A real estate transaction is a complex process involving stacks of paperwork and a number of outside service providers and contractors.
An experienced buyer’s agent can guide you through the process, answering your questions and serving as your advocate (see the Anatomy of a Home Purchase). Your agent will help you find the property that fits your needs, submit offers and counteroffers, suggest a good property inspector and other professionals, and provide all sorts of relevant advice.
With a buyer’s agent, you’ll have someone on your side, looking out for your interests every step of the way.
When seeking out a buyer’s agent, look for factors such as productivity, education and experience.
Look for an agent who understands your lifestyle. Make sure the agent knows the neighborhoods you’re interested in, and can answer questions you’ll have about the location.
What are the costs involved in hiring a buyer’s agent?
As a buyer, you don’t pay your agent directly. Instead, the agent receives an agreed-upon portion of the listing agent’s sales commission (usually about half), which is paid by the seller.
If you’re thinking this structure works against you by giving your buyer’s agent an incentive to let you pay more than you need to, consider this:
The increase in a buyer’s agent commission on, say, a $5,000 to $10,000 jump in price would be only $125 to $250. Good buyer’s agents – those who are productive and engaged in the business full time – aren’t going to risk their reputations. Your satisfaction – which can generate referrals to your friends and family – is the lifeblood of their careers.