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Speaking directly to a homebuyer about buyer agents

I would like to make a case why you will be best served using a buyer agent. Most homes for sale are sold through a real estate broker. This broker is representing the seller and has contracted with the seller to obtain the best price and the best conditions. If you are a savvy buyer and have the time to go from listing agent to listing agent and research each home that interests you in the context of overall market trends and prices, then you might not need a buyer agent; however, if you don't have the time or you are not up to date with the latest information, then you will do good to obtain a buyer agent.

When a home is listed the seller agrees to pay a commission to the listing agent and offers a split in that commission to any agent who brings a buyer, understanding that the other agent may be representing the buyer. So, in essence, the seller is stating they don't mind if the other agent is representing the buyer as long as a satisfactory purchase agreement is reached. So, in this manner, you, the buyer, receive representation and out of the money you pay to purchase the home, a portion of that goes to the buyer agent through the commission split and you don't have to pay anything extra for representation. If you went straight through the listing agent, you would not have any representation and, in a sense, you would be paying the seller the amount by which the whole commission goes to the listing agent who is representing the seller. This doesn't make sense. It makes sense to have representation.

You have a life and your time is valuable, and home-hunting is a cumbersome process. A buyer agent can handle all the home-search and home-showing details to save you the hassle and time it takes to set all this up. The buyer agent can also research market conditions and changes in certain areas of interest. A profession buyer agent makes it his/her business to understand the market and the trends. A good buyer agent will also have a database of the best vendors needed to complete a successful transactions: lenders, inspectors, attorneys, repair-people, surveyors, etc.

Having a buyer agent who is managing the process allows you to relax and look at homes without the worry of details and without the pressure of a salesperson. When you need vital information, you only need ask the agent and the agent will provide it. While you are working or enjoying your family and free time, the agent is working to manage the home-buying process and informing you of the progress, making suggestions to help the process along, reminding you of the next step to take. It's like having a very proficient assistant. The buyer agent is using specialized knowledge to create a profitable transactions and to remove all the hassle.

The buyer agent can also give you information that provides a different perspective than the marketing information of the listing agent who is representing the seller. Removing the positive marketing spin, a good agent can provide objective information that takes the cons into account along with the pros. Once a home is under contract, the agent can ensure that the terms of the contract are carried out in a timely fashion by following up with inspections, financing, title searches and such.

The big difference is in representation. Many times buyers who go directly through the listing agent will grow to like the listing agent because the agent may be courteous and professional, very likable, and grow comfortable talking openly to the agent, never realizing that confidential information will be reported to the seller, strengthening the seller's position and weaking the buyer's position. This is not underhanded on the listing agent's part, they are doing their job which is representing the seller. The listing agent is also going to do everything they possibily can to hold the deal together for the seller. Again, the listing agent is not being unethical -- the agent merely has an incentive to put all new information in the best light to make the transaction happen because their job is to sell that particular house, and if you, the buyer, leave that deal it might be a long time before a another qualified buyer comes along.

On the other hand, a buyer agent who is representing you will not relay to the seller any information that will hurt your position -- the buyer agent will keep your information confidential unless you expressly state you want the information given to the seller. The buyer agent will also look at all new information objectively and will not be driven to hold that particular deal together if it becomes evident it is not the best deal. Oh, it will be some trouble to the buyer agent to start over, but they know they will be involved in any house you buy, not just that one. And the buyer agent wants you to be pleased because you will tell others what a good job he/she did in representing your best interests.

All in all, it only makes good business sense to use a buyer agent so that you can comfortably discuss buying strategies without the worry of information getting back to the seller, and without the worry of the agent having an incentive to sell a particular home. By developing a good, honest relationship with one buyer agent, you avoid the hassle of being pressured by each listing agent you would have to deal with. Also, you wouldn't go to court and use the other side's attorney. Do yourself a favor and obtain a good buyer agent -- you'll be glad you did. The Savannah real estate market has many options, and changes are happening in areas all over Savannah -- a good buyer agent will be on top it.

Published Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:52 AM by Mike Farmer

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