What IS a buyer’s agent?
In short …. A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional, who may also be a member of the REALTOR® Association, who represents ONLY the buyer and not both the seller and buyer.
According to the REALTOR® Association, “A buyer’s agent serves as your representative during the home search and purchase process. The tasks that they perform can include helping you find a home that meets your needs, liaising with building contractors, providing you with an analysis of the prices of similar properties in the area and any property value trends and identifying any problems that might be associated with the property. They can also help you to negotiate the best price for the property as well as furnishing you with information on the seller and the reasons for the sale.”
Listing agents represent the sellers and their fiduciary duty (loyalty) is to the seller. However, if you also use the listing agent, it creates a dual agency – which HAS to be disclosed – and the agent represents both sides of the transaction. Both agents’ commissions are paid through the selling side of the transaction.
However, can one agent work for both the seller and buyer? They can and it’s done a lot in this area, but it has to be done in such a way it doesn’t create a conflict of interest or a detriment to either party.
To insure you are represented by a Buyer’s Agent, a “Buyer’s Agreement” is signed by the Buyers and their agent. As a homebuyer, this is to your advantage as it confirms the agent’s duties to you as their client under statutory law or as common-law fiduciary duties.
These duties include:
- Undivided loyalty – the agent must act in your best interests at all times
- Obedience – the agent must follow all of your lawful instructions
- Reasonable care and diligence – the agent is required to protect you from foreseeable risks of harm
- Full disclosure – the agent must disclose all information concerning the property and its purchase that might affect the decisions you make
- Accounting – the agent must safeguard money or property held on your behalf
The agreement should indicate whether the agent will act for you exclusively, the parties to the agreement, the end date, a description and location of the desired home, the agent’s duties and buyer’s responsibilities and the agent’s commission. (It is preferable that the agent receive a commission even if you purchase a property which is “For Sale by Owner”.)
Before you start looking at homes and talking with agents, be sure you find a buyer specialist who will only represent you – and sign a buyer’s agreement.
If you sign an Exclusive Buyer agency with one agent, you will only be able to work with that one agent. Which is ultimately what you want to do in a real estate transaction, you do want to work with an agent exclusively when you are looking to purchase that perfect property.
However, you also want the freedom to choose which agent to work with. If you feel pressured into signing an Exclusive Buyer Agency prematurely, you have every right to step back and evaluate the situation. There is NO law that states you have to sign an exclusive buyer agency agreement before an agent begins working for you.
If your relationship with an agent begins with that agreement being signed, you have every right to turn around and walk the other way. And you should.
You can use my services for FREE!
Buying a home in the Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Solon or Tiffin areas, the commission is paid (split) through the sellers’ Brokerage. Sellers here have agreed to pay commission to the listing company and they have agreed to share the split to any real estate company representing the buyer.
Contact me today to start the search for your new home in the Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Solon or Tiffin areas!
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