Buying Your Home - Working With a Real Estate Agent
1Can I use an agent for a new home?
Yes, however buyers should be aware of the differences inherent in working with sales agents who are employed by the developer, rather than traditional real estate agents. Builders commonly require that an outside agent be present, and sign in, the first time a prospective purchaser visits a site before payment of commission even is discussed. At times when buyers use an advertisement to find the development themselves first, builders can refuse to pay any commission regardless of how helpful an agent may become later in the process. It is advisable to call the development first and inquire about their policy on compensating real estate agents if you are using one.
2How do I find a real estate agent?
Getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good agent. Be sure to ask if they would use the agent again. You also can call the managers of reputable real estate firms and ask them for recommendations of agents who have worked in your neighborhood. In any case, whether you are a buyer or a seller, you should look for an agent that works full time with a locally sponsored broker. Remember you don't just hire the agent, you hire the resources of the entire firm. If you are a seller, you should expect to review a comparative market analysis, which includes recent home sale prices in your area, when you talk to a prospective agent.
3What about a buyer's agent?
In many states, it's now common for an agent to represent the buyers exclusively in the transaction and be paid a commission by the sellers. While buyer's agents get paid buy the seller their fiduciary obligation is still to their client. Make sure you ask about the buyer's representation agreement so you know your interests are protected.
4How do you find a good agent?
Getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good agent, whether you are a buyer or a seller. Be sure to ask if they would use the agent again. You also can call the managers of reputable real estate firms and ask them for recommendations of agents who have worked in your neighborhood. A good agent typically works full-time and has a locally sponsored broker. If you are a buyer, you don't usually pay for your agent's services (in the form of a commission, or percentage of the sales price of the home). All agents in a transaction usually are paid by the seller from the sales proceeds. You also can hire and pay for your own agent, known as buyer's brokers, whose legal obligation is exclusively to you. This is not a common practice in Texas, but if there is no seller compensation being offered and you need to be represented it's an excellent option. The best choice isn't always the agent with the highest asking price for your home. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the agent's marketing plan and how well you think you can work with the individual. Pay attention to the comparative sales. Overpricing your property when it first hits the market is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
5How much does my real estate agent need to know?
Real estate agents would say that the more you tell them, the better they can negotiate on your behalf. However, the degree of trust you have with an agent may depend upon their legal obligation. In Texas an agent can not represent a buyer without a buyer representation agreement. It's also mandated by law that any licensee present any potential customer with the Information on Brokerage Services, which discloses the various types of agent/client relationships.
- In a traditional relationship, real estate agents and brokers have a fiduciary relationship to the seller. Be aware that the seller pays the commission of both brokers, not just the one who lists and shows the property, but also to the buyer's broker, who brings the ready, willing and able buyer to the table. As long as you have a buyer representation agreement with your buyer's agent there is no conflict of interest to worry about.
- Intermediary exists if two agents working for the same broker represent the buyer and seller in a transaction. A potential conflict of interest is created if the listing agent has advance knowledge of another buyer's offer. Therefore, the law states that an intermediary agent shall not disclose to the buyer that the seller will accept less than the list price, or disclose to the seller that the buyer will pay more than the offer price, without express written permission.
- A buyer also can hire his or her own agent who will represent the buyer's interests exclusively. A buyer's agent usually must be paid out of the buyer's own pocket but the buyer can trust them with financial information, knowing it will not be transmitted to the other broker and ultimately to the seller or if the property is for sale by owner.
6Where can I get information on buyer agents?
Contact Us today to get a free consultation on what our buyer agents can do for you!