One of Joe’s favorite specialties is representing clients as their Buyer’s Agent. It’s never recommended that a person try to buy or sell real estate without a professional licensed real estate agent by their side. Most wouldn’t attempt to represent themselves in court without licensed attorney representation, so you certainly wouldn’t want to represent yourself in what could be the largest financial transaction of your life without representation either! Additionally, in most cases when buying a home already listed for sale, the listing broker pays the buyer’s agent commission. So in most transactions you get representation that doesn’t cost you the buyer a dime. Studies have shown that people with agent representation come out far better than people who try to go it alone. John Vogel, adjunct professor of real estate at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, calls going through a real estate transaction alone without representation “a mistake.” Some house-hunters may think they are working with a buyer’s agent, when in reality, they’re actually dealing with a seller’s agent. Many buyers contact the agent listed with the property or walk into an open house thinking the agent is working in their favor when in fact the agent represents the seller and should be looking out for the seller’s best interest, NOT YOURS! Some seller’s agents may also discourage prospective buyers at the beginning of their search from seeking out a buyer’s agent. Commissions are already lower due to declining home values, and some would prefer not to split it, says Ginger Wilcox, head of training for buyers’ and sellers’ agents at Trulia.com.
If this is your first home purchase, or it’s been a while since you were involved in a real estate transaction, you may be a little confused about what a buyer’s agent does. Once you sign a Buyer’s Representation Agreement with a Texas Realtor, you immediately become that agent’s client. The agent is required to look out for your fiduciary interest. Most agents can offer recommendations of lenders in the area that can provide the type of mortgage product desired. Most agents have a list of various vendors that have been known to provide good service to past clients.
Texas has defined guidelines and rules about the role of buyers agents, owners (listing) agents and something called Intermediary, which is how an agent must act when he represents clients on both sides of a transaction. There is a TREC form (Information About Brokerage Services) that explains the role of agents to their clients that must be provided to all clients at the very beginning of their relationship with their agent. https://www.trec.state.tx.us/pdf/contracts/op-k.pdf
A buyer’s agent represents the buyer. This means that instead of buyers having to contact the sellers, their agent, and the title companies, your agent will handle all of this in order to make your life much easier. A good buyer’s agent will be much more likely to spot shady deals and steer you in the right direction. A buyers agent should be able to complete a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on properties that you have interest in and give you a professional opinion about the fair market value of the property. Just because a property is listed for particular price it doesn’t mean it’s really worth it. The buyer’s agent should also be able to arrange for you to view properties in person and help to point out deficiencies.
Once you and your agent have found the right home, the agent should prepare an offer using promulgated Texas Real Estate Commission forms. Careful consideration and strategy should go into preparing an offer for the buyer. Almost any agent is capable of filling out a contract, but a good buyer’s agent should have a plan of attack and carefully write the contract with an end result in mind. The forms can be very confusing at first, but the agent should be able to help you understand them. Agents are prohibited from giving legal advice, so if the questions you have are of a legal nature then the agent should suggest that you to contact a lawyer for legal advice. Your agent may ask you lots of questions concerning your goals or expectations concerning the purchase of the property. After learning about a buyer’s expectations, a negotiation plan is formulated so that the buyer will hopefully end up with a deal close to what was desired in the beginning of the negotiation process. Once the offer is written and signed by you, the buyer’s agent will then contact the listing agent and/or the seller and present your offer.
Even after reaching an agreement your buyers agent’s job is far from over. A good buyers agent should be careful to keep track of of the dates contained in the contract. Most contracts set certain time limits for inspections, repair requests, financing approval and closing date. If all the terms in the contract aren’t followed carefully, a party could be subject to losing earnest money and/or being sued in civil court.
So I know all of the above information is a lot to take in. Believe it or not this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully you can now see that you really can’t afford to not have Joe Stone as your buyer’s agent in your corner the next time you decide to buy real estate!
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Joe Stone – Realtor® – (682)777-0836