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Using a Buyer's Agent Reap the Financial Benefits of Experience at No Cost!
A buyer´s agent is someone who agrees to fulfill certain duties to the buyer by entering into an agency relationship with him or her. If you are buying a home, this relationship offers many advantages. You want to make sure that your interests are protected throughout the transaction, and you can best achieve that by hiring experienced agent to act as your sole representative.
Having a buyer´s agent represent you throughout a purchase is like having a sophisticated negotiator on your side. There is no difference in compensation between hiring a sales agent or hiring a buyer´s agent. Thus, you should certainly get the best representation and protection.
Buyer agency emerged in the 1980s as a way for agents to provide better service to their clients. Agency laws had, in the past, generally offered many protections to sellers while leaving buyers to their own devices. Most people believed -- and laws were often written to reflect this - that because the seller was paying the only commission on the transaction, that person´s interests should be paramount. Unfortunately, at times, this system left buyers without adequate representation.
In response to this dilemma, agents and homebuyers across the country began to lobby for legislation to ensure that buyers had equal access to quality representation. These agency laws gave buyers access to individual representation without the potential problem of the agent having fiduciary duties to the seller. This is known as "sub-agency." Some of the duties of a buyer´s agent include informing prospective homebuyers of anything wrong with a house and providing information about the neighborhood and the real estate transaction itself. A buyer´s agent has no fiduciary duties to the seller. In fact, a buyer´s agent is legally obligated both to keep your information confidential and to represent only your interests in the transaction.
A buyer´s agent is better educated and prepared to research a wide selection of properties to ensure that you make a good purchase. The agent looks at the total purchasing process so that your best interests are represented as you select a house that meets your needs in regard to location, price and style.
Another benefit of hiring a buyer´s agent is assistance in negotiating in a competitive real estate market. Without question, the real estate market in the last few years has undergone a tremendous change in the way homes are bought and sold. Low interest rates and loan programs that are easy to qualify for have created a highly competitive market for homebuyers. Having a buyer´s agent can be very useful if you are trying to obtain the Best Price and Terms in today's fluctuating markets. An agent can help you structure an offer in such a way that it will get more attention -- for example, with better terms, fewer contingencies or a price that meets both your needs and those of the seller.
A buyer´s agent can also be useful as a referral source for home inspectors and mortgage lenders. Buyer´s agents have access to the names of qualified people that work to make sure that you are well represented in all aspects of a real estate transaction. Once again, the buyer´s agent examines the entire transaction and acts as your personal representative from the first interview to the final closing date.
In short, when you are buying a house, you may choose to work with a buyer´s agent. You would sign a contract with the agent agreeing to work with them exclusively for a limited period of time. In return, the agent would agree to act on your behalf, which entails the following legal responsibilities:
To exercise reasonable care and diligence; buyer is subject to a contract for purchase.
To deal honestly and in good faith;
To present all written offers, written notices and other written communications to and from the parties in a timely manner without regard to whether the property is subject to a contract for sale or the buyer is already a party to a contract to purchase;
To disclose material facts known by the buyer´s agent and not apparent or readily ascertainable to a party;
To account in a timely manner for money and property received from or on behalf of the buyer;
To be loyal to the buyer by not taking action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer´s interest in a transaction;
To disclose in a timely manner to the buyer any conflict of interest, existing or contemplated;
To advise the buyer to seek expert advice on matters related to the transaction that are beyond the agent´s expertise;
To maintain confidential information from or about the buyer except under subpoena or court order, even after termination of the agency relationship; and
Unless agreed otherwise in writing, to make a continuous, good faith effort to find property for the buyer
Note, though, that a buyer´s agent may show properties in which you are interested to other prospective buyers without breaching an affirmative duty to you. It is also important to remember that a buyer´s agent does not represent the seller, even if the buyer´s agent receives compensation, either in full or in part, from the seller or through the seller´s agent.
We're All About Service and Results
Pat Paulas, Drew Paulas and Associates, Realtors Loudoun County Real Estate and West Fairfax County Real Estate
Prudential PenFed's TeamWorks 11864 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 101 • Reston, Virginia 20191 703.909.6333 e-mailtheTeam@eLoudounHomes.com
Real Estate: The Ins & Outs Our Continuing Series on How it All Works.