Q: I went to an open house, and the listing agent said that he could represent me better and "fairer" than any other agent, so I really didn't need a buyer agent. Is that true?
A: Of course agents try to be fair and nice to the buyer since they want to make the sale. But, because they are bound by Real Estate License Laws, the Law of Agency, and their Code of Ethics, they can only do so much without jeopardizing their duties. For instance, the listing agent cannot tell you if a property is overpriced or how to negotiate the best purchase price. Ask yourself.. .if the seller has representation, shouldn't you? As your buyer agent, I always negotiate only in the best interest of you, the buyer.
Q: Do "listing agents" prevent "buyers agents" from having full access to all the available properties through the Multiple Listing Service?
A: No! I belong to the CMLS, the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service, so I can show you homes listed with any agent. In addition, since I represent you and not sellers, I regularly show homes that are For Sale By Owner and For Sale By Builder that are not listed in the MLS.
Q: What if I can't find a home that I like?
A: If you want to put things on hold for a while, don't worry! We can start back up when there are more homes to choose from, when the market picks up, or whenever you wish. If you are just having trouble finding the perfect home, I will help you choose building lots, builders, and custom-built homes. In the process, I can save you time, effort, and money!
Q: Isn't the agent who shows me the home representing me?
A: If you walk into an open-house, or a new-construction-site model home and any agent tells you that they are the only one who can "write" up the paperwork or represent them... don't believe it! Agents who list properties enter into a signed contract with the seller to represent them in the sale of their property. This same contract may permit the listing agent to use "sub-agents" to help secure a sale. Sometimes these sub-agents will place a sign on the lawn that reads "Buyer Agent On Duty." Unless you have previously interviewed the agent and have entered into a written Buyer Agency Agreement wherein they have promised to represent only your best interest and you trust him/her, walk away. You may find yourself working with an agent who is obligated to act in the best interests of the seller.
Q: If you work for the buyer and you negotiate the price down, aren't you also lowering the amount of commission you will make? Isn't that a conflict of interest?
A: The difference is minimal. If I save you $5,000 on the purchase price of your home, I would only earn approximately $150 less in commission. Your goodwill and word-of-mouth advertising will be worth much more than that. I also have a legal obligation to represent your best interest.
Q: I'm moving to another city. Can you find me a buyer agent at my destination?
A: Yes. As soon as you find out that you are moving, call me and I will provide you with the name and phone number of an Accredited Buyer Agent® nearest your destination. I will screen agents for you at absolutely no cost whatsoever!
Q: As my buyer agent, how are you paid for your services?
A: Typically the fee paid to me at closing is paid by the seller and is usually divided between the listing broker (the company who has the home listed for sale) and our broker. Unless there are some unusual circumstances, my portion of the commission comes from the seller's proceeds of the transaction.
Q: If I sign an Agency Agreement with Debbie, does it really matter? Does it really make a difference?
A: Absolutely! Yes! Let's put it this way: If you had to go to court, would you use the other person's attorney? The second you enter into a contract with an agent, he/she has responsibility and accountability duties. Real estate agents who act as seller agents must negotiate in the best interest of their clients (the sellers) and may not withhold information from them and must present their properties only in a favorable manner. Buyer agents negotiate in the best interests of the buyer, do not disclose confidential information about the buyer, and reveal all facts that affect the value of properties to the buyer.
Q: Why should I use an agent to buy a builder's new-construction home?
A: The advantages are the same as those for purchasing a resale home. Your agent:
- Serves as your personal real estate consultant. Guides you through the process with professional representation.
- Provides you with valuable insight into the market. Helps you find the perfect home quickly.
- Offers you expertise in contact writing, negotiation, closing assistance, gives you advice regarding all builder's products and finds the best match for your specific needs.
- The builder has a professional real estate representative watching out for his interests, and you need and deserve the same expert representation watching out for yours.
- It is extremely important that your interests be professionally represented when you enter into a contract for a semi-custom or a build-to-suit home. These transactions are very complex. The contract details must be exact in order to protect you and to help ensure that you get precisely the home you want!