You’re about to make one of the largest purchases of your life. Don’t do it without experienced guidance. You need a Buyer’s Agent. What’s a Buyer’s Agent?
A Buyer’s Agent represents the interests of the buyer and only the buyer, whereas the seller’s agent (aka “listing agent”) represents the seller’s interests. A Buyer’s Agent has a legal, fiduciary responsibility to the buyer, including confidentiality and undivided loyalty.
Q: Why should I work with a buyer’s agent?
The listing agent (the agent listed on the website selling the property) represents the seller’s interests, so I always recommend working with a buyer’s agent who represents only your interests. When working with a buyer’s agent, proper protocol is to have your agent reach out to the listing agent for additional information and/or to schedule showings. Even if you find a listing on your own, have your buyer’s agent do the legwork for you!
Q: If there is no buyer’s agent fee, how do you make money?
There is no fee to a buyer for using a buyer’s agent. The buyer’s broker and the seller’s broker negotiate to split the sales commission, which is paid by the seller. The uncommon exception to this standard practice is if 1) the seller’s agent is not willing to split the commission, or 2) the listing is for-sale-by-owner, then you can either negotiate to pay your buyer’s agent a fee or choose not to work with a buyer’s agent.
Q: Won’t I get a better price if I don’t use a buyer’s agent?
Probably not, and you could end up missing out on a deal because you didn’t have a buyer’s agent advising on market conditions. You also don’t know what else could be motivating the seller’s agent: maybe he/she is trying to set a new comp for the neighborhood. Many agents also prefer to work with other agents since it can be more efficient to work with someone who also knows how/what to negotiate, isn’t emotionally involved, and can navigate inspections, appraisals, mortgages, and close a deal.