What is a Buyer’s Agent? By basic definition, it is exactly what the title suggests. A buyer’s agent is the licensed real estate agent that represents the buyer in a real estate transaction. It is not the what that needs answering, however it is the why.
A buyer’s agent will help find the house you are looking for based on your criteria. Typically this is done at no fee to you. A licensed agent will have access to the MLS and create a search for your new home based on city and/or school district, min/max price points, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, lot size, garage size and so much more.
Once you find that perfect home, the buyer’s agent will provide a contract called the Purchase Agreement for you to officially present your offer to the seller. A good Buyer’s Agent will understand the area they are working, get as much information as possible on the home and the seller, and help you present the best offer possible. Price is always important, but it is not always the only determining factor in getting your offer accepted. Most often, a seller has a Listing Agent and your agent will work directly with them in regards to your offer.
Now that your offer is accepted, there are many timelines that must be followed per your contract. Your Buyer’s Agent will keep this timeline together for you so you stay within the parameters of the Purchase Agreement all parties have signed and must be followed accordingly. From obtaining an Earnest Money Deposit to inspection periods to title work to closing on or before a specified date, your agent accepts a lot of responsibility on your behalf.
So who pays for all of this? In MOST transactions, the seller agrees to a percentage amount they are willing to pay an agent that brings them a buyer. This amount is typically arranged at the time of listing the home or upon first contact with the Buyer’s Agent on a For Sale By Owner scenario. Your agent may have a set percentage and refuse to work for any less than that amount. In a rare scenario, he/she may inform you that the seller is not paying any or all of their minimum commission percentage and require you to pay that difference. This is covered in his/her Buyer’s Agency Disclosure that you sign prior to working with you or prior to writing your accepted offer.