What Does a Buyer's Agent Do?
If you’re looking to buy a new home, chances are you don’t have a full understanding of the local real estate market. Nor are you likely to possess the skill set needed to assess different properties, negotiate a home sale, and navigate intricate local real estate laws. That's why many people choose to hire a buyer agent. They can act as a guide to help you find the right property for you, negotiate for a fair price, and smooth out any difficulties in the buying process. Furthermore, they provide you with a series of fiduciary duties to ensure that your best interests are always protected. Here's an overview of the responsibilities of a buyer agent.
Help Buyers Find the Right Property
All buyer agents start their search by first finding out what a buyer's needs are and what they can afford. They then comb through listing websites and make inquiries to narrow down the search to properties that match your criteria. The best agents keep their fingers on the pulse by keeping an eye on the hottest properties and by reviewing daily market activity reports. This is where their knowledge of the local real estate market really comes in handy. Once they have a list of potential properties, they’ll handle all contacts with the sellers and arrange for a viewing.
Educate Their Clients on the Buying Process
When the buyers understand the buying process the agent’s job is made a lot easier. Depending on what type of property you’re looking for (condo, co-op, single-family home) the buying process will be a little different. State laws will also vary depending on where you’re buying. A good agent will have a list of brochures and leaflets to explain every part of the buying process you need to know about. A great agent will have their own customized content to explain your own unique situation and what you need to be ready for. They’ll also explain the legal and real estate lingo and answer any questions you have.
Walk You Through Each Property
Once it’s time to start viewing properties your agent will prepare everything ahead of time. They’ll give you an information packet on each property that explains what you need to know about it. They’ll then walk you through it, point out good features, and potential red flags such as maintenance issues. Remember, the buyer’s agent works only for you, not the seller. Any advice they give is meant to help you make the best decision for you. They have a duty to disclose all facts relevant to the transaction and maintain full loyalty to your interests.
Submit and Negotiate an Offer on your Behalf
Once you're settled on what property you want to purchase, your agent will advise you the best offer price to make. This offer price will be based on the current market value of the property as well as the agent's own feel for what the sellers are likely to accept. If this offer is met with a counteroffer then your agent will negotiate on your behalf to help secure the best deal for you. If an agreement is reached then a purchase contract will be signed and the buying process can begin.
Refers You to Reliable Professionals
The buying process requires the help of a number of professionals. You’ll need a home inspector to check for any problems with the property. Some states require that an attorney be present to close any real estate sale. If you need a mortgage then you'll need a mortgage broker. Then there are the professionals you may need after the purchase such as contractors and architects if you're planning on any renovations. Your buyer agent will have a list of reputable local experts that they can recommend you. They can then schedule these people and handle all communication and necessary documentation.
What are Some Other Buyer's Agent Duties?
- Listen and answer all your questions and concerns
- Help you determine your needs and priorities
- Handle all documentation and paperwork
- Handle due diligence if no attorney is present
- Provide advice to help you with mortgage approval
- Help resolve any issues between the buyer and seller such as a bad inspection report
- Make sure homeowners insurance policy is in place
- Provide accurate contracts for utility transfers
- Review all documents before presenting them for signing
- Work as an impartial advisor to help you keep your eye on the ball and avoid emotional decisions
All this and more are what a buyer agent can do for you. If you want the very best in service, then make sure you go with an exclusive buyer agent.