MYTH #1: I DON’T NEED A BUYER’S AGENT; I HAVE STREETEASY/ZILLOW/TRULIA.
Truth: In the digital age, you don’t necessarily need an agent to identify listings for you (although most of my buyers ask for my opinion and feedback). The bulk of a Buyer’s Agents’ duties begin after a property has been identified. StreetEasy is an excellent tool for finding available properties, but it won’t help you negotiate the sale, assemble a board package, resolve unforeseen challenges, and isn’t there for moral support. However much you think you feel comfortable with this process, it’s invaluable to have the experienced counsel and a neutral messenger who understands what it will take to get to a deal.
MYTH #2: THERE IS A SECRET LISTING DATABASE THAT ONLY AGENTS CAN ACCESS.
Truth: There is no listing database accessible only to Real Estate Agents. Now that the traditional MLS (which never existed in NYC in the first place) has been replaced by aggregate listing websites, buyers have access to most of the same online search tools as Real Estate Agents.
MYTH #3: I CAN GET A BETTER DEAL WITHOUT A BUYER’S AGENT BECAUSE THE SELLER WON’T PAY 3% OF THE COMMISSION.
Remember, the listing agent’s duty is to the seller, not to you. And contrary to popular belief, you won’t save 3% by working with the listing agent. In the majority of cases, the seller is still paying the full commission whether you have representation or not.
MYTH #4: REAL ESTATE AGENTS JUST WANT TO DRIVE UP THE PRICE SO THEY MAKE MORE MONEY.
Truth: A price difference of $15,000 is a difference of about $450 in commission – a negligible amount for the agent. The purpose of the Buyer’s Agent is to represent your interests and help you successfully secure the apartment of your dreams. Successful real estate agents make more money through happy client referrals than by driving up prices.