Here’s the funny thing about being a buyer in today’s real estate market, you have a tremendous amount of information at your fingertips. You can search online at any of hundreds of websites for the house that fits your parameters. You can look for a three bedroom, two bath and 1,200 square feet or more, in this price range, in this zip code and know exactly what’s available.
Many times, if you’re an active buyer, you will see it before your agent does. So you may ask yourself, “Why should I work with a real estate agent at all?”
Well, the truth is, real estate agents choose sides. If the other party has an agent, and you don’t, then you have no one in your corner to make sure you aren’t getting taken advantage of.
When you hire a real estate broker to represent you, you are choosing someone to be on your side. They are professional. When they contract with you, they are saying, “I have a fiduciary responsibility to you. I am going to put your interests above my own in everything that’s related to this transaction, even if that means walking away and saying goodbye to a property.” Which means the agent doesn’t get paid.
Remember, the agent doesn’t get paid unless you close on a property. So the agent is essentially working for free (on spec) all the time that she’s working with you until she gets paid when you consummate a transaction. This is why if you find a house that you like and you find the broker, let’s say you call the name on the sign in the front of the house, that is the broker who has chosen the side of the seller. He is there investing his money, putting up the sign, putting up the ads, and has told the seller, “I’m on your team.”
So he’s already chosen a side and it’s not your side. He can still work with you. He can still sell you the house. In order to do that, he needs to adopt what’s called dual agency, dual for two. So he’s representing the seller and he’s representing you. That means he can’t necessarily give either of you the best service. So the preference is to let him represent the seller and for you, as the buyer, to choose a different agent to work with, someone who’s going to be 100% on your side.
When you do that, the nice thing for you is that there’s no extra cost to you. If you imagine that a typical seller agrees to, say, a 6% sales commission, then, let’s say, the guy with a sign in the yard has signed an agreement with the seller that when the home sells they’re going to pay a 6% commission. Typically, that’s divided in half or half of it will go to the guy with the sign in the yard and half it will go to the buyer’s agent. If the buyer doesn’t have an agent and you just work with the guy with the sign in the yard, he will get the full 6%. If you have your own agent, he’ll get 3% and your agent will get 3%. That’s how your agent gets paid for representing you. So as much as the guy with a sign in the yard would love to double his commission and get 6%, it doesn’t matter to the seller in the sense that they don’t get more money if you work with him. The seller still has to pay 6% regardless. But you get to use the seller’s money, essentially, to buy someone to represent you and protect your interests.
So when it comes to negotiating on the best price, when it comes to looking at your inspection contract and finding out what’s wrong with the house and asking the seller to fix those things, when it comes time to negotiate any kind of extensions or overcome any kind of problems, your agent will be representing your best interests, and he will not have that confusion between representing the seller and representing you. So I think it’s a no-brainer to work with a real estate agent as a buyer. And if you need a real estate agent or if you have questions about doing that, you’re welcome to call my office. HomePro Associates does have people who specialize in working with buyers, and we would be happy to put you in touch with someone who’s a good fit for your personality, your schedule in your part of town. And then we can all work together as a team to make sure you’re getting the best advice when it comes to those negotiating aspects.
My name is Emily Cressey. I’ve put together a team called HomePro Associates. Our goal is just to make your real estate transaction easy. We strive to deliver concierge-level service and bring to bear our knowledge, our negotiation skill, our communication, our technology, and our best practices in this bucket of experience to make things smooth. We want it to be a smooth, simple transaction. We’ll be paddling like crazy under the water but above, your experience, things should go very smoothly. We hang our license at HomeSmart, who has offices in Seattle and Bellevue and Lynnwood, Washington. We’re looking forward very much to meeting you soon.