Frequently Asked Question: Why Have Your Own Buyer’s Agent?*
At the risk of overly exciting the bloggers over at Curbed SF with my scintillating content, I’d like to explain the benefits of working with your own agent (Realtor) when you are buying a home in a complex market like San Francisco.
Top 10 Reasons It is Smart to Hire Your Own Agent When Purchasing a Home:
- It costs you nothing. Your agent works on a contingent basis as opposed to a retainer like a lawyer. Your buyer’s agent will be paid in the form of a commission from the seller’s proceeds upon the close of escrow. You will pay nothing for their help and expertise, and they will only get paid if you find and successfully purchase a home.
- Even though you do not pay money for their services, you are contractually bound to each other which means your Buyer’s Agent has a fiduciary duty to represent your best interests. Plus, if they are a Realtor (and they most definitely should be!) your agent must adhere to a very strict code of ethics. Your agent will represent your best interest in the purchase of ANY property listed with ANY real estate company or For Sale By Owner.
- Your San Francisco buyer’s agent will help you determine how much you can afford. Working with your mortgage broker, your agent can give you advice regarding unforeseen costs of ownership and affordability. Just because you are pre-approved for a certain amount does not mean you should be…
- Your real estate agent will fully explain the buying process to you and prepare you, in advance, for what to expect. They should guide you through the process every step of the way and help keep you informed all of the time.
- She or he will provide you with statistical and comparable sales information so that you can make an informed choice on the offer price for the home you want. Even though it is pretty easy to find active listings on the Web at sites like Trulia and Zillow, recent, accurate and reliable Sold data remains mostly within the control of MLS members like your agent.
- Your real estate agent will consult, negotiate and act as your project manager. She or he will negotiate the price and terms of your purchase on your behalf. Your agent becomes your sounding board, your confidante, and sometimes even your therapist during the buying process. You’ll be speaking or emailing with them almost daily during escrow so make sure you like your agent!
- She or he will walk you through the massive amount of paperwork with clear and accurate explanations.
- Your Realtor sells property full-time (or at least, they should) so she or he will have access to dependable mortgage brokers, home inspectors, title and escrow companies, home insurance companies, moving companies, etc. They can assist you with the transfer of utilities and be a resource for all sorts of service providers like hardwood floor re-finishers, custom shutter fitters, plumbers, electricians, handymen, painters, gardeners, and so on.
- She or he will be present during the closing process, keeping you up to date as the loan funds and your names are recorded on the property’s title. Most likely, they’ll attend the closing or signing appointment with you at the escrow company and certainly, be available to review the closing papers for accuracy.
- A good agent will act as your real estate consultant long after the close of escrow. For example, I often and consistently hear from past clients who need referrals for home repair folks or just want to know what the market is like. Whether or not, they will be selling or buying more real estate, I am there as a resource for them…for life.
Ask about our complementary San Francisco Home Buyer’s Guide: How To Stop Worrying and Love Buying a Home!
* Most agents will act as both Buyer’s and Seller’s Agents depending on their clients’ needs. When I say “Buyer’s Agent,” I am referring to a full-time licensed Realtor who will represent you as your buyer’s agent. They will also work with sellers on other transactions. Personally, I’m not a proponent of “buyers-only” agents b/c their knowledge of both sides of the transaction will be limited.