What does a Buyer’s Agent do?
Utilization of a Buyer’s Agent becomes even more important when relocating to a new area, and navigating a landscape that is different from “back home.” A Buyer’s Agent is beholden to the interests of the buyer… and NOT those of the developer or builder. In communities where there is still active development, it is common for the developer or builder to employ on-site agents who may staff a model home, provide marketing materials about the community, explain the selection and purchase process, and answer other general questions about the community. It is important for consumers to understand that these agents will certainly assist you to purchase property there, but they are not obligated to represent your interests. This means that the possibility exists that a consumer may not obtain a “whole” picture of things. They are also not able to assist you with properties in other communities or locations, so cannot help you compare and contrast.
In North Carolina, ALL agents are required to discuss agency relationships with people upon first substantial contact. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission provides a brochure that is the equivalent of a disclosure form, entitled Working with Real Estate Agents. This explains the differences between a Buyer’s Agent, Seller’s Agent, and Dual Agent. You can review this form here.
An independent Buyer’s Agent is free to work in all locations within their MLS region, and most likely has experience in different areas and communities. This means that he or she should be able to answer all of your questions, and if there is information of which they are uncertain, they should have the ability to obtain it for you. Common examples of information that a Buyer’s Agent should be providing would be flood zone information, HOA dues and explanations of what fees include, whether there are any additional dues or fees for certain items, and anything else that would be relevant to any properties or communities under consideration.
When it time to make an offer on a property, the Buyer’s Agent will provide information on comparable sales, prepare all necessary documentation, make sure you understand all that is outlined in each document, submit the offer, and conduct negotiations. Once an agreement is made and an offer is signed, the Buyer’s Agent will then assist you with scheduling inspections, providing information that may be necessary for a loan officer (if obtaining a mortgage), negotiate any appropriate repair requests, and provide necessary information in preparation for settlement, such as transfer of utilities. In short, your Buyer’s Agent is your advocate, and should provide the necessary support throughout the purchasing process.
There is no cost to a consumer for using a Buyer’s Agent… but there can certainly be a cost for not using one. Commissions are determined at the time of a property being listed, so those percentage amounts are already in the Listing Agreement between the Seller’s Agent and the seller. If you do not have an advocate to “dig up the dirt” on your behalf, you may not be learning all you should up front. When making such a large purchase, it only makes sense to have a representative on your side asking probing questions and doing research about the property.
Here is what you will get with Carolina Colleen on your side…
- Thorough presentation and investigation of viable options
- Assistance through the filtering process
- An extra set of “critical eyes”
- Clear explanation of the entire purchase process and all requisite documents
- Focus on steps to protect your interests both in document preparation and throughout the process
- Assistance with scheduling and interpreting inspection results
- Negotiation of any requested repair items
- Assistance with obtaining any estimates for work to be done
- Preparation for settlement so you know exactly what to expect from whom
- Support with lender-required documents/information
- Instructions with respect to utilities tranfer, termite bond transfer, cable/Internet account creation, attainment of insurance quotes, HOA information and anything else that may be relevant.
- I do not disappear after closing. People frequently call me for assistance after they become homeowners.
In short, it is my responsibility to ensure that your transaction is as seamless as possible from its commencement through its conclusion. I am accustomed to servicing clients who do not yet live in this area, and require assistance with logistics. I also have a bullpen full of contractors and service people who have consistently done reliable work for my clients. This is one of the best ways I am able to both help and protect my clients.