Infoggraphic of buyer's agent vs listing agent

 

When it comes time to buy a home, there is a multitude of ways an agent can interact with you.  And it is important you know your agent's relationship with you.  It can actually be more confusing than you think.... Facilitator, buyer's agent, listing agent, dual agent.... and it doesn't end there.

Often a buyer shows up at an open house and purchases a home directly thru the listing agent.  Of course, they are nice and helpful, they want to sell you their client's house!!

Here's the rub.  The seller is their client.  They are not your agent.  They must promote the seller's best interest even if it is detrimental to you.

Let's face it. Many home buyers only buy a home once or twice in a lifetime.  It can is a legal transaction that can be filled with complexities.  You want an agent that works for you and promotes your best interest.

 

Works For You

A Massachusetts buyer's agent works for you and you alone. When you engage a Massachusetts agent to represent you they work for you and their job is to walk you through the buying process.

They will help you make decisions along the way, find suitable houses, negotiate a great deal for you and bring you to a smooth closing. 

You are in the driver's seat and a buyer's agent will tailor their services to your needs putting your best interest first.

Alternatively, a listing agent must promote a seller's best interest and the seller's needs must come before yours.  A listing agent can't work for you, they have a client already... the seller.  It would be like a lawyer working for both a plaintiff and a defendant.

Just because you are working with an agent, it does not mean they are working for you.  I often hear buyers call listing agents "my agent" and nothing could be farther from the truth.

Best Interest 

There is no other agency relationship, other than a buyer's agent, where an agent must work in the best interest of a buyer. 

A listing agent may appear nice and helpful at an open house. Of course, they do, they want to sell you the house. But when push comes to shove, their allegiance lies with the seller.  They will always put the seller's best interest first, even at your expense.

As a matter of fact, when you enter into a buyer agency agreement with an agent, it is their lawful duty to always put your best interest first.

Confidentiality

Because a buyer's agency relationship is a fiduciary one, confidentiality is automatically expected.  A buyer's agent can not share any information about you that disadvantages you during the purchase of a home.

While this may not seem like a big deal, it is.  I cannot tell you home many times I am conducting an open house as a listing agent (I work for the seller) and a buyer interested in the home reveals something to me that they shouldn't.

They may tell me they love the home... great they will do anything to get it!

Or, may tell me their credit is not the best.....  put them on the bottom of the pile.

Or they have a house to sell, but it is nowhere near to being put on the market... another deal killer.

Buyers constantly reveal snippets of information that can disadvantage themselves.  A listing agent does not owe a buyer any confidentiality and must relay any and all information they know about potential buyers to the home seller.

But a buyer's agent owes you confidentiality.  They know when to keep quiet or how to spin a potential negative if it is brought up.

Give An Opinion of Value

One area a home buyer often wants help with is determining what a fair price is for a home for sale.  A buyer's agent can prepare a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA for a home buyer and help them interpret the data. 

A CMA compares similar recently sold homes to the subject home.  Criteria such as size, location, condition, age and room counts are used to help determine the fair market value of a home.

A listing agent can only support the seller's list price and must defend the sellers asking price.  And because they represent the seller there would be a conflict for them to recommend an actual sale price.

 

Negotiate On Your Behalf

A buyer's agent can help you structure a negotiating strategy based on fair market value and your desirability of a home.

A real estate agent spends half their day negotiating and can be a valuable asset when it comes time to negotiate a contract on a house.  They know what to look for to protect your interest and they know what is working based on current market conditions.

Your agent will negotiate a deal based on the parameters you have set forth with them.

A listing agent cannot help you negotiate the terms and price of a home.  Their allegiance is to the seller and they must advantage the seller at every turn.  Their job is to sell a home to you for the best price and terms..... for the seller.

Recommend Other Professionals

I have been in the business for 20 years.  I know real estate attorneys and home inspectors.  I know who is good and who isn't.  I can recommend professionals along the way that will promote your interest and provide great service based on my personal experience.

A listing agent cannot recommend other real estate professionals.  They can only steer you to a list for you to choose from. Again if they recommend one of their preferred vendors they are not acting in their seller's best interest and could be advantaging you.

Summary

A great buyer's agent can certainly save you time, money and aggravation. 

An experienced, full-time agent spends 40+ hours a week immersed in buying and selling real estate.  Every transaction is different and brings unique challenges to the table. 

A buyer's agent can take their experience and put it to work for you.

Other Real Estate Resources

  • Buying a new construction home can be a desirable option for many. Buying new construction can be exciting but can turn into a nightmare.  Bill Gasset shares how to go about buying a home from a builder.
  • There are many facets to the sale of a home and closings may be delayed.  What can cause a delay in closing and how can you get past it?  Paul Sian shares what delays a real estate closing and how to avoid delays.
  • Buying your first home can be a huge undertaking.  Eric Jeanette answers 20 of the most important first-time home buying questions in his latest article.

6 Things A Buyers Agent Can Do For A Buyer That A Listing Agent Can't is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty.  Are you looking to buy a home and want an agent that serves rather than sells.... call me at 978-360-0422.