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How To Work With A Buyers Agent
When buying or selling a house most people will find themselves in need of a real estate agent. Knowing how they operate will help you benefit the most from the relationship.
Here are a few simple rules you can use while shopping for a home that will keep you out of hot water:
1. Understand Agents Work on Commission
Most real estate agents are paid commission. If an agent does not close a transaction, she does not get paid.
Agents are not public servants and do not work for free. Do not ask an agent to work for you if you intend to cut the agent out of your deal or buy the home from a friend or distant relative.
2. Choose A Real Estate Agent
Hiring a buyers agent does not cost you a dime and can be one of the best ways to find the home of your dreams. Real Estate agents know the market and offer a ton of advice from the best mortgage lenders to home inspectors.
Interview agents to find one that you are comfortable with. Your agent will send you the current listings and show you homes. All they ask in return is for your loyalty.
3. Do Not Call The Listing Agent if You Are Working With a Buying Agent
Listing agents work for the seller, not the buyer. If you hire the listing agent to represent you, that agent will now be working under dual agency.
If listing agents show you the property, the listing agent will expect to represent you.
Listing agents do not want to do the buying agent's job. Let your buyer's agent do her job.
4. Practice Open House Protocol
When visiting an open house or new home development let the agent on duty know that you have a buyers agent. Sometimes this agent will be the listing agent, but often it is an agent also looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you and your agent.
Do not ask the open house host questions about the seller or the seller's motivation. Let your agent ask those questions for you.
5. Sign a Buyer's Broker Agreement with a Buying Agent
Expect to sign a buyer's broker agreement. It creates a relationship between you and the agent, and explains the agent's duties to you and vice versa.
Ask about the difference between an Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Buyer's Broker Agreement.
If you're not ready to sign a buyer's broker, do not ask that agent to show you homes. Otherwise, procuring cause may pop up.
Ask your agent if she will release you from the contract if you become dissatisfied. If she refuses, hire somebody else.
6. Always Ask For and Sign an Agency Agreement
By law, agents are required to give buyers an Agency Disclosure.
Signing an agency disclosure is your proof of receipt. It is solely a disclosure. It is not an agreement to agency. Read it.
The best and most practiced type of agency is the single agency. This mean you are represented by your own agent who owes you a fiduciary responsibility.
7. Make Your Expectations Known
If you expect your agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell her. Many will provide that service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office.
Let your agent know how you want her to communicate with you and how often. Do you want phone calls, e-mails, text messages, IM's or all of the above?
Set realistic goals and a time frame to find your home. Ask your agent how you can help by supplying feedback.
If you are displeased, say so.
8. Do Not Sign Forms You Do Not Understand
Do not feel silly for asking your agent to explain a form to you. It is her job. Many forms are second nature to agents but not to you, so ask for explanations until you are satisfied you understand.
Realize agents are not lawyers and cannot interpret law.
9. Be Ready To Buy
If you aren't ready to buy, you don't need a real estate agent. You can go to open houses by yourself; call listing agents for showings -- but be honest, say you are "only shopping"; look at homes online; but don't waste an agent's time if you aren't ready to act.
Get pre-qualified for a mortgage. You will be ready to write an offer when you find the right house.
Bring your checkbook. You'll need it to write an offer because an earnest money deposit may be required to accompany your purchase offer.
Judy Griffin is a Broker Associate with Keller Williams Realty , BK3033539, in Destin, Florida.
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