You’ve chosen a real estate agent. Can you rely on their loyalty? You might be surprised by the answer!
You may not be aware that your agent, unless they specifically disclose otherwise, represent the seller in any transaction for the sale of a home. It is that Agent’s fiduciary duty (where their loyalty lies) to protect the seller’s position at all times.
Choosing a Buyer’s Agent, however allows that Agent with whom you are working to be your representative and to put your interests above all others.
Here are a couple of examples:
- You see a house advertised in the newspaper, a home magazine, or the Internet. You contact the Listing Agent (this is who will be advertising the home) and make an appointment to see the house. The Agent is friendly, informative, and tells you what you believe to be everything about the house. The Agent represents the seller, not you.
- You are working with an Agent, who shows you 25 different homes over 3 weekends. The Agent buys you lunch twice, knows all 4 of your children by name as well as all of your personal likes and dislikes, but does not offer Buyer Agency. You feel comfortable with the Agent, revealing important personal information. Without Buyer Agency, “your” Agent represents, and owes loyalty to, each and every one of those 25 sellers–not you. Any information you reveal to the Agent must be relayed to the sellers.
Perhaps having an agent who represents the seller isn’t a big issues for you, but it is important to understand that if the Agent represents the seller, they cannot reveal certain things to you, as the buyer:
- The reason for selling (unless the seller specifically authorizes it)
- Any concessions, in price or otherwise, that the seller may be willing to give up.
- Any conversations that the seller and the Agent may have had.
- Any information that could be detrimental to the seller, or give you, the buyer, an advantage. This would include a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) that could put the seller at a disadvantage.
Buyer Agency gives you much more power. If a Buyer’s Agency agreement is struck between you and the Agent, it is you, rather than the seller, who has the representation from the Agent with whom you are working. If you are represented by a Buyer’s Agent, some of the potential benefits include:
- The Agent can develop a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis), revealing at what price similar properties in the area have been listed and sold for.
- The Agent can reveal to you any information about the seller that the Agent has been able to ascertain. This may include reasons for selling, potential concessions, or other information that may be to your advantage.
- Information about property value trends that may influence your decision about a certain neighborhood can be relayed to you.
Is it necessary to have a Buyer’s Agent? No. Thousands of home buyer’s have been well served dealing with the seller’s Agent. The important thing is to understand your options, so that you don’t unintentionally accept less representation than you want.