Buying a new home can be an exciting if not challenging undertaking. You might be overwhelmed not only by the mere selection of houses from which to choose but also the actual process of competing and making an offer for the home you ultimately want to buy.
Rather than get lost in the multitudes of tasks expected of you as a prospective buyer, you may want to simplify the process and make it faster and more enjoyable. Your answer could be to retain the services of a professional buyer's agent.
What is a Buyer's Agent?
A buyer's agent, as the name implies, is an agent who exclusively represents the best interests of you as the buyer. This individual is a trained and licensed real estate professional, either a REALTOR or agent, who is obligated by law once the contract is signed to solely advocate for your best interests in the home buying process.
As an overview, a buyer's agent comes in useful for key tasks like timing the purchase and using your budget to find the best home for you on which to make an offer. Your agent will keep your information, such as the time line for wanting to move or the price you are willing to pay, private so that the seller's agent cannot use it against you in the negotiations.
Why Hire a Buyer's Agent?
Why exactly should you hire a buyer's agent? After all, can you not just search for a house to make an offer on and represent yourself in the transaction?
Technically, you can go through the home buying process alone. However, it may not be well-advised particularly if you are a first-time home buyer or the competition for the prospective house is fierce.
Your buyer's agent can perform key tasks during the process like:
- find the ideal home to view and on which to make an offer
- discover the pros and cons of the neighborhood
- advise you on the price to offer for the house
- negotiate the actual offer for the home
- write up your part of the contract
- help you avoid pitfalls like buying a house that is not worth the money
With a buyer's agent, you ultimately save time, money, and hassle when looking for and finding a home to buy. Further, this real estate professional can also recommend other professionals to hire in the home buying process including:
- mortgage brokers
- real estate attorneys
- home inspectors
Your agent will be on hand to expedite every step of the process so you can close on the home sooner.
Perhaps more importantly, your buyer's agent will be an important ally to have by your side if issues arise during the transaction. For example, if the title search reveals undisclosed heirs or liens on the home, you will need an agent to help you renegotiate or advise you to back out of the contract. Likewise, if the negotiations become adversarial, you will want an agent to advocate for your best interests and come up with viable solutions to bypass issues that could prevent you from becoming a successful home buyer.
Finding a Buyer's Agent to Hire
Once you appreciate the role that a buyer's agent will play in your pursuit to become a homeowner, your next question might involve where you can find such an agent to hire. You can start the search by asking friends and relatives for advice. You can also look on the Internet for real estate pros who offer services as a buyer's agent.
You will want to interview at least three agents before deciding which one to hire to represent you. Some of the questions you should ask a prospective buyer's agent include:
- What is your availability or schedule?
- How long have you worked as a real estate professional?
- What neighborhoods do you specialize in as a buyer's agent?
- What is your track record when it comes to representing clients like me?
Once you have your answers, you can decide which agent to hire and then sign what is called an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. This contract will detail the agent's services to you and also disclose how the agent will be compensated.
In most cases, your buyer's agent will have his or her commission covered by the seller of the home. The seller typically is obligated to pay the commissions of both the seller and buyer's agents, which is usually around six percent of the home's sale price.
When it comes to buying a home, you may not want to go through the process alone. You need someone to advocate for your best interests and represent you during the negotiations. You can get the assistance you need as well as professional, skilled advice by hiring a buyer's agent.