Helping people purchase homes is my specialty yet there are a few things that always come up when dealing with first time home buyers. One of these things is buyer’s representation. I get asked all the time “why should we have a buyer’s agent?’ and it is a good question. Most of the time there is a Realtor representing the home so why not just use them? I am in the industry so the answer to me is clear but I will try and give you my best reasons why I think you should have your own agent for your home purchase.
1. Individual representation
When you see a house you like, whether that be online, at an open house or driving by a sign there is usually a Realtor representing the sale of that home, the Listing Agent. What you need to know is that the Listing Agent’s initial duty is to the person or persons selling the home. If you approach the listing agent and ask them to represent you they now have 2 choices: one is to treat you as a customer; and two is to treat you as a client. If the agent chooses route one then they are still acting in the best interest of the Vendors selling the home and not actually working in your best interest. They may assist you and do owe you honesty and integrity in their dealings, but at the end of the day their loyalty is to the Vendor. If they choose option two the problem then arises that the agent is now representing both parties, and how easy is it for them to work in the best interest of one party without harming the other? The answer is it’s not simple. The agent almost acts as mediator between the two parties to come to a mutual agreement. This is one reason why I would recommend picking your own agent before you take interest in a property.
2. Better purchase price
I am asked all the time: “won’t I get a better deal on the home if I work with the listing agent?” The answer is almost always no. If a home is on the MLS there is already a contract signed with the vendors that agrees to pay a buyer’s agent from the proceeds of the sale. If you decide to purchase through the listing agent all that means is that they receive both the selling and buying commission of the sale, yet as you can see from point 1 that it does not necessarily mean they are representing both sides in the best way possible. Your best chance of getting a better deal on a home is to have your own agent who is a skilled negotiator and knows the market. They can fight for what you want. There is no cost to buyers for using their own agent.
3. Do I need to sign a contract to buy?
This one is a bit trickier as some provinces will not allow people to purchase a home without having what is called a “buyers contract”. What these contracts do is tie you to a single agent for a home purchase. Now you may ask why, and the honest answer is: to protect yourself. You can meet with and interview any realtors you want and if/when you find someone you like you can choose to sign a contract. This will contractually obligate the agent to help you find a home. These contracts are not required but IMO are highly beneficial. Any agent with a signed buyer’s contract is going to work hard to get you what you want. If you are just seeing things with multiple agents willy nilly, then it is harder for any of them to take you serious and really get you where you need to be for your purchase.
4. Second pair of eyes
Charting the waters of a home purchase can be a daunting and there are a lot of things to look for. To most people, a home purchase will be the largest purchase in their lifetime. Yet, we often make these buying decisions in a matter of hours. Usually people have 1-2 showings before putting in an offer and maybe have a home inspection after that. That’s it. Maybe 4-5 hours for something you are going to live in 24/7. Choosing a buyer’s agent will help you see things you may not think about. While you may be looking at the sizes of the rooms, the colours, or the layout I will be looking for the potential problems and things that you may overlook. You have to remember that you are looking at a home and sometimes that emotion can blind you from the necessary diligence needed when going through a home. Until it is your home it is a house and I will treat it as such. I will be brutally honest about the flaws, the potential issues, things that need to be fixed. In any given month I am touring anywhere from 50-70 houses. I know what to look for and how to write contracts that keep you covered.
I truly think that every person when buying or selling a home should have their own representation from a licensed Realtor. The benefits to you for protection, knowledge and experience can only be given in its full potential from your own Realtor. If you have any questions about anything you read above or want to chat more about how a Buyer’s agent can help you, please reach out, this is my specialty after all!
Tel: (204) 226-1261