How to Hire a Buyer’s Real Estate Agent

Even for experienced home buyers, buying a home can be complicated and confusing. According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing trends Report 2021., eight out of ten home buyers hire a professional agent during their home buying process. Here are some tips on how to hire a buyer agent and why it is a good idea.
What is a buyer’s agent?
A buyer’s agent, a licensed professional real estate agent who works on behalf of a buyer, is an agent who represents the buyer. They represent the buyer in all aspects related to their home purchase.
As part of their business, most real estate agents represent buyers and sellers. Some brokers or real estate agents only represent buyers because they don’t accept listings.
What is the difference between a real agent for buyers and a seller’s agent?
A buyer’s agent represents a home buyer in a transaction while a listing agent represents a seller. Both listing agents and buyers are licensed professionals with a legal and ethical obligation of representing their client’s best interests.
Can a single agent represent both the seller and buyer?
Dual agency is when a single agent represents both the buyer or the seller in a transaction. It’s illegal in some states. Dual agency is not allowed in all states. Many agents are against dual agency and don’t believe it’s possible for both sides to be fully represented. It is best to hire a real estate agent who will only work for your benefit.
Why should you hire a buyer’s agent?
Buyer’s agents can help you navigate the entire home-buying process, starting with your initial search and ending with closing. Here are some of the key benefits of using a buyer agent:
Listings available immediately: Buyer’s agents are well-informed about the inventory in your area. They may also have access to more listings online than you can. Agents will be able to list the property as soon as it hits the market.
Skilled negotiations: Before you make an offer, your agent will help you determine the fair market value of the home and provide their expert input on a strategy based on market conditions. They will then negotiate with the seller’s agents on your behalf and help you reach an agreement on price, terms, and conditions.
Experience: A knowledgeable agent can be invaluable during all phases of the process. This includes knowing when to expect a counteroffer and identifying red flags in inspection reports. Trusted advisors who can offer honest guidance that could help you save time, money, and stress.
Recommendations: An agent who is experienced can recommend lenders, real-estate attorneys, escrow officers, and home inspectors they trust. These professionals can often work together to streamline the process and keep the transaction moving forward if they have a good working relationship.
Paperwork management: From the offer paperwork to contingencies to closing papers, buying a house requires a lot paperwork. Your agent will gather all documents, explain your rights under the contract terms, make sure nothing is missing, and walk through everything that must be signed.
How much does it cost to hire a buyer’s agent?
Agents report that on average, 6% of a home’s purchase price is the total commissions they receive from a transaction. This amount is split equally between the seller’s and buyer’s agents.
Sellers list their home with an agent and negotiate a commission amount. Based on the terms of the listing agreement, the buyer’s agent receives a portion of the total commission. The majority of home transactions require that the seller pay the buyer’s agent a commission from the net proceeds.
Here’s an example: A $245,000 homeowner would sell their home for a $14,700 (6%) commission. The seller’s agent would then receive $7 ,350 (3%) and half the commission to the buyer’s agency.
Buyers may be responsible to pay their agent’s commission if the seller refuses to pay the amount that you agreed to pay in your buyers agency agreement. A for-sale by-owner (FSBO), seller might not offer any commission. You may also have an agreement that requires you to pay more than the seller’s offer of compensation. To find out what you would be responsible to pay in this situation, make sure to review your buyer’s agent agreement. Sometimes, buyers may need to pay their agent’s commission to increase their offer strength due to market conditions or negotiations.

How to find and hire an agent for buyers
You want to find an agent that is a good match for your goals, communication style, and needs. These steps will help you find a great agent.
1. Search the agent directory
Zillow’s agent directory makes it easy to start your search. Here you will find a list with agents in your area. You can also view their bios, ratings, reviews, and past sales. It’s a great tool to get a feel of an agent’s reputation.
2. Ask your family and friends
Another way to find a trustworthy agent is through your social network. Ask for recommendations from family, friends, or colleagues who have recently bought a home. To get a better idea of the experience of an agent, you can cross-check their names with online reviews.
3. Interview at least three agents
To better understand the benefits of working together, have a conversation at least three buyer’s agents. Here are some questions you should ask:

What number of buyers have you represented in this area in the last three years?
Are you a full-time worker in real estate?
What speed do you respond to client inquiries? What are your work hours?
Are you a certified buyer representative (CBR) or an Accredited Buyer Representative?

4. Sign an agreement
Once you have found the right agent for you, they will likely ask you to sign an agreement detailing how you will work together and how you will be compensated. There are two types of buyer’s agents agreements:
Exclusive buyer’s agency agreement: This type is where you agree to only work with the agent for a specified period of time, usually 6 -12. The commission is usually paid to the agent for each home purchased during that period. If the seller of the house you purchase does not offer a commission (which is more common in FSBO sales), then you may be responsible for paying the agent’s commission.
Non-exclusive buyer’s agent agreement: This agreement is a little more flexible. It means that you will work with your agent but you can also work with another agent so long as the first agent is informed. The agent who shows you the house is entitled to commission.
What to look out for in a buyer agent
Depending on the outcome of your home-buying journey, you may spend several months working with your agent. So make sure to find someone who is a good communicator and has a great work ethic. These are key characteristics you should look for when choosing a real estate agent.
Hyperlocal expertise
Every real estate market has its own unique characteristics. Prices, demand, and housing types can vary from one state to the next, depending on where you live and what your neighborhood is like. You should look for an agent who has experience in the area you are interested in buying. You can search their sales history on Zillow, map the addresses and ask how much business they have done in the area recently.
Strong communication skills
Your agent should be able to communicate effectively with you and other key parties in a real estate transaction. They should be able communicate effectively with you and negotiate any contingencies with the seller’s agent. They should be able to work with your lender, home inspector, and attorney/escrow officer. Ask them how fast they respond to client inquiries and what their “off” hours are. To help you keep your purchase moving along, most good agents are available on weekends and evenings.
Years of business experience and a solid reputation
Although it is a popular career option, being a real estate agent can be very difficult. People don’t realize how hard it is. A good agent will have a solid understanding of the process and has completed a lot of closings. If you decide to work with a younger agent, ensure they have completed closings and are being guided by an experienced agent.

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