What is a Buyer’s Agent?

Buying a Home is such an exciting process, but it can also be very overwhelming. In MD, DC and VA we have the ability to offer both seller and buyer agency. Buyer agency is special because it means that Realtors may be hired by the purchaser to represent them in the purchase transaction; whereas, in the past, all real estate agents represented only the sellers. Truly a “Buyer Beware” situation!BuyersBeware_SellerRealtorNotWorkingForYou

Most clients are curious about how a real estate agent is paid. Generally, sellers pay the commission (unless negotiated and agreed to by both parties as a part of the sales contract – this is rare). When an agent creates a contract with a seller to be their exclusive listing agent, the seller agrees in the listing contract to pay a certain amount of commission (a percentage of the sales price) to the listing agent’s Broker (e.g. – Long & Foster in my case); it is also agreed in the listing contract as to how that commission will be split with a buyer’s agent’s Broker.  Commissions are never paid directly to agents; instead, at settlement, the commission is paid to the Broker, and then, depending on the split arrangement the agent has with their Broker, the agent gets a portion of the fee.

It is important for buyers to understand that loyalty to your agent (as long as your agent is doing a good job) is greatly appreciated because real estate agents are independent contractors (self-employed) under a brokerage, and real estate agents (not their brokers), pay their own business costs (e.g. – car, gas, marketing, licensing, education, etc.) so your agent has a lot invested in working with you beyond their time, energy and care.

A real estate agent can show you properties from any brokerage, not just their own so there is no need to contact multiple agents.  Once you have found an agent that “clicks” with you, they can do it all!

Ultimately, buying a home is 100% your decision to make, however, it can be extremely useful to have a professional on your side to assist you through the process: leading you to a lender for loan pre-qualification; searching for a home; making an offer; negotiating the offer; ratifying the contract (both sides agreeing on all offer terms); staying on top of contract contingencies to protect you (e.g. – home inspection, etc.); and finally, helping you to land successfully at the settlement table where you will get the keys to your new home.

Your agent will be your facilitator and guide to resources throughout the home buying process. Most importantly, a good buyer’s agent is there to save you money by advising you on the latest market data of comparable sales so that you may make an educated offer and your agent will serve your best interests (& only yours) throughout the negotiations.

Buying a home is the largest purchase you will ever make so it makes sense to have a professional on your side to represent your best interests.