Thanks to the internet, we live in an age with an almost infinite amount of information at our fingertips. Websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are custom made for home buyers and sellers to do their own research. Because of this access, some potential home buyers believe that they no longer need a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is a real estate agent that can help a buyer find and purchase a home.
Here are five ways that a buyer’s agent can bring value to your home search:
#1 They’re pros (literally) at shopping for homes.
An experienced real estate agent will know what to look for when shopping for homes. They can point out red flags that you may not know/remember to look for. Some of these items include: hazardous power lines or trees, construction, busy streets, noisy neighbors, etc. They can also point you to the nearest schools, shopping centers, freeways, and public transportation. If you really love the home, your buyer’s agent will know the right questions to ask the listing agent in order to submit the strongest offer.
#2 Three Little Words… “Off Market Deals”
Your buyer’s agent will have knowledge of “pocket listings” or “coming soons” that are not advertised or will not be advertised until a certain date. This gives you an advantage to preview the home before the general public. Depending on the strength of your offer, the home might never even make it to market before -BOOM- it’s yours! On a less dramatic note, sites like Zillow do not necessarily reflect the most up-to-date and accurate information. Agents need to manually go in and update the status of their listing, and sometimes (purposely or not) they leave a “sold” property marked as “active.” Your buyer’s agent has access to the MLS, where they can check the status of a listing in REAL TIME.
#3 Access to any home at any time.
With a buyer’s agent, you don’t have to wait until Sunday’s open house to view the home of your dreams. Realtors that are members of the local MLS (multiple listing system) have access to lockboxes in the county(ies) they are registered. Typically, a seller will keep a key in the lockbox that real estate agents can access when they are doing private showings. These showings can be set up with as little as 1 hour notice or sometimes even immediately! If you are coming from a distance, it is a good idea to set up a few properties to be seen during a larger block of time so you don’t have to make multiple trips to the area. A good buyer’s agent will do their best to accommodate you and what works best with your schedule.
#4 It’s FREE to you as a buyer!
A broker’s commission is negotiated at the time the selling agent takes a listing. That commission is, generally, then split in half: 50% to the seller’s agent and 50% to the buyer’s agent. The seller is entirely responsible for paying the commission to both the listing and buyer’s agent.
#5 Loyalty and fiduciary duty to YOU.
It is always great to have someone on your side (in any situation). Your buyer’s agent will look out for your best interests throughout the entire process, from searching for properties to negotiating the contract and closing of escrow. Your buyer’s agent has a fiduciary duty to you and is your trusted adviser for what will probably be your biggest and most important investment. Your buyer’s agent is there to add value to your life. Now go out there and find a good one!