Do I Really Need a Buyer's Agent?

Why You Need a Buyer’s Agent and What They Really Cost

Do I really need a buyer's agent when buying a home? Can't I just use the listing agent of the home I want?

This is a common question I hear all the time. 

"Many people question the value of hiring a buyer’s agent, but my experience as a Realtor has shown that having one is crucial. I want to tell you why hiring a buyer’s agent is essential for your home purchase in Manteca, California."

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

A buyer’s agent is a real estate professional representing only the buyer’s interests in a real estate transaction. Our primary goal is to help you find the right property, negotiate the best terms, and guide you through the buying process. We are NOT working on behalf of the seller and our goal is to help YOU find the right house and negotiate for it, not sell a particular house.

Let’s break down the key reasons why having a buyer’s agent is beneficial to ALL buyers:

The Quick Breakdown of What a Buyer's Agent Really DoesWhat a Buyer's Agent Really Does

  1. Representation: A buyer’s agent exclusively represents the buyer’s interests, ensuring you get the best possible deal.
  2. Property Search: They help you find properties and neighborhoods that match your preferences and budget that you might not be able to find on your own.
  3. Negotiation: They negotiate on your behalf to secure the best price and terms.
  4. Guidance: They provide valuable advice and coordination throughout the buying process, including inspections and financing. This means deciphering the legal jargon that goes along with the contract.
  5. Commission: Typically, the seller pays the commission for both the listing and buyer’s agents, so you don’t have to, but this recently has changed.

Understanding Buyer’s Agency

Buyer’s agency was established to give homebuyers their own representation in real estate transactions. Before the 1990s, all agents represented the seller’s interests. Now, buyer’s agents work exclusively for the buyer, providing undivided loyalty and confidentiality.

The Role of the MLS

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a powerful tool used by agents to find homes that meet your criteria. Access to the MLS allows your agent to quickly identify suitable properties, ensuring you don’t miss out on potential homes. This system makes the home search process more efficient and tailored to your needs.

What a Buyer's Agent Really DoesExclusive Buyer Agency

Some real estate companies only represent buyers, ensuring there’s no conflict of interest with sellers. An exclusive buyer’s agent (EBA) works solely for home buyers and does not list homes for sale.

Buyer’s Agency Agreement

A buyer’s agency agreement is a contract between you and your agent that lays out the services they will provide and the terms of your working relationship. This agreement typically includes the duration of the contract, the agent’s duties, and how they will be compensated.

Buyer’s Agent Fee

Typically, the seller covers the buyer’s agent fee, with the commission being divided between the listing and the buyer’s agents. This arrangement means you usually won’t incur any out-of-pocket costs. However, if you’re looking at a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) property and the seller does not offer a commission, you may need to pay your agent directly.

Bill Gassett, owner of Maximum Real Estate Exposure and home sales expert, shared helpful guidance on the importance of a buyer's agent.

"Many potential buyers think the role of a buyer's agent is to show them homes. That's actually their least important task. An outstanding agent is so much more. They understand the area they cover like the back of their hand. When you tell them you're criteria they should be able to find precisely what you're looking for.

Often this is done by scouring the MLS for you in search of the "one" that checks off all the boxes. The best buyer's agents know the neighborhoods and what you can expect living there. Once a home is located, they perform due diligence on your behalf, including a detailed market analysis, contract term advice, and research when the property goes under contract.

For example, many sellers who do work on their homes never bother to pull building permits. If a buyer purchases the home without addressing it, then the problems with this become the buyers. As a buyer's agent, I have often visited the local town hall to ensure the proper permits were taken out from the seller.

If not, part of the process will be requesting the seller to comply with the local laws. Remember a buyer's agent is your guide and fiduciary. You should lean on them for the best advice. If you're agent can't do things for you, it is time to find someone else."

The Benefits of a Buyer’s Agent

1. Market Knowledge

A buyer’s agent has up-to-date knowledge of the local real estate market and neighborhoods. They can advise you on making competitive offers, understanding market trends, and identifying good deals.

2. Coordinating Showings

Your agent will schedule and coordinate property showings, making the process more convenient for you. We do the work for you so you can focus on finding the right house.

3. Researching the Area

A good agent will provide insights into the neighborhood and surrounding area, helping you make an informed decision about where to buy. While we can't violate any equal housing laws meaning we can't tell you where a sex offender lives, we can provide resources for you to research these things on your own.

5. House Research

Your agent will review property disclosures, permits, and history to ensure there are no hidden issues with the home. This is something a lot of buyers that DIY it miss as they just don't know what to look for and what questions to ask. 

6. Offer Advice

A buyer’s agent will help you determine a fair offer based on a comparative market analysis, ensuring you don’t overpay.

7. Professional Referrals

They can connect you with trusted professionals such as real estate attorneys, inspectors, and lenders. While this is ultimately your decision, our experience of working with reputable and competent services can really help you out in the long run. 

8. Financing Assistance

Your agent can help you find a reputable lender and advise you on financing options. There are a lot of options so we help navigate that to find the best solution for your financial needs. 

9. Professional Negotiator

An experienced agent negotiates on your behalf, ensuring you get the best terms and conditions.

10. Experience

An agent’s experience is invaluable. They’ve seen hundreds of homes and can provide insights into the property’s value and potential resale value.

11. Contract Expertise

Real estate contracts can be complex. Your agent ensures you understand the terms and protects your interests.

12. Keeping on Schedule

A buyer’s agent monitors the transaction timeline to prevent delays and keep the process on track. We will keep you informed throughout the process of where it's at and what you need to do every step of the way. 

A Special Note on Avoiding Dual Agency

Avoid dual agency situations where one agent represents both the buyer and seller. This setup can create conflicts of interest, and in many states, it's illegal, although it is legal in California if both buyer and seller are aware of it and agree to it. However, your individual needs cannot be prioritized because one agent works for both parties. 

We'd love to answer more questions and help you find and purchase a great home in our area! Start by connecting with one of our agents today! 

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