The Value of a Buyer’s Agent

There are several types of real estate agents. A Listing Agent markets a home for sale. The Listing Agent can share some, but not all, of the information about the property and has the seller’s best interests at heart. A Buyer’s Agent represents buyers and has their best interest at heart. A good Buyer’s Agent will learn everything he or she can about a home that a buyer wants to purchase.

When working with a Buyer’s Agent, sign a Buyer’s Representation Agreement. Have the Buyer’s Agent include some language such as: “buyer or Buyer’s Agent can cancel this agreement with 24 hours written notice.” Why? If the Buyer’s Agent feels the buyers are being unreasonable or are just looking for a tour guide, he or she can cancel the agreement. If the buyer’s feel that the Buyer’s Agent is not keeping their best interests at heart, they can cancel the agreement. Another benefit of signing a Buyer’s Representation Agreement is that without such an agreement, the agent is a subagent of the seller. This means the agent cannot disclose certain information about a property.

What will a good Buyer’s Agent do for a home buyer? Know about the neighborhoods the buyers are interested in. Know the HOA fees, the amenities and schools. Know what homes have been selling for in the neighborhood. Know the needs and desires of the buyers. Know the must haves, the wants and the would-be-nices. Know the market conditions and communicate that to the buyers. He or she will also explain the home buying process.

Many people choose homes to look at over the internet. In many cases the Buyer’s Agent will not even need to set up a custom search. If the buyers are from out of town and not in a rush to buy the Buyer’s Agent will set up a custom search using the buyer’s criteria. The search will email the buyers any home that meets their specific criteria every time a new home matching their criteria comes on the market. Another email will automatically go out when any home goes under contract, is taken off the market or is sold.

In some cases the buyers will want to build or look at a brand new home. A good Buyer’s Agent can set the buyers up with a builder and help them find land. If the buyers are looking at a home in a developing neighborhood they should still have representation. The builder, especially in slower markets, might offer a bonus to the Buyer’s Agent. A sensible Buyer’s Agent will either split this bonus with the buyers or give it all to them. They do this by adjusting the price of the home down the amount of the bonus.

The Buyer’s Agent will show the buyers homes that match their search criteria. He or she will point thing out like unique features of the property, easements if a survey is provided, neighborhood restrictions, if any, neighborhood amenities, distance to places of interest and more. One thing I like to point out is sun orientation. Texas gets very hot in the summer and some people will not want the back patio in the afternoon sun because it can get too hot to use for cooking out. He or she will discuss current market conditions and selling prices in the neighborhood.

If the buyers do not have a loan officer, the Buyer’s Agent can recommend one or more. He or she will ensure that the buyers a pre-approved for a loan in their price range. If not pre-approved before looking at homes, the buyers might fall in love with a home above their price range. Home buyers must know what they can afford to spend and what they are willing to spend.

When the buyers find a home they want to purchase the Buyer’s will write an offer using an authorized contract. He or she will review the home buying process and will have home inspectors, pest inspectors and septic inspectors (if the home is not on a sewer system) lined up if they get under contract.

Many home buyers I have dealt with in the past have thought they cannot use a Buyer’s Agent. They go to places like the county tax appraisal district or sites like Zillow to determine a value of a home. What they do not know is that Texas is a non-disclosure state, meaning when someone sells a home the sold price does not have to be disclosed to the county. As a consequence, tax offices and sites like Zillow are often pretty far off the actual value. Some unrepresented buyers also assume with a Buyer’s Agent the sellers will automatically come down 3% on the price. That usually does not happen.

A Buyer’s Agent will have access to the Multiple Listing System, or MLS. This is the only place to get accurate sold prices. That is yet another value of a Buyer’s Agent.

So if you are a serious home buyer, hire a Buyer’s Agent. It should not cost you anything and be of great value.

If you are interested in Helotes homes or homes near Helotes, please give me a call at 210-589-1038.

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