If you are looking to purchase a new home, you may be wondering where to start. Many people who opt to perform the home search themselves rely on online resources, such as search engines, to look through current listings. However, there is far more involved in choosing and buying a new home than this, and it's difficult to do it effectively without the help of a professional.
That's where a buyer's agent comes in.
You may have heard your friends or relatives use a buyer's agent while searching for a home without knowing what exactly these professionals do. In this guide we will go over what a buyer's agent is, what they do, and how they can help you during your home purchase.Get a Quote
What Is a Buyer's Agent?
A buyer's agent is a type of real estate agent. More specifically, a buyer's agent solely represents the homebuyer's interests.
These professionals possess real estate licenses obtained after completing a real estate course and then passing a real estate exam. This makes them qualified to deal in matters related to real estate.
Such professionals refer to themselves as buyer's agents to demonstrate that their clients are homebuyers. By contrast, an ordinary real estate agent's clients are usually sellers. This means buyer's agents and real estate agents work with opposing parties.
What Does a Buyer's Agent Do?
A buyer's agent performs many activities, each of which aids clients during their home search and eventual home purchase. This includes the following duties.
A buyer's agent presents listings.
A buyer's agent presents their clients with different property listings. These agents have many special resources such as property databases, MLS listings, and a large network of contacts available to them so they can filter out the properties that match their client's preferences quickly.
This means you can browse through many listings that appeal to you and narrow down your choices with little effort. This saves you valuable search time and speeds up the homebuying process significantly.
A buyer's agent provides property investment advice.
Buyer's agents are also equipped with the knowledge and expertise to provide property investment advice. These professionals use their experience to help identify properties that would serve as good investments.
For example, they can spot if a particular property is located in a neighborhood that will be enjoying positive development in the near future, thereby raising its property value. They may also be able to identify if a particular property is undervalued and could potentially be flipped for a higher price in the future.
It's not uncommon for investors to rely on buyer's agents who work with financial advisors to execute large-scale property investment plans.
A buyer's agent determines property values.
As real estate agents, buyer's agents are skilled at determining property values. These professionals conduct what's known as a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine a particular property's value. This process typically entails looking up sale prices for recently sold adjacent or similar properties in the area and then coming up with an estimate accordingly. The buyer's agent will also look over and combine many property factors such as size, location, condition, and features to make final adjustments to their estimate.
Buyer's agents may also use online valuation tools to provide you with a rough property value estimate. This could be useful if you want to learn the actual value of multiple properties you are interested in quickly.
Learning the true property value is important because it allows you to determine whether a particular home seller's asking price is too high and equips you with evidence to negotiate a lower price.
A buyer's agent arranges building inspections.
Buyer's agents don't just help you find property listings—they can also help ensure the property is in good condition. Every home needs to be inspected before a sale is finalized. Such inspections help identify potential issues that may not have been spotted during walkthroughs and which could cause issues for the buyer later.
Most buyer's agents know reliable home inspectors who offer services in the area and can arrange to have them inspect the property. The buyer's agent may also choose to be present during the inspection to represent their client's interests.
Once the inspection is complete, the buyer's agent may help explain any findings to their client and offer a recommendation on whether the property is still worth purchasing.
How Much Do Buyer's Agents Charge?
You might be wondering how buyer's agents charge their clients. These professionals don't charge a direct fee for their services. However, they do split the commission fee with the seller's agent. So they get a portion or the 5%-6% commission fee.
This is a standard practice in the real estate industry, and most homebuyers are willing to pay it because the services that a good buyer's agent provides are deemed worth it.
The Benefits of Using a Buyer's Agent
Here are some qualities you can expect from the best buyer's agents.
They have experience.
Experience is a buyer's agent's most valuable asset. A good buyer's agent will have many years or even decades of experience under their belt. Such agents have spent ample time serving clients and performing duties such as identifying, valuing, and helping inspect properties.
Experienced buyer's agents know what exactly to look for in a good property and can spot red flags that could create problems for the buyers in the future. If your choice is between a buyer's agent who has been in the industry for many years and one who just recently entered the profession, it is best to go with experience.
They have expertise.
All buyer's agents are required to complete a real estate course and then pass a real estate exam to get their license. However, this doesn't mean each one has equal expertise. A particular buyer's agent may be familiar with properties in an area you are interested in purchasing a home in, while another may specialize in finding listings in a different part of the city. For this reason, it is vital to learn whether the buyer's agent possesses expertise in the area you are interested in.
Their reputation is at stake.
Most buyer's agents work hard to build up and maintain a good reputation. They do this by serving their clients well and building trust. This means any buyer's agent with a bad reputation has likely offered their clients a poor experience.
This could be an agent who failed to show up at crucial times, did a poor job of negotiating with the seller, or failed to have the property inspected properly before the purchase.
You can learn about an agent's reputation by looking up reviews online. Similarly, you could contact their previous clients and ask them about their experience with the agent.
How to Find a Good Buyer's Agent
Finding a good buyer's agent can be tricky, so we have outlined a strategy to help you find a suitable agent below.
Consult your friends and family.
If you know someone in your network who has used a buyer's agent in the past, you can ask them about their experience with the agent and whether they recommend their services. This is the fastest way to find a reliable agent.
If this strategy doesn't work, you can move onto the next step.
Check the internet.
Most buyer's agents maintain an online presence in the digital era. This means you should be able to locate many agents who offer services in your area simply by performing a quick web search. You can then browse through the different agents and create a list of, say, the top five who interest you.
Next, you should look up reviews for each agent to determine whether they are reliable. As mentioned earlier, you can also contact their previous clients to learn whether the agent actually lives up to his or her reputation.
Speak with the agent.
The final step is to speak with the buyer's agent. This step is important because it allows you to gauge the agent's expertise in the property area you are interested in.
During your conversation, the buyer's agent may disclose whether they have helped locate properties in the same area. They can also tell you about the special services they offer, such as helping arrange home inspections.
Once you have all this information, you can decide whether the agent is worth hiring.
Final Thoughts on Buyer's Agents
As you can see, buyer's agents play a vital role in the home-buying process. We hope the above guide has helped you understand who these agents are and what they do.Get a Quote