Do I Need A Buyer’s Agent When Buying A Home?

Should I use a buyer's agent when buying a home?If you are starting down the path of buying a home the thought might cross your mind….. do I need a buyer’s agent?

The simple answer is no, it is not required you are represented by a buyer’s agent when purchasing a home.

But there is much to consider when you decide to buy a home and choosing what role you want your real estate agent to play in your home purchase is one of them.  If you are a seasoned home buyer with several home purchase under your belt, you may be pretty savvy about purchasing a home.

On the other hand you may be a first time home buyer or you just haven’t bought a house in awhile and may want a buyer’s agent to work on your behalf.

While some buyer’s have the misconception that they will save money or get some inside track when going directly to the listing agent, nothing could be farther from the truth.

I Received A Phone Call From A Distraught Home Buyer Today

What prompted me to right this article, is I received a phone call from a concerned dad and his distraught daughter.  They had found me on the internet. 

The daughter was a first time home buyer and the dad had only purchased one house in his lifetime.  She had a condo under contract and was to close today. 

There was some unresolved issue with mold in the attic.  The daughter was concerned about the magnitude of mold in the attic and was not allowed to bring in a specialist by the listing agent.  Unfortunately, she mishandled it, by not understanding the steps involved and was strong armed by the listing agent.  The listing agent insisted she close or lose a significant amount of  deposit money.

Their lack of knowledge about buying a home first made them ignore critical contingency dates and proper protocols to withdraw or get the seller to rectify the issue.

Meanwhile, the listing agent was threatening close or you wont get your deposit back.

The fortunate thing in talking to them there was some documented correspondence about the mold that they could sink their teeth into. 

I recommended that they call the closing attorney and pass along the chain of correspondence and see what could be worked out with the selling side. 

In the end it worked out alright.  She closed and the cost of the mold issue was split between the buyer and seller.  The buyer was forced to make the compromise or forfeit her deposit money.

The underlying issue is if the home buyer had used a buyer’s agent she would have never been in this position to begin with.  At the end of the day it important to know what you don’t know when it comes to real estate.  But you know who does?  A Buyer’s Agent!!

Do I Need A Buyer’s Agent When Buying A Home?

Now lets look at this question…. do I need a buyer’s agent when buying a home?… one more time.

And the answer should be Yes, what do you have to lose!

There are so many things a buyers agent can provide for you and on top of it, it’s free.  The listing agent pays your commission out of their total commission.  There is no fee passed on to you.

The Myth About Going Directly To The Listing Agent Will Save You Money

In 20 years I have done quite a few transaction where I represent the seller and I have never had a buyer “save” money because they bought directly from me. 

While some agents may give up a percent or maybe two to make a double ended deal work, it is pittance in the amount of money an agent can potentially save you in costly errors…. like the home buyer in the story above.

The other reason a home buyer goes directly to the listing agent is home buyers feel they will get some inside track from the listing agent or they know more about the house. 

But remember the listing agent has a contractual obligation to the seller and must act in the sellers best interest.  They are only going to spin the information that benefits the seller. of course while staying within the law (or hopefully).

For example a common question that home buyers are hoping to get an answer for is why are they moving?  Its a nonsense question.  The listing agent is not going to tell you….

that they are going thru a bitter divorce….

or a spouse died and there is financial trouble….

or the neighbors are horrible…

The listing agent is under no obligation to disclose a sellers circumstances if their circumstances do not effect the property in anyway.  As a matter of fact they have an obligation of providing confidentiality to the seller. 

Any information that a listing agent has, can be obtained by a buyer’s agent.  And, any information that is important that is gained from the seller or listing agent should be independently verified by the buyer and/or their buyers agent. 

What Benefit Does a Buyers Agent Provide?

There are literally hundreds of tasks a buyer’s agent can provide for you but I will break it down into a few major groups.

The first thing you need to know is what do you know about home buying.  The second thing you need to know is, as much as you think you understand home buying, realize there are more aspects of home buying you know nothing about.

Know you don’t know what you don’t know

But you know who does?  A buyer’s agent.  A buyer’s agent is immersed in real estate 40+hours a week, day in and day out.  They have the knowledge to advocate and educate you through the home buying process. 

I am not going to go into great deal of detail, but I will touch on a few things here.  A buyer’s agent can:

Educate YouUnderstanding current market conditions and the home buying process are key to home buying success.

Coordinate The Various Steps and Parties-  There is much to coordinate between parties…. from showings, to contracts and scheduling final closing events.  There are also many parties involved that need to be coordinated between all.

Negotiating on Your Behalf-  As a full time real estate agent, much of any given day revolves around negotiating.  Negotiating and handling listing agents and sellers are a daily part of our business.

Counsel You-  You should never find a buyer’s agent selling you anything.  What a buyer’s agent will do is counsel you.  They will give you options and the pro’s and con’s of each so you may make the decision that is right for you.

Use Their Experience-  Experience matters, find a buyer’s agent that has been in the business at least five years.  They understand the subtleties of different markets, they know how sellers think, they know how to negotiate, etc… Basically they take all their experience of multiple transaction and use it for your benefit.

is a buyer's agent necessary when buying a home

Understanding Your Real Estate Agents Role

Again, I cover understanding real estate agency in another article.  As a matter of fact I have multiple articles on the topic. 

But if I throw out seller’s agent, buyer’s agent, facilitator, dual agent, sub-agent, designated agent and you have no idea what even one of these terms mean, you should be using a buyer’s agent.

Each one of these agencies will play a different role for you in a purchase, some work for you, some work for no one and some work for the seller.  How you interact with each party is vital to a successful home purchase.

So Do I Need A Buyer’s Agent?

Obviously that is a very personal decision whether or not you need a buyer’s agent to purchase a home.

But if you don’t have any or very little experience buying a house, why wouldn’t you use a buyer’s agent?  The listing agent pays your buyers agent commission out of the commission they charge the seller.

For no cost to you a buyer’s agent can work on your behalf to help you save time, money and aggravation. 

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Other Real Estate Resources:

This article, Do I Need A Buyer’s Agent When Buying A Home? was provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate. I have helped 100’s of home buyers and sellers over the years and am confident my experience and skills can make purchasing your next home a pleasant experience. Please feel free to reach me at 978-360-0422 to discuss your upcoming purchase.