Buyer’s Agent: My Take on Why EVERYONE Should Get One

Look, I’m not some die hard “RealtOR’s are the saviors of all thing good and wholesome about home ownership and the ‘American Dream'” type of guy. In fact, I believe home ownership can just as easily bring on the “American Disaster” of being over leveraged and swamped in debt. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about home acquisition and that conversation includes debt to income ratios as well as overall timing, among other things.

Regardless of when the right time may be for you, or how much technology and know-how you have available at your fingertips it is my personal opinion that EVERYONE who set’s out to purchase a home should seek the representation of a licensed real estate agent, and should do so as early as possible. I can think of absolutely no exception, and here are a few reasons why:

  • It’s FREE to you: in Virginia, DC, and Maryland the buyer’s agent is paid by the seller. Okay, so almost free; many brokerages have an administrative fee of a few hundred dollars, ours is $345, which is paid at closing.
  • Buying a home is about more than finding a home online: Yes you can find any listing that’s available on Redfin, Trulia, etc. However, that is the easy part. The vast majority of the work a Buyer’s agent does takes place after the home is found. Advising an appropriate offer, negotiating the contract, scheduling inspections appraisal and final walk through. The list goes on, so why try to navigate all that yourself when you can have the seller essentially pay an experienced party to exclusively represent your interests.
  • Not having an agent is NOT likely to give you negotiating power: contrary to common belief it is unlikely that avoiding the use of an agent will give you negotiating power through the seller paying less in commission. Chances are, the listing agent will then write up the contract, and they become what is called “procuring cause” for your finding the home, and thus they get both sides of the commission rather than just the one. Either way the seller is likely out the full commission.
  • I am a Lawyer and don’t need advice: Common, at least hire an agent so you have someone to blame if things go wrong.
  • We’ve bought homes before and don’t need advice: See above. And add; the landscape of real estate law and contracts is ever changing. Even if you bought a year or two ago there are likely to be differences in how the operation works.

I am not here to say you need to run out and buy a home, any home, to do so at all costs, and to not miss these historically low interest rates. Hey, I’m not a financial adviser or a tax expert, but if those folks tell you it isn’t the right time for you financially, then it isn’t. You are better off paying 8% interest when it is right for you, than paying 4% when it’s not. Is it more expensive? Of course. That is just my opinion, and I may be booted from the National Association of Realtors for thinking it, but there you go.

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