Do I want a buyer’s agent to help me find a home to buy?
Yes, you do
There is no downside to working with a real estate agent as a buyer’s agent, as long as you choose a good one.
- Agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the database for all homes on sale that are listed by other realtors. This means that your agent can search the listings based on your specific interests: zip code, price, size, number of rooms, age, etc.
- Some real estate agents, like Robin and Wil, will also show you homes for sale by owner (FSBO) that aren’t listed in the MLS.
- Good buyer’s agents check listings every day and can inform you of changes such as price reductions and new listings.
- A good realtor can give you a professional opinion about how much a home is really worth and how much to offer* if you’re interested in buying it. One of the tools he/she will use is a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) of the property, an analysis will compares similar homes in a neighborhood that have sold recently
- The seller pays the realtor’s commission, so it costs you nothing to get a an agent’s help.
The buyer’s agent gets paid by the seller but works for the buyer
Wisconsin state law requires that all real estate agents, by default, are agents of the seller. But if you authorize a realtor to represent you in the purchase of real estate, this relationship overrides state law. When you sign with Robin or Wil as your buyer’s agent, they pledge their loyalty to you and will represent your interests over and above those of any other party in the transaction.
*You might worry that the buyer’s agent will advise you to pay too much for a home so he/she will earn more commission. In fact, an agent would have to inflate the price by a lot to even make a dent in his/her commission. But, you should still choose your agent thoughtfully.
How to find a buyer’s agent
Interview up to three real estate agents. You don’t have to sign with any of them, but it will help you choose a realtor who can best help you find what you’re looking for.
How to choose a terrific buyer’s agent
It won’t be difficult for you to find a real estate agent who wants to represent you. The challenge will be in finding a good one.
The real estate agent is you choose will be working with your single largest investment: your home. This is a high fiduciary duty – a duty of trust and confidence – so choose your realtor as carefully as you would choose an attorney.
Interview at least three agents from different firms. Look for a realtor who:
- Is trustworthy and honorable
- Is in the business full-time
- Has been a successful realtor for several years
- Knows how help clients assess the value of a home
- Is supported by a strong home office and a good network
- Is a good listener
- Do interview up to three real estate agents before you sign with any of them.
- Don’t sign with an agent based solely on friendship. Trust your instincts, but use your head.
- Don’t expect that the best realtor for you needs to live in your neighborhood.
- Do check the references of the realtor you are considering signing with.