What is a Buyers Agent and Do I Need One?
Deciding to purchase a new home is a fun and usually joyous experience. However, because the home represents the biggest investment most of us make, this decision should also be very diligent and serious.
In North Carolina, every real estate agent is required by law to explain agency and provide you with the Working With Real Estate Agents Brochure at the first significant contact. You should never disclose information about yourself or situation to an agent until you understand the relationship of who works for who.
What most homebuyers don’t realize is that agents that represent both buyers and sellers in the same transaction may be working under a conflict of interest. After all, the agent has a legal obligation to protect the seller’s interest. They must get the highest price possible for the seller. Where does that leave you… the buyer?
The following are key differences between the responsibilities of buyer’s agents, traditional dual agents and designated dual agents. Before you begin your home search you should familiarize yourself with the different types of agency and make an educated decision on what type of representation you prefer. It is important to remember that in North Carolina their has to be written consent by both parties in order for a transaction to be conducted under a dual agency or designated dual agency arrangement.
Buyer’s agents: Act solely on behalf of the buyer. Obligated to help you buy a home for the lowest possible price on the best terms and not disclose any confidential information about you without your permission. In order to receive this level of representation, the agent will have you sign an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement.
Dual agents: (usually a listing agent) represents both seller and buyer in the same transaction non-exclusively, in otherwords they act as a referree, ensure everything is disclosed, get buyer and seller to come to a mutual agreement and get them to the closing table. Be careful when you call off a yard sign, that agent represents the seller and will ask questions about your purchasing and financial situation. This helps them negotiate a better deal for the seller should you decide to purchase that property.
Designated dual agents: This agreement covers the instances when you are interested in a listing that is represented by the firm your agent represents, one agent (listing agent) represents the seller and your buyer agent represents you with all the protections of your exclusivity agreement remaining in place throughout the transaction.
2) Providing and Interpreting Market Data
Buyer’s agents: Can provide a complete market analysis of every home you are interested in, interpreting all data for you.
Traditional dual agents: Can only provide the raw data, leaving it up to you, the buyer, to make sense of all of it.
3) Negotiation of Selling Price
Buyer’s agents: Will guide you through the entire negotiation and represent you throughout the negotiation process.
Traditional dual agents: Do not offer advice or guidance to assist during the negotiation. They simply are bound to convey each offer to their seller.
Buyer’s agents: Must disclose any useful information known about the seller to you and keep any sensitive information concerning yourself confidential.
Traditional dual agents: Must disclose material facts about both buyer and seller to the other, there is no exclusivity.
A buyer’s agent is the only agent who can guarantee 100% representation of a buyer’s interests.