UNDERSTAND AGENCY AND FINDING A BUYERS AGENT
An agent can represent you or the seller, but loyalties to each party differ depending on which party the agent represents. You must understand the differences between a buyer's agent and a seller's agent before you talk to anyone about your real estate needs.
You may have heard that you can "get a better deal" by contacting a home's listing agent? Not necessarily. That person represents the seller and is contractually bound to get the best deal for the seller. It doesn't mean the agent can't work with you in a fair and professional manner, but it does mean there could be a conflict of interests.
SHOULD I WORK WITH A BUYER'S AGENT? A SELLER'S AGENT? A DUAL AGENT?
You should understand from the beginning of your relationship with your real estate agent what type of relationship exists. In most states, real estate agents (both brokers and sales associates alike) are required by law to let consumers know whether they represent the buyer or the seller.
In the past, real estate agents represented the seller exclusively, whether the agent helped a seller to market and sell the home or helped a buyer find and purchase the home. In other words, agents were at one time legally bound to represent the seller in a residential real estate transaction. In that same scenario, the seller paid both the listing agent and the agent who brought the buyer.
However, in today's real estate market, you can choose between a wide variety of representation options. If you want to sell a home, you can list with a "seller's agent." If you're purchasing a home in Montana, you can work with a "buyer's agent".
An additional situation in some states is dual agency. This type of agency exists when the buyer decides to have the seller's agent prepare the offer on the buyer's behalf. A buyer who elects this situation, and all additional parties to a transaction, should receive full disclosure of representation. In some states, dual agency also affects the real estate professional's fiduciary responsibilities to the seller.
Keep in mind that real estate laws differ from state to state and even from locale to locale. And within this framework of variety, laws can change. For more in-depth answers for your specific situation, talk with a knowledgeable real estate professional and ask about local practices. Be sure that you understand and are comfortable with the options involved when you engage the services of a real estate agent.
FINDING AN AGENT
You may want to talk with several agents until you find one you feel comfortable with. Do NOT sign a buyer agency contract with an agent until you are sure that agent is the one you wish to represent you.
The busiest agent in town isn't necessarily the best choice. The goal is to find someone who you feel is ethical, someone who will keep your needs in mind on a daily basis. That can be any agent, seasoned or brand new.
Quality customer service is the combination of personalized attention with instant information. Today's real estate agents do more than host open houses or take you on tours of homes—they are trained customer service professionals who are relationship focused and technologically empowered. At BozemanMontanaRealty.com our agents exemplify our belief that "what's important to us is you."
A quality agent is someone who listens to you, understands the market in which you are looking, and is able to communicate in an effective way to meet your needs. Agents are trained experts in negotiation as well as transaction forms and finance options.
When you're shopping for a home, access to information is invaluable. When you contact BozemanMontanaRealty.com, your questions will be quickly answered for FREE. Our agents provide industry leading technology and customer service, allowing you to get comprehensive information about homes on the market, take tours of these homes in person, and get information as new homes come onto the market.
At BozemanMontanaRealty.com, we look forward to helping you and your family with all of your real estate needs.
WHAT SHOULD A HOME BUYER EXPECT FROM A BUYER'S AGENT?
- Home buyers should be able to expect loyalty and confidentiality from a buyer's agent.
- The agent should promote your best interests and provide you with all available facts that could influence your decision about making an offer for a home.
- A buyer's agent will offer research materials that help you make a realistic offer.
- A buyer's agent should give you the "what if" scenarios about the clauses in a contract. The agent may recommend additional contract contingencies to protect your interests.
- A buyer's agent should track and handle many of the day-to-day needs required to get to closing (such as inspections, helping you find a lender, tracking the progress of the loan, working with the closing attorney or agent).