In a real estate transaction, the seller has representation - who is representing you?
Until a few years ago, all agents in Texas represented the seller, whether you contacted an agent to find you a home or just walked into an open house. Now Buyers have a choice! The new agency law allows the buyer to choose an agent to represent them and their best interest in the real estate transaction. This will include a good understanding of your home criteria, thoroughly searching the market area you desire (even going so far as to contact "For Sale By Owners"), conducting a comparable market analysis to determine the lowest purchasing price, assisting you with the best financing to suit your needs, and being your advocate throughout the transaction.
Now, you might be wondering what our policy might be. For those of you that are transferring or relocating into the area or are first time home buyers, we will highly recommend that an agent from our office represent you as a Buyer Representative. For those of you who feel you are "market savvy", it is completely up to you - though why not take advantage of Buyer Representation, after all it typically costs you nothing extra! We usually receive our commission from the seller or their agent as part of our cooperative fees offered through the Greater Tyler Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service or directly from the seller if you choose a "For Sale by Owner." There are occasional times when a buyer may have to pay the Broker's fee out of their own funds. You will be given plenty of notice if that situation should arise during your home finding process.
How will Buyer Representation benefit you as the Buyer?
- Your advocate in all aspects of the transaction.
- Point out any negative features of the home or neighborhood your are considering.
- Keep you advised of market trends in the area you are considering.
- Assist you in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each house in respect to resale.
Will the Buyer be required to sign a Buyer's Representation Agreement?
When you first meet Claudia or one of her buyers agents they will give you a document called "Information About Brokerage Services" that explains representation. We will explain Buyer Representation to you and give you a copy of the agreement for you to review, but we will not insist upon you signing it immediately. We want you to feel comfortable with me and for us to establish a rapport. At the time an offer is written, then it will be necessary to sign a Buyer's Representation Agreement stating that we represent you the buyer. There is also a place in the Earnest Money Contract that indicates who is representing who in the transaction.
Because of our dedication to the buyer, the amount of time we spend understanding and knowing what is available on the market, the continuing education we take, and the industry trends we keep abreast of, we hope that the buyer will stay dedicated to us.
What about new homes and new subdivisions?
Yes, we can represent the Buyer with purchase of a new home in an existing or new subdivision. Most builders will gladly pay a real estate commission to a Realtor who brings a buyer for one of their homes.
Oftentimes, there is a site salesperson at model homes or subdivisions who represents the builder. Sometimes, there might be a real estate office at the subdivision that handles a lot of the builders in that subdivision. In all of these situations a Buyer should have their own representation with an agent who is not representing the builder, subdivision, or developer. If you are taking a drive around the county and checking out the new construction, please don't sign in or register at any of the houses or with any of the sales people if you are planning to use a Buyer Representative for your actual purchase. If pressed, tell them that you are working with a Realtor and will return with that Realtor if you are interested in that subdivision.
An interesting note, in our area the sales price for new construction with most builders is non negotiable and remains the same whether a Realtor is involved or not. Since it doesn't cost you any more, doesn't it make sense to have an agent represent you?
What about homes "For Sale By Owner"?
Yes, we highly recommend representation when dealing with "For Sale By Owners". We will assist you in purchasing a home "For Sale By Owner" so you don't overpay (most FSBO'S are significantly overpriced) or get into a legal nightmare with people who really don't know much about real estate laws or real estate transactions and are usually motivated by greed. We will call the owner's for you and see if they are working with Realtors and arrange a showing. If they are not willing to work with a Realtor be forewarned, they may be trying to hide something!
Can any real estate agent be a Buyer's Agent?
Yes, any licensed real estate agent in Texas may be a buyer's agent, but a very small number of agents have studied the special issues of Buyer Representation, taken a proficiency test and have documented performance levels in order to become Accredited Buyer Representatives. Claudia has gone to the extra effort of achieving this special designation and definitely feel that it makes her a much more effective representative
If Buyer Representation is so great, why don't all real estate companies offer it?
Because of all the new laws and the fact that so many buyers desire representation, many companies are meeting the changing demands of the industry. Just be careful that the agent you choose is trained and prepared to be a buyer's representative. If necessary, ask for references or see if they have earned the Accredited Buyer Representative designation.
Can't I buy the house cheaper if I call the agent whose name is on the sign?
NO! The listing agent owes their loyalty to the seller and will be looking out for the seller's best interest only - you will be on your own. All they will do is write up the offer to purchase at the amount you specify. AND, be careful of what you say! The listing agent, by law, must tell the seller if you indicate you are willing to pay more than what you offered for the house. Remember - they work for the seller, not the buyer.
Can the agent who has my house listed also be my Buyer Representative?
Most agents in our market work with both buyers and sellers. Just make sure your listing agent is just as talented in Buyer Representation or has an assistant who is. A small number of Buyer's agents do not accept listings. Instead, they will refer you to someone within their office who can serve you better.