With housing inventory still lagging, sellers continue to have the upper hand.
What is a buyer’s agent?
A buyer’s agent represents only the buyer in a real estate deal. When you buy a home, your buyer’s agent focuses his or her energy on making sure your needs are met. Her fiduciary obligations are solely to you.
Just as a buyer’s agent looks out for you as the buyer, a seller’s agent looks out for his or her client, the home seller. The goal is for each party to have the best representation possible and ultimately arrive at a fair deal. Both the buyer’s and seller’s agents are paid by the home seller when the deal closes. When you work with a buyer’s agent, that person will:
- Help you find property you can afford and would want to live in. That includes helping you find a home in a school district that works for you, in a safe neighborhood and close to the places you need to be near.
- Help you determine a fair price for a property once you find something you want to buy and negotiate the offer on your behalf.
- Recommend other professionals you may need to work with, such as a mortgage lender, real estate attorney and home inspector.
- Stick with you through any setbacks, such as a low home appraisal or inspection that brings unseen problems to light. Rather than having to deal with the home seller yourself, your buyer’s agent will act as a buffer, staying calm in what could become a contentious situation.
A buyer’s agent example
Sam and Jeanine are hoping to buy a house. They hire Nick to be the buyer’s agent. He will represent them with anyone selling his or her house and with the seller’s agent.
To find a good buyer’s agent, ask friends and family about the agents they have worked with. Once a deal is done and in the rearview mirror, it is easy for people to see whether their agent was helpful.
Find out how long an agent has been in the business. While a new agent can do a wonderful job with your home purchase, an experienced agent may offer a bit more insight. If an agent is new, make sure he or she is working under the guidance of an experienced Realtor or broker.
There are a number of tips for finding the best mortgage lender. Learn more here.