The Facts About Working With a Buyer's Agent
When you decide you want to buy a house, there are certain steps to take. One of the first steps is choosing a buyer's agent to represent you. Many people just call various agents willy-nilly, but that is not the proper way of doing things. It's not okay to have 5 different agents show you 5 different houses, and more importantly, it is certainly not in your best interest. Here's why:
1. If you call the agent who's sign is in the yard, they work for the seller. As the seller's agent, they have a signed contract with the seller to represent their best interests. They DO NOT have a signed contract with you to represent YOUR best interests. Anything you say to the listing agent can be repeated to the seller, and could potentially hurt your negotiating power if you decide to buy the property. This is why you hire your own agent to work exclusively for you - the buyer's agent.
2. Once you have an agent working for you, they can notify you immediately when a new house is listed that meets your needs. You won't have to wait for it to show up on websites to learn about it. This is really important if you are looking at foreclosures. If it's a great buy, you won't know about it until it's already under contract. Why? People who have an exclusive buyer's agent knew about it days before you did, and already wrote offers.
3. I can't speak for all agents, but I can tell you I work 10 times harder for a buyer that I know is working exclusively with me. I only have so many hours in my day, and my exclusive buyers have first priority. Sure, I'm happy to show you a house and give you the opportunity to meet with me. However, I won't keep showing you houses if you aren't willing to work with me exclusively. It's not fair to spend my time and gas showing someone houses and have them buy from another agent.
4. Agents work on commission. If they sell a house, they get paid. If they don't, they won't. If an agent meets you and shows you a house, they may assume they are working with you. If 5 different agents meet you and show you houses, you may have 5 agents who all assume they are working with you. This can put you in the center of a very akward situation. If you want to make sure you have a terrible experience buying a home, this will work every time. Save yourself some misery, and work with one agent exclusively.
5. A buyer's agent can show you ANY house for sale. It doesn't matter if it's listed with another agent. It doesn't matter if it's listed with another company. Your agent can show it to you. You should not call any agent except your exclusive buyer's agent. If you have questions about a house, your agent can get the answer.
6. You should always tell other agents the name of your agent - right up front. Realtors® abide by a strict code of ethics, and should not solicit your business if you are working with another agent. (This is a great way to be able to enjoy open houses without having the agent follow you around asking questions). If they do try and solicit your business after you have told them you already have an agent, run...do not walk...away from them. A decent, honest agent does not try and steal clients.
7. I just want to point out to you that you can fire a buyer's agent. If an agent never has time to show you houses, or you don't feel they have your best interests at heart, then you have the right to terminate that relationship. Meet with them, tell them how you feel, and tell them you have decided you would rather work with someone else. However, you must actually notify them that they are fired. If you just switch agents without telling them, you could find yourself in the middle of the scenario in section 4.
The bottom line is that the seller's have an agent working exclusively for them. As the buyer, you should have someone representing your interests too. You will save yourself a lot of time, gas money, and heart ache by working with an exclusive buyer's agent.
Cookeville TN native. A full time, full service agent for the entire Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.
True Blue Realty
931-559-TRUE Office phone, 931-559-4256 Office Fax
Virginia Kail- real estate agent, Cookeville TN