Buying a House is Easy…said No One Ever!
Ready to house hunt? It’s a jungle out there: Prepare for a flurry of paperwork, stampedes of buyers competing for the same digs, and other challenges before you get your hands on those house keys. The process can be complex and stressful—which is why having the right professional by your side can make all the difference!
You might have heard of buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, listing agents, and so on. You’re a buyer, so what is a buyer’s agent? True to their name, buyer’s agents assist home buyers every step of the way; they can also save you tons of time and money on the road to homeownership.
But do you really need a buyer’s agent? And, how do you find a good one?
Benefits of using buyer’s agents
Buyer’s agents do more than just show you houses…any real estate agent with a license and an MLS membership will be able to accomplish that. However, a professional buyer’s agent will help you from the initial phases of the home buying process, from connecting you with trustworthy lender partners, assisting you through an evaluation of available inventory, and informing you of the best steps take to take in order to be best positioned for successfully contracting your NextHome…there’s a so much they will assist you with while also being at your disposal for any questions or concerns.
Here are just a few of the many, many services that a buyer’s agent helps you with:
- Find the right property. After assisting you with an evaluation of your property preferences, factoring in price range based on your financial pre-qualifications, a buyer’s agent will provide recommendations of property types, neighborhoods and communities that may best fit your search criteria. Then, a buyer’s agent can tour these properties with you, and explain the ins and outs of various properties and neighborhoods to help buyers decide which home is right for them by explaining the pros and cons of various options. *Pro-Tip: An experienced buyer’s agent will have access to homes not available to the general public
- Negotiate the offer. A buyer’s agent will also advise clients on an appropriate price to offer, based on a full evaluation of the property’s condition and disclosure records, and present it to the seller’s agent. This is where the agent’s experience in negotiating deals can save you money and help you avoid pitfalls like a fixer-upper that’s more trouble than it’s worth. *Pro-Tip: An experienced buyer’s agent will help evaluate a property’s condition prior to making offers so that you will be protected from unforeseen maintenance & repair costs
- Recommend other professionals. A buyer’s agent acts more like a project manager as a huge value add from their service and experience is access to their preferred services networks which consist of reliable mortgage lenders, home inspectors, contractors, tradesmen, movers, and more. This greatly helps expedite each step of the process and move you to a successful sale all the faster, which will save you money in an upward appreciating marketplace. *Pro-Tip: We’ve been organizing our preferred services network for over the last 30-years in business
- Help overcome setbacks. Although a good buyer’s agent will be able to help foresee many issues before they occur, no endeavor goes without its speed bumps…so, when repair issues from a home inspector’s report or appraisal issues are caught by your lender, a buyer’s agent will advise you on how to proceed, and then act as a buffer between you and the sellers or their agent. *Pro-Tip: An experienced buyer’s agent will most likely have faced most unpredictable surprises in the past, and will be an invaluable resource to assist a buyer through them
So now that you have some background on the numerous reasons you should consider using a buyer’s agent to your advantage while home shopping, let’s look at the other agent in the equation…the one that’s already representing the seller.
Would it make sense just to work with the listing agent, the agent representing the seller? Would you be able to get a better deal on the property, or gain and advantage from the competing buyers and their agents?
Buyer’s vs. listing agent: What’s the difference?
Buyer’s agents are legally bound to help buyers, whereas listing agents—the agent representing the seller selling the home—have a fiduciary duty to the home seller.
So, first of all, what’s a fiduciary duty?
Under California State Law, real estate agents owe their clients what’s referred to as “fiduciary duty.” Fiduciary duties are the highest duties known to the law. Classic examples of fiduciaries are trustees, executors, and guardians. As a fiduciary, a real estate agent will be held under the law to owe certain specific duties to his principal, in addition to any duties or obligations set forth in a listing agreement or other contract of employment. These specific fiduciary duties include:
- Disclosure Obedience,
- Reasonable care and diligence,
But, the duties and obligations owed from a real estate agent to the client will vary significantly based on the type of representation to which you, as the client, have contractually agreed. Which is why it’s in the best interest as a buyer to get an agent who is there to represent them…and not working with the agent that is already contractually obligated to help the seller get the highest price for their home.
Think about it this way: If you were getting sued, would you hire the same attorney as the person suing you? Of course not. You need someone who will diligently fight for your interests and rights.
Let’s say, for instance, you walked up to the listing agent at an open house and gushed about how you love the home and want to buy it, but you will need to move soon because you’re expecting your second child and need to decorate the nursery pronto, or the lease on your rental is up in a couple of months. A seller’s agent could then use this information against you by informing the seller that your clock is ticking, so they shouldn’t budge too much on their asking price—or at all.
Yet make this same confession to the buyer’s agent you’re working with, and it’s all fine—this professional would know to keep this info private from sellers (and their agents) so it can’t be used against you. Plus, a dedicated buyers agent will help gain sensitive information from the seller’s agent about the seller’s reasons for moving, which you can then use to your advantage in order to get the best price possible for the home.
Now that you’re aware of the numerous advantages of hiring and working with a buyer’s agent, not to mention all the risks you would take by skipping the privilege of having your own dedicated agent assisting you through the process…let’s take the next step and schedule a consultation today so that I can walk you through the rest of the purchase process, and help you get started today on the right path to homeownership!