When selling a home, most people will engage the services of a real estate agent to help them. But do you need an agent when purchasing a home as well?
The answer is a resounding YES, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Using a Buyer's Agent (otherwise known as agreeing to a Buyer's Agency with a Buyer's Agent) is one of the best ways to take a lot of stress and work out of the home buying process while ensuring your best interests are being served.
Here are just a few ways that a Buyer's Agent Realtor can help you with one of the most important purchases of your life:
1) Realtors know the process - buying a home is more than just finding what you want; an agent will take you step by step through the entire process: from getting pore-approved at your financial institution to getting an inspection, to picking up your keys on closing day. A realtor will be able to anticipate any bumps along the way and smooth the way to a successful closing.
2) Realtors are negotiating power-houses - an important part of their job is to negotiate the best price they can for you and make sure you don't pay a penny more than you should. Just because a seller is asking a certain price, doesn't mean you have to pay it.
3) Realtors know the contracts - they will go over all the clauses in the contract and explain exactly what you are signing and why. If you don't understand something, a realtor will explain it until you do.
4) Realtors know the neighborhoods - you may find that perfect house, but if you want to know more information about the schools in the area, the crime statistics or what future development may be taking place in that area, your realtor can research this information for you or at least point you in the best direction to find this information.
5) Realtors work in your best interest - When you sign a buyer's agreement with a realtor, they work for you getting you the best price for your dream home.
6) MLS - realtors will be able to tell you as soon as a home comes on the market that is within your specifications. The website that the general public has access to is a few days behind what the realtors have access to. You can receive hot new listings every day before everyone else does. This can give you a significant advantage over other buyers.
7) Your Buyer's agent is your coordinators once you put an offer on a home, they will act as your liaison with your financial institution, your lawyer, and your home inspector. They will make sure that everyone has what they need in order to complete their part of the transaction. They don't stop working until you are moved in to your new home and are satisfied that everything is as it should be. Having a real estate agent by your side has many benefits and they will ensure that you have a smooth, safe, pleasant experience when buying your next home. Don't be afraid to hire an agent when buying a home; it is just as important to have a buyer's agent on your side as it is when selling.
8) As long as the Brokerage or Realtor you use doesn't charge an, "ADMIN," or, "Technology," fee, otherwise known as a, "Junk Fee," and as long as you follow your contract requirements, you normally wouldn't have to pay your Buyer's agent a cent. Realtors are generally paid from the seller, so there is normally nothing out of pocket for you as the buyer - how cool is that? Just make sure you TOTALLY understand any contract you sign with a Broker or Realtor and don't use a 2nd Realtor when you already have a contract for one. Realtors do not get paid until you purchase a home, and they dedicate a fair amount of time and money to each buyer helping them find a home that is a good fit. If you find you can not work with this agent or Broker or you don't think they are working in your best interest anymore, have a talk with them and read your contract for an exit clause. In most cases, it can be worked out in a mutually agreeable way, you just need to be upfront and made sure any buyer representation contact has some sort of an exit clause.
I totally get not wanting to commit or sign any agreements...that is human nature and you should never agree to anything that doesn't feel fair or right to you. However, the reality is that in the state of Minnesota, we need to give you an, "AGENCY DISCLOSURE," early on in any relationship and we should have a, "BUYER'S Representation," contract signed before at the time or before you enter any contract. This is to protect Both sides and to make sure you know your rights as far as representation.
If you not willing or ready to sign something or to agree to anything, it may be difficult for a quality Realtor to devote a ton of time and energy knowing that they may not get paid, that is the simple truth of it.
One good tactic may be to ask for a shorter time-frame on any agreement or the ability to cancel with written notice in the first few weeks and before signing a purchase agreement. This will at least show some commitment to the Realtor and you will have a chance to try someone out before you are, "married," to them for any length of time.
Also, as I said above, make sure to inquire about an, "Admin fee," or any other Broker-related fees when working with an agent, even if you are just going to use the listing agent to represent you as well as the seller. Some companies do charge a $250-$400 fee to anyone they represent (whether buyer or seller) to cover the cost of handling paperwork and misc. office expenses. If you buy a home through the listing agent of that property, many Realtors will just make this part of the contract, so ask SPECIFICALLY about this before signing anything. This fee has never been charged by HWY 212 RE, LLC and never will be - but be sure to ask about any additional fees if you are working with another agent or Brokerage.