What Is a Buyer’s Agent?
Ready to house hunt? It’s a jungle out there: Prepare for a flurry of paperwork, stampedes of buyers competing for the same digs, and other challenges before you get your hands on those house keys. We won’t lie: The process can be complex and stressful—which is why having a pro by your side can make all the difference.
You might have heard of buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, listing agents, and so on. You’re a buyer, so what is a buyer’s agent? True to their name, buyer’s agents assist home buyers every step of the way; they can also save you tons of time and money on the road to homeownership.
Read on to learn how a buyer’s agent can help.
Benefits of using buyer’s agents
A buyer’s agent will guide you through the home-buying transaction and be at your disposal for any questions or concerns. Here are some of the things a buyer’s agent can do:
- Find the right property. After determining what clients are looking for and what they can afford, the agent will schedule appointments to tour homes that fit the bill. The agent can also explain the ins and outs of various properties and neighborhoods to help buyers decide which home is right for them by explaining the pros and cons of various options.
- Negotiate the offer. The buyer’s agent will advise clients on an appropriate price to offer and present it to the seller’s agent. This is where the agent’s experience in negotiating deals can save you money and help you avoid pitfalls like a fixer-upper that’s more trouble than it’s worth.
- Recommend other professionals. A buyer’s agent should also be able to refer you to reliable mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, home inspectors, movers, and more. This can also help expedite each step of the process and move you to a successful sale all the faster.
- Help overcome setbacks. If the home inspector’s report or appraisal brings new issues to light, a buyer’s agent can advise you on how to proceed, and then act as a buffer between you and the sellers or their agent. If negotiations become heated or hostile, it’s extremely helpful to have an experienced professional keeping calm and offering productive solutions.
Buyer’s vs. listing agent: What’s the difference?
Buyer’s agents are legally bound to help buyers, whereas listing agents—the agent representing the home listing—have a fiduciary duty to the home seller. That’s why it’s in your best interest as a buyer to get an agent who is there to represent you. Think it this way: If you were getting sued, would you hire the same attorney as the person suing you? Of course not. You need someone who will diligently fight for your interests and rights.
Let’s say, for instance, you walked up to the listing agent at an open house and gushed about how you love the home and want to buy it, but you will need to move soon because you’re expecting your second child and need to decorate the nursery pronto, or the lease on your rental is up in a couple of months. A seller’s agent could then use this information against you by informing the seller that your clock is ticking, so they shouldn’t budge too much on their asking price—or at all.
Yet make this same confession to the buyer’s agent you’re working with, and it’s all fine—this professional would know to keep this info private from sellers (and their agents) so it can’t be used against you.