A Full Service Professional
Home sellers may be lured by the promises of agents that offer to list and sell your home for a discount commission. But consider the advantages of using a full service broker who will represent your best interests in the transaction without cutting corners.
A full service real estate broker will be informed about the current trends in your local market. He or she will share valuable information about the selling price of comparable properties, to help you determine a realistic price for your home. If your home needs repair prior to listing, a reputable local contractor will be recommended. Buyers will be pre-qualified and personally escorted through your home. After showing your house, your broker will give you feedback from buyers and agents, negotiate the price and terms of the purchase contract when an offer comes in, schedule the home inspection and coordinate the closing.
You may not receive adequate professional or personal attention if the agent feels they owe you less because you are paying them less. It is to your advantage to engage the full services of a real estate broker who will give 100 percent to guide you through the complex process of selling your home.
Homebuyers who use the Internet to start their home search may be lured by the promises of realty companies advertising "one-stop shopping" guaranteed to meet all your housing needs. But before you sign up with an online company, consider the benefits of meeting personally with a real estate agent or broker who can represent your best interests in the transaction.
A full service real estate broker will be informed about the current trends in your local market. He or she will personally show you properties that satisfy your unique requirements. When you want to discuss your options for a home mortgage loan, your broker will refer you to a reputable mortgage professional who can help you choose a loan that meets your specific needs. Your broker will have a working relationship with home inspectors and homeowner's insurance companies whose professional integrity they can vouch for. Online "one-stop" companies profit from handling all aspects of a transaction, but the homebuyer may not receive adequate personal attention or get the best deal. It is to your advantage to engage the services of a real estate agent or broker, because their sole motive is to protect and guide you during the complex process of buying property.
Best Interests of the Buyer
Who represents the homebuyer in the transaction? The most common scenario is for homebuyers to purchase a home with the help of the seller's listing agent. In this case, known as "dual agent representation," the real estate agent assists both the sellers and the buyers. However, it is also possible for the buyers to ask another realtor to represent their interests exclusively, acting as the "buyer's agent," a service which is available at no additional cost to the homebuyer.
Any licensed real estate agent can act as your buyer's agent, helping you to locate and look at properties in your price range. However, if that real estate agent works for the same brokerage that is listing a particular property, dual agency or designated agent rules will then apply. The buyer's agent will advise the buyer if issues arise such as termite damage or significant material defects appearing on the home inspection report. If the home appraisal comes in at less than the asking price, the agent will represent the buyer's interest, working with the seller and the lender to negotiate a satisfactory resolution.
Building With Help From Brokers
Did you know that, for no additional cost, you can be represented by a real estate broker in conjunction with purchasing a home from a builder? Homebuilders are accustomed to working with real estate brokers and often their commission is already covered in their marketing and promotion costs. A broker can provide objectivity and guidance in designing your home and help you select amenities that will lead to a more advantageous resale. He or she can help coordinate the sale of your present home and the closing of the new one. Many brokers offer guaranteed home sale programs so that when your new home is finished, the real estate company will buy your previous home at a pre-agreed price to prevent you from owning two homes at one time; and can usually arrange the occupancy agreeable to all parties. Take advantage of using your real estate broker in conjunction with building your new home at no additional cost.
In the history of the real estate industry, there has been a single approach to working with a real estate agent. If you wanted to purchase a home, an agent showed you properties on behalf of the sellers of those homes. As a buyer, you were not represented by anyone other than yourself. Negotiation over price and terms were entirely your responsibility.
Now there is another way to handle buying property. With buyer agency, your real estate sales associate acts on your behalf in all negotiations. That agent is committed to being your advocate in finding and purchasing your next home, and at no cost to you.
In many cities across the United States, buyer agency is used in the majority of home purchases. With buyer agency, all fiduciary duties are owed to the buyer, not to the seller. The buyer has the freedom to discuss personal finances, negotiating strategies and the value of properties with their buyer agent. The buyer can ask for the opinion of the buyer agent regarding the condition of the property, the effect of improvements, the seller's motivation for selling and a variety of other information thar the seller's agent cannot provide.
Buying Out Of State
People who are moving to another state are usually concerned about how they will be able to monitor the purchase or sale of a home across state lines. Your local real estate agent can assist you in the process of buying or selling property out-of-state.
The National Association of Realtors is a nation-wide network of real estate sales professionals, similar to the local Association of Realtors. Almost every real estate professional is who is a member of the local association is also a member of the national organization. This professional affiliation among real estate agents all across the country works to your advantage when you buy or sell out-of-state property.
Your local real estate agent can contact an agency in the area where you want to buy or sell. When the relationship with the out-of-state real estate agent is established, your agent can coordinate arrangements by selecting houses for your consideration and helping you to strike a deal when you have made a selection. Having a local sales professional to help you work out any problems that may arise is a real plus.
What happens when you are interested in purchasing property that is being sold by the same real estate agency in charge of your buying needs? You may have concerns about a dual buyer/seller agent. Will this form of agency protect your interests, or that of the seller? Will you as buyer be able to share confidential information about your needs?
In states where dual agency is legal, the real estate agent will serve the needs of both parties fully, because good business practices and professional integrity require honesty and fairness. If a buyer and seller are both represented by the same agency, they will be asked to sign a dual agent contract acknowledging the affirmative obligations of the real estate agent. Neither party should fear being shortchanged because the other party's interests will come first. Because the real estate agent will honor the code of confidentiality, both parties may share sensitive information without undue anxiety.
A reputable real estate agency will help to reach a satisfactory outcome to negotiations for both parties in the transaction.
Which party in a real estate transaction is represented by the real estate agent--the buyer or the seller? Until recently that question was never asked because the answer was always the same. Traditionally all the marketing professionals involved in real estate transactions were legally and ethically obligated to conduct business on behalf of the seller. They may have aided the buyer in certain situations, but their client was the seller. Today that is not necessarily the case.
Real Estate Agent Representation
In a time of increasing specialization, buyers can be represented by a real estate agent who functions solely as a buyer's broker. In this case, the sales professional helps the buyer locate a home, negotiate the price, and is responsible to the buyer only, for an agreed-upon fee or a percentage commission.
In any real estate transaction you have the right to know which party the real estate agent is representing.
Who Pays the Commission
Does it cost the homebuyer more to be represented by a buyer's agent who serves their interests exclusively? No, because the listing agent splits the sales commission, which is customarily paid by the seller of the home, with the buyer's agent. The sales commission split is usually 50-50, but the listing agent and buyer's agent will sometimes make another agreement and split the commission unequally.
There is one very unusual circumstance in which the homebuyer might pay a commission to their buyer's agent. The real estate agent might show the buyer a local "for sale by owner" (FSBO) home which the client decides to purchase. In most cases, the FSBO seller who is presented with a qualified buyer is glad to pay the buyer's agent a reduced fee of about 3 percent, or half of a normal sales commission. But the FSBO seller could stubbornly refuse to pay the buyer's agent any commission whatsoever. In that case, the buyer's agent would legitimately expect the buyer to pay the sales commission, in fair exchange for the agent finding the FSBO home and negotiating a successful transaction.