead based paint, radon, water and septic inspectors who may need to evaluate the home.
  6. Once you have found a home, the buyer’s agent will write up the agreement to purchase the home.  They will already have your information on file and there will be no need to give that to anyone else.  They will have what they need to start the purchase offer and consult you on the many options that will need to be included in this offer to the seller.  And of course, they will have your pre-approval financing letter that you obtained at the beginning of the purchase process!

As you can see, hiring your own Buyer’s Agent may be one of the best moves you make.  Not only will they save you time, but they will hopefully guide you through the process and make it as easy as they can, steering you around the many “pitfalls” that can come up along the way.  You have one source for information on real estate, what is on the market, and their guidance through the entire process.

In short, hire a Buyer’s Agent to work for you!

Give one of our agents a call and let us start working for YOU!

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