Buying a home is a complicated endeavor whether you’re a first-time buyer or seasoned shopper purchasing a second home. With all of the scheduling, deadlines and paperwork involved, it’s tough navigating the journey solo. Hiring a buyer’s agent to take the lead can make your home hunt less chaotic as you’ll have an expert to guide you through the process.
What is a buyer’s agent?
A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional that takes you through each step of the home buying process from start to finish. Not only will they find homes for you to view, they have a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest. As such, they are required to disclose all information and facts regarding properties and the buying process.
Having a buyer’s agent isn’t mandatory, but it is strongly advised. Going through the seller’s agent is risky. They’ll be eager to reap a big payday since they won’t have to split their commission. However, pushing a deal through to get a higher payout may mean you are not getting the most beneficial agreement.
Qualities of a great agent
You’ll want to make sure your agent is competent, trustworthy, and someone you click with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person so you want to make sure you get along. Other winning attributes include:
- Attentive: A great agent takes note of your preferences, must-haves, and deal-breakers. They should show you homes that fit your criteria or are as close to it as possible.
- Organized: There are tons of moving pieces when purchasing a home. An agent will not only need to stay on top of scheduling, they’ll also need to keep track of paperwork and what deadlines come next.
- Experts in the field: This shouldn’t be your agent’s first rodeo. They should know your preferred neighborhoods inside and out. Interested in buying in a prewar co-op? Find an agent who specializes in that niche. An experienced agent should also have a cadre of inspectors and real estate lawyers on deck too.
- Savvy negotiators: They should not only have done enough market research to advise on making the most competitive offer, but they should be comfortable negotiating other contingencies as well. It’s their job to make sure you get the best deal possible.
How much does it cost to hire a buyer’s agent?
The good news is that the buyer doesn’t have to pay at all. Instead, the seller pays the commission which is then split between both agents. According to Bankrate, that commission is typically 5% to 6% of the sale price. For example if the house is sold for $400,000, the commission would be $24,000 (6% of sale price). The buyer’s and seller’s agent would then get $12,000 each.
How to find a reputable buyer’s agent
Start with your inner circle. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Great agents often do business via word of mouth, and if the people you are close to have great things to say about them, it’s a sign you will also have a pleasant experience. Check their online presence and scrutinize their reviews.
Localize makes it easy to find a buyer’s agent. Robin, our home advisor, will not only help you find your next residence, but has reputable buyer’s agents on deck too. Our trusted agents are vetted so you can focus on finding your dream home instead of spending precious time sorting through agent reviews.
Another great place to start is the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents. Next, you’ll want to make sure they’re an Accredited Buyers Representative. These certifications and professional networks give buyers a bit more protection as this ensures the agents have met qualifications set by the Real Estate Buyers Agent Council.
Do your due diligence
Before you select an agent, you’ll want to take a few things into account before signing an agreement to work with them.
- Make sure your agent is exclusive: Don’t make the mistake of calling the number on listing you’re interested in. That will be the seller’s agent. If your current agent also accepts listings from sellers, that could lead to a conflict, as they may not have your best interests in mind as they are a dual agent.
- Have an exit plan: In the event you and your agent don’t click, you want to be able to get out of the agreement. Look for the terms of separation clause in your agreement and ask if changes can be made if you are uncomfortable with the terms. Consider doing a temporary agreement instead, with the option to renew if all goes well.
- Part-time agent: While this may not be a deal breaker for everyone, you should be cautious with a part-time agent. If they have another job, working around their schedule could be an obstacle.
Searching for a home in NYC, let Robin, our home hunting advisor, jumpstart your home buying journey today.