What is a Buyer Agent and Why do I need One?
In the state of PA if you are buying a home, you will be required to read and sign the “Consumer Notice” It is required by law. The Consumer Notice tells you what your rights are and who represents you in the purchase of your home.
Licensed PA Realtors can play several different roles. They can List a home for a Seller and represent that Seller only. (Seller Agent)They can take a Buyer out to look at homes and represent that Buyer only. (Buyer Agent) They can List a home for sale and get a call from a Buyer who is not represented by their own Buyer Agent who wants to see the house. If the Listing Agent meets that unrepresented Buyer at their Listing and the Buyer wants to buy the house, that Realtor then becomes a Dual Agent representing BOTH the Seller and the Buyer.(Dual Agent)
The Consumer Notice alerts you that you have the right to exclusive representation. A Realtor, acting as your “Buyer Agent” represents YOU only in your transaction. The Seller already has hired their agent, the Listing Realtor, whose sign is out in front of their house. You don’t pay your Buyer Agent, the Listing Realtor does. The Listing Realtor has negotiated a commission for both Realtors when signing their contract with the Seller. If the Listing Realtor finds the Buyer, they will earn all of the commission. If a “Buyer Agent” representing a Buyer brings an acceptable offer, the Listing Agent will split the commission with the Buyer Agent. The Seller always pays all the Realtor’s fees.
You always want to be certain you have chosen your Buyer Agent before starting your home buying process. Remember, until you have chosen a Buyer Agent, you are unrepresented when looking at homes. If you walk into a Seller Agent’s Open House or you call that Selling Agent to show you that house and you want to buy that house, the Seller Agent just became a Dual Agent. The Seller Agent will now represent you and their Seller in the transaction!
Oh no, you say, I will tell the Seller Agent that I have a Buyer Agent and I’m going to call her right now to write and negotiate my contract. Problem. The Seller Agent has already taken time out of her schedule and introduced you to the home. No need for your Buyer Agent now. Too late! You came to the house unrepresented and your Buyer Agent will now not be honored.
What does that mean? The Listing Agent will now be counseling you on how to make an offer on their very own listing. They will be negotiating the contract between you and their Sellers. They must be equally fair to both parties at all times. You have now lost your confidentiality and full disclosure that your Buyer Agent would have provided you 100%!
The biggest role your Buyer Agent plays in the process of your home purchase is not finding you the home. That’s the easy part! The difficult part is everything that comes after finding just the right house. Strategizing the terms of your contract and negotiating a successful outcome is where a highly experienced and skilled Buyer Agent can save you lots of time and lots of money.
Now you might be thinking….why would anyone NOT have a Buyer Agent? Very simple answer, they do not know or understand what a Buyer Agent is, what they do, and why they are so important. Many Buyers venture out on their own. They’ve researched and scoured the internet in preparation for their home purchase. They have gotten pre-qualified for a mortgage and know exactly what they can spend and what their monthly payment will be. Ready-Set-Go. Many Buyers miss that critical next step of hiring a Buyer Agent to now represent them while out and about and looking at homes. Buyers email or call the Seller Agents to show them the house. Buyers go to New Construction Sites to check out the Model Homes or they drop by Open Houses every Sunday looking for their perfect house. They have freely (although unknowingly) voluntarily relinquished their right to EXCLUSIVE FREE REPRESENTATION! By Accident.
Choose or Lose your representation. Here in the state of Pennsylvania it is important to know how the process works and what is in your best interest as an Active Home Buyer. Do not begin the process of shopping for a home without your Buyer Agent. Choose wisely and ask your Buyer Agent for references. You want a Buyer Agent who is actively involved in real estate transactions full time and does a good deal of business. This is how you will find an Agent who will be well versed in designing and implementing successful offers for the best possible price~!
Finding the House