THE LISTING AGENT DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU!
I wanted to take the time to explain exactly why you should work with a buyers broker, it is a common misconception among buyers that the listing agent can represent you and the seller. Of course their is a legal way for them to do this and it is called Dual Agency, it is so controversial that many offices have a policy that they will not allow it, and New York State requires additional paperwork to agree to it. I personally prefer to allow the buyer to work with another agent, I beleive to do my job 110% for my client I can not do both. So I have decided to take the time to explain exactly why working with a buyers broker is so important.
Well first and most likely the best part is it is free. There are very rare occasions when I home being sold my a homeowner rather than an agent there will be some discrepancy of who is to 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 the 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 choose to tell you. The home has a leak in the roof but it was fixed and it hasn’t leaked in about 6 months, they don’t have to tell you that. A buyer broker over hears the agent and homeowner speaking about the same leak, we now under law have to tell you. Why? Because we are working with your best interests in mind, now if you put in an offer you can specify to the home inspector there was a leak to be sure it was fixed properly. Another example and the most common, is when it comes to 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. Even if the seller will go down to the lower number a listing agent by law can NOT share that information with you ! A buyers 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 choose after looking for a few weeks that you want to save more, or just hold off no agent would have a problem releasing you from your contract with them. 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 into a contract without meeting with them first, 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, and if it works for them. 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 your 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 the buyers out their that the agents are working for them. If you do not actively participate your home buying process will not be easy, 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. Will they still take you to that style of home ….. yes ! But if they do it will be because this offers something different, and would really wow you!
Lastly it 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 theirs either. When my buyers is dedicating their time to me, I now have a vested interest because they are counting on me. If someone I have been dealing with for 6 months still will not sign a buyer brokers contract, I will be wary if they would just make an impulse buy with another agent. I could very well be wasting my time and just be a tour guide to this person, and my time could have been spent with someone who really needed my help and advice. If after 3 months if you are still not comfortable signing into a buyer brokers agreement for any length of time, I would suggest finding an agent who makes you comfortable enough to do so. Whether you sign into an agreement for a month or a year, this is a very important piece of paper for everyone involved in your home buying process!