Hiring Buyer’s Agents


Using a buyer’s agent when looking to buy your new home

By Ben Apple
Buyer's AgentsGiven the complexities involved in buying a home, it can often be difficult to make informed choices about the home you are looking to buy. Hiring a buyer’s agent can be a useful step to take, as an agent can help guide you through the process of finding and acquiring your new home. They are experts in the property market and can advise you about suitable properties and any issues you may need to consider. However, it is important to know what to look for in a buyer’s agent to ensure that the services they offer meet your expectations.
What is a buyer’s agent?
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.
What to look for in a buyer’s agent
While it may sound obvious, it is important that the agent that you hire has your best interests in mind as this is, unfortunately, not always the case. Some buyer’s agents may also represent the sellers of properties, thereby creating a potential conflict of interest. Non-exclusive buyer agents, while claiming to represent your best interests, may try to sell you one of the properties for which they are the agent of the seller. It is therefore advisable for you to only hire an exclusive agent.
Another related issue to look out for is a brokerage that may also represent other buyers who are competing for the same property. Check to see if the firm has a policy for how it manages such conflicts of interest.
Another things to look for when hiring an agent is their level of experience. Ideally, they should have closed several new home purchases, possess an excellent knowledge of the area in which you are looking to buy and have a background in home contract negotiation. It is also beneficial if the agent has a sound knowledge of creative financing, which may be of use when you are looking for a mortgage.
The agent should also be able to provide you with an agreement documenting the standards and goals that you and they are working to accomplish. Additionally, look for an agent with the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation from the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), which is part of the National Association of REALTORS®.
The buyer agency agreement
Some states require you to
sign a buyer agency agreement with the agent to secure their representation. 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
  • Confidentiality
  • 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”.)
It may be worth your while asking for a short-term agreement, as a trial to see whether you and the agent are able to work together. A good agreement with the agent incorporating the above elements will help to make your working relationship with the agent a successful one.

Borrowed From: http://www.realtor.com/home-finance/homebuyer-information/hiring-buyers-agents.aspx?source=web