Buyer Agent- Does it matter?
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Buying a house is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make in your entire life. It’s not a simple case to find the right home for you and your family; more than anything, buying a house is about making a suitable financial investment on a long-term basis.
Homebuyers typically don’t have in-depth knowledge about the real estate markets where they wish to buy homes. So they need agents to guide them through neighborhoods and find homes that best suit their needs. Before you even put down your earnest money deposit, an exceptional buyer’s agent will have been doing several things for you. That includes searching for the right property and starting the due diligence process when you do.
Some agents specialize in working with buyers. They help their buyer-clients navigate all aspects of the home buying process, from finding homes to choosing the best mortgage companies. One of the major responsibilities of a Buyer Agent is to make sure you don’t buy the WRONG house.
A buyer’s agent should have the right kind of professional experience in finding the right home for you. Experienced agents arrange initial in-person meetings with prospective buyers to find out how committed they are to actually buy homes and to get a feel for whether they have the financial ability to do so. As part of the qualifying process, agents usually ask prospective buyer-clients to sign exclusive buyer agency agreements, which ensure the agents will get paid when their sales transactions close.
Responsibilities of Buyer’s Agent
1. Inform You about the Neighborhood
Choosing your next neighborhood is one of the most fun parts of buying a home, and your agent will play a critical role in educating you about the pros and cons of various neighborhoods. Your agent will help you understand the neighborhood schools, crime rate, transportation options, demographics, nearby restaurants/shops/services, and the trends that are happening in that neighborhood.
2. Perform Due Diligence on the Property
A big part of a Buyer Agent’s role is helping you do your due diligence on the property. That will involve:
Fully investigating the property: going into the scary basement, looking for telltale signs of knob and tube wiring or plumbing, and referring you to outside professionals as necessary. A buyer’s agent who has been in the business for a long time will pick up on common problems, such as a damp basement, roofing problems, and leaks.
Asking the important questions:
> Has the house been treated for termites?
> Have there been any water issues in the basement?
> Were the renovations completed with permits?
> Are there any issues with the neighbors?
> Finding out about the ongoing costs of the property (hydro, heat, water, etc.)
3. Negotiate Price and Contract Terms
The Buyer agent works for the Buyer, so their job is to negotiate the lowest possible price with the best possible terms for the Buyer. The Buyer’s Agent will look at the price history of the homes you’re interested in, and compare the price of homes in the neighborhood, and what’s happening right now in the market. They’ll understand how the differences between properties affect value and will be able to guide you accordingly. Your agent will look to protect you by making your offer conditional on obtaining suitable financing or performing a home inspection and they’ll understand the current local market conditions which might mean having to do that due diligence before the offer.
4. Help you to find the Home
Earlier a Buyer’s Agent’s primary role was to introduce properties to buyers. There were several books that contained all the homes for sale, and if you wanted to buy a house, you hired an agent to find out what was for sale Today you use the internet. Now Buyers identify your needs and play an important role in locating homes. Sometimes that means introducing the perfect home that was overlooked because it didn’t fit the initial criteria or neighborhood or finding an opportunity to buy a house that seemed out of budget. During initial meetings, buyer agents take detailed notes about the kinds of homes their clients are looking for. This allows them to search the MLS and find homes that their clients will be excited to view. What you think you want when you begin your home search is often not what you decide to buy in the end.
A Buyer’s Agent will also:
Help you determine your needs and priorities
Reduce financial surprises by helping you determine the full cost of buying a property and the ongoing costs of owning it
See the potential in a home and suggest ways you can increase the value of your home
Connect you with the best lawyers, lenders, and home inspectors
Be an ongoing resource for connecting you with home professionals to help once you own the home
5. The Value of Contracts
A buyer’s agent will ensure you follow through with any necessary responses required under the contract terms. An excellent agent will keep you informed and on track so you don’t lose any of your escrow funds. There are also several smaller details you need to deal with before you sign on the dotted line. Many of them form part of modern-day contract law. Changing regulations is something else a buyer’s agent will help you with.
6. A Buyer’s Agent: Your Negotiator
Most of us don’t know how to negotiate, and we’re not always that good at it. You may like the seller and don’t want to upset them. This is something that your buyer’s agent can do for you. They have the skill and confidence, to renegotiate the price of the property. It takes both to close a deal.
But Does Who I Hire Matter?
Who you hire to represent you on the purchase of a home MATTERS. Who you choose to work with will impact the choice of the home you buy, the neighborhood you buy it in, and how much you pay. It can mean the difference between:
Overpaying for a home vs paying market value
Unknowingly buying a house that will cost you much in repairs vs knowing before you buy
Losing money on your real estate investment vs being cash-positive