Choosing the right real estate agent is imperative when you’re getting ready to buy your first house. A Buyer’s agent will help you create a wish list to match your budget, show you homes that meet those criteria, help you look out for warning signs, draft an offer for you based on your terms, negotiate on your behalf, guide you through the complex contracts, and walk you through the closing process. And they’ll do all that at no cost to you. Here’s how to choose the right agent to help buy a house.
Agent Vs. REALTOR®
A real estate agent is a person who is licensed to help people buy, sell, or rent properties.
A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who has become a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.
Real estate agents are not required to be REALTORS®, but REALTORS® must be real estate agents.
The main distinction between real estate agents and REALTORS® is that REALTORS® have made a commitment to uphold the code of ethics of the National Association of REALTORS®. This code of ethics contains numerous articles that cover various topics such as honesty, fairness, and professionalism. As a result, working with a REALTOR® can provide buyers and sellers with an extra level of protection and peace of mind.
Buyers' Agent vs. Sellers' Agent and Dual Representation
A buyers’ agent is a professional who helps homebuyers find and purchase properties. Buyers’ agents typically have specialized knowledge of the real estate market and can offer valuable insights and guidance to their clients. They may also have access to exclusive listings and be able to negotiate on behalf of their clients. In some cases, buyers’ agents may also help their clients obtain financing for their purchases.
Buyers’ agents may earn special qualifications or certifications, such as the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation or Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) through NAR®.
The tasks performed by buyers’ agents vary depending on the needs of their clients. However, common tasks include researching properties, scheduling showings, negotiating contracts, and helping with the closing process.
In contrast to a buyers’ agent, a sellers’ agent is a professional who helps home sellers’ market and sell their properties. They help the seller prepare their house for listing, price it competitively, coordinate showings, and help the seller review and negotiate offers, then assists them through the closing process.
Dual representation is when the same real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. While this arrangement is not currently allowed in all states, it may be permissible under certain circumstances, such as when the buyers and sellers are related or have otherwise agreed to it in writing.
However, from a buyer’s perspective, working with a dual representative isn’t always a wise choice. This is because the agent’s loyalty would be divided between the two parties, which could result in a less than ideal outcome for the buyer.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Buyers' Agent?
When people are looking to buy a home, they often wonder how buyers’ agents are paid. After all, the buyers’ agent is the one working with the buyer to help them find the right home and negotiate the best price.
The answer is that buyers’ agents are not paid directly by the buyers. Instead, it is the seller who pays a commission to their sellers’ agent, and the sellers’ agent compensates the buyers’ agent at the end of the transaction.
This arrangement gives buyers’ agents an incentive to work hard on behalf of their clients since they will only be paid if the deal goes through.
As a result, buyers can be confident that their agent is working in their best interests.
Qualities to Look for in a Buyers' Agent
When you are looking for a real estate agent, you want someone who is knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy. You also want someone who is a good communicator and who understands your needs. Here are some qualities to look for in a good real estate agent:
Knowledgeable: A good agent will know the ins and outs of the real estate market and will be able to guide you through the buying or selling process.
Experienced: An experienced agent will have closed many deals and will have the negotiating skills to get you the best price possible.
Trustworthy: You should feel confident that your agent has your best interests at heart and is not trying to take advantage of you.
Good communicator: A good agent will keep you informed throughout the process and will answer any questions you have.
Understands your needs: A good agent will take the time to understand your needs and wants and will find homes that match your criteria.
Choosing the right real estate agent can make a world of difference in your buying experience. When you find an agent with these qualities, you know you’re in good hands.
Questions to Ask a Buyer's Agent in an Interview
Interview multiple agents – at least three, so you have a point of reference. Here are some questions buyers frequently ask agents in an interview:
- What is your real estate experience?
- How many sales have you facilitated in the past year?
- In what areas do you specialize?
- What is your average sale price?
- Can you provide a list of references from past clients?
- How do you communicate with your clients?
- How often will we tour homes?
- What is your process for submitting an offer?
- What are your thoughts on negotiating?
- Do you work with a team or have an assistant?
By asking these questions, you will get to know the agent and their business practices. You will also be able to see if they are a good fit for you and your needs.
The real estate market can be complex but working with the right real estate agent doesn’t have to be complicated. When you find an agent who meets your needs and with whom you feel comfortable, you’ll be on your way to a smooth and successful transaction.