by Ken Bajema, Buyer’s Agent for The Hume Group
Why Do You Need a Buyer’s Agent?
The real estate market changed drastically over the last fifteen years. It continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Technology has made it more consumer-oriented. In the not too distant past, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service printed out a publication of newly listed homes. The agent waited to receive this list in order to show buyers homes. Today, home buyers search for properties online. They use many sites and apps. They see new listings right away. Home buyers can research a great deal about the home and community online and with tools such as google maps and 360 virtual tours. They can do this before even contacting an agent to see the property.
What does this mean for the real estate industry and how are buyer’s agents still useful?
It turns out agents bring more value to the transaction than just information. Here are a few:
- Provide Road Map – Buyers don’t buy a home every day. It is the agent’s responsibility to show the buyer the way forward, starting with loan pre-approval, search, negotiation, inspection, etc. Buyers need to know the steps and expenses ahead BEFORE to avoid surprises and to feel oriented and comfortable.
- Local Knowledge – Agents must be familiar with the trends of the housing market on a large scale and locally, and understand each neighborhood they serve.
- Advocacy – By law, a buyer’s agent owes their client several duties including:
- reasonable skill and care
- honesty and good faith
- disclosure of material facts
- accounting and confidentiality long after the transaction has ended.
The listing agent has legal and fiduciary duties to the seller of the home and may not have the buyer’s best interests in mind. The home buyer without an agent must call many different listing agents to schedule appointments and get in the door of sought-after properties. Choose a buyer’s agent who is a good listener and understands your particular situation to help you find the right property.
More ways agents add value
- Advice and Assistance – An agent handles logistics and makes recommendations for a home inspection, sewer scope. They ensure contractual timelines are followed. An agent generally has the “bat phone” for various contractors, lenders, and escrow companies for timely responses. Their relationships save the buyer untold headaches that might even cost the buyer a sale.
- Technology – Agents must be technically savvy to keep up on all the properties available and changing market values.
- Honesty and Responsiveness – I know when my clients get off of work, when they can get a babysitter and when they are available to see potential properties that have just hit the market. I keep tabs on every potential listing they are interested in and make sure the buyer does not miss an opportunity to see a just-listed home immediately.
- Answering Questions – Agents help research details that the buyer might want to know such as what is the age of the roof of the subject property? Has the basement ever leaked? How old is the electrical panel?
It is important to note that a buyer’s agent is compensated by the listing agent when a sale is made not by the purchaser of the home. It does not cost you anything to have an advocate every step of the way and a good buyer’s agent is invaluable.
The Purchase and Sale Agreement for a Tacoma real estate sale is quite thick. (by contrast, I am told you can purchase a million-dollar jet in 15 minutes with one sheet of paper.) Buyers need someone who has their best interests in mind to navigate this paperwork and negotiate on their behalf. Technology still cannot deliver what a human expert can.