House hunting and home buying are two popular activities in spring and summer. The thrill of seeking until you find just the right property can be a lot of fun. But it’s also a lot of work if you try to do it on your own. If you are in the market to buy a house, you might be wondering, “What is a buyer’s agent that I keep hearing about?”
The house buying process takes a lot of navigation. Having a home buyer’s agent on your side is critical to making sure you have the protection you deserve. Reach out to Julia Monaghan Real Estate Group to talk about how we can help on your journey to homeownership in Portland, OR and the surrounding areas.
What Is a Buyer’s Agent?
In any real estate transaction, there is a buyer and a seller. Each party has interests to protect in the process, so a buyer’s agent is the realtor who is responsible to the buyer. They do not represent the seller.
The person selling the property is responsible for paying the buyer’s agent and listing agent. When the transaction closes, both realtors receive their fees. As the buyer, this is not on your plate.
When you have an agent on your side, they work for you. They advocate for you and offer advice throughout the process. The seller should have their own agent so that there is no conflict of interest.
Occasionally, one realtor may handle both sides of the transaction. This situation is called dual-agency, and it is illegal in many states because of the inherent disadvantage for the buyer. Having a dedicated home buyer’s agent is the best way for you to go when you are ready to house hunt.
What Does a Buyer’s Agent Do?
When you are purchasing a house, your buyer’s agent will have your back. They work for you and your interests as you prepare to make this significant purchase. Buying a home is usually the biggest investment people make, so having an expert on your team is vital.
When you work with a buyer’s agent, here is what you can expect them to do for you.
1. Do the Research
Your agent should take the time to learn all about your desired area and neighborhoods. Their research into homes on the market will help them select excellent options for you to view in person.
In addition to learning all about the choices available, a buyer’s agent must take time to learn all about you. An expert realtor will spend plenty of time getting to know you and what your needs are. By taking the time to learn about you, they will be able to guide the house search much more effectively.
Having an excellent buyer’s agent on your side helps to narrow the search, so you don’t waste time. Your realtor will take the time to learn enough about the available properties to know if they fit your needs or not. They will not drag you around to houses that are not in your budget or that don’t fit your parameters.
2. Negotiate and Advocate
It’s unlikely that you are a real estate expert. But your buyer’s agent certainly should be. It is their role to help you understand each step of the process, especially once you make an offer on a home.
From the time you place an offer until closing day can feel like a whirlwind of signing documents. It can be confusing and overwhelming even when each step goes smoothly. Your buyer’s agent is always on your side during this time.
They will make sure you have protection from the moment you submit an offer to the seller. They will answer your questions and advise you on all of your options at each step.
One of the most challenging parts of buying a home is the negotiation to get into contract. Sellers naturally want the highest price possible. Just as naturally, buyers want the lowest price they can get. The actual number will be somewhere in the middle.
But getting to that point is nerve-wracking if you don’t have an expert to handle it for you. Your agent will work through the negotiations with you and will be your advocate. They can help you understand addendums and changes that may arise after the inspection. They do all the presenting of offers and counteroffers so that you can simply sign when needed.
3. Navigate Setbacks
Not every real estate transaction happens smoothly. The road to homeownership can be twisty and bumpy at times. But your buyer’s agent will help you handle these hiccups so that your interests have the protection they need.
Your realtor will be by your side to help you handle:
- Multiple Offer Situations
- Heated Negotiations
- Repair Requests
- Contractor Referrals
- Closing Day
Unless you are an experienced home buyer or real estate investor, the process can feel overwhelming. You need a highly-qualified home buyer’s agent walking alongside you.
How Are Buyer’s Agents and Listing Agents Different?
A listing agent represents the seller. Their loyalty and obligation are to the person selling the property. So while a buyer’s agent actively seeks properties to show the buyer, the listing agent actively markets the property. A listing agent is like the flip side of the realtor coin. They have the seller’s back.
How Do You Choose a Buyer’s Agent?
No matter which side of the aisle a real estate agent is on, they hold the same necessary credentials. These requirements are the minimum for maintaining a license to practice. But those who specialize in one or the other usually take further training on that side of the process.
When you are ready to buy a house, you should interview at least three agents before choosing one. Here are some questions to ask as you make your selection.
- How long have you been practicing real estate?
- What percentage of your transactions are as a buyer’s agent?
- How well do you know our target area?
- How do I best communicate with you? Text, call, email?
- How quickly do you respond to messages and questions?
- What hours are you available?
- If I hire you, will I be working with you, or someone else on your team?
The last three questions in this list are critical. Some agents will not work on weekends or in the evening. They have banker’s hours. While that may work for some buyers, it doesn’t work for most. Be sure you ask how available the agent will be so that you can see houses on a schedule that fits your needs.
And definitely clarify who will actually be your agent once you agree to work with them. Many “high-end” realtors go through the meeting with a buyer and then hand them off to someone else entirely. Find out who will be representing you and make sure you get to meet them before making a decision.
Some real estate agents have a balanced mix of representing sellers and buyers. Others work much more heavily on one side or the other. If you are a buyer, look for someone with plenty of experience as a buyer’s agent. Ask for referrals and follow up on them. You need to be sure you choose someone who will go to bat for you every step of the way.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, consider your gut feelings, too. As you interview agents, it is vital to pay attention to who you connect with as you talk. Without a personal feeling of trust and connectedness, you could have a hard time working with a particular agent.
Get an Expert on Your Team
So what is a buyer’s agent? They are your best friend when you’re buying a house. Don’t start this process alone. If you’re ready to begin your home search in the Portland, OR area, reach out to Julia Monaghan Real Estate Group today.