Home Buyers Should Know Who the Real Estate Agent Represents
As a home buyer, you need an agent that is going to have your best interests in mind. Your part in making sure this happens is finding an agent that is going to represent you. When you hire a real estate agent, there is a legal relationship that governs the way the two of you handle business. While there are laws in place to protect the interests of both you and the real estate agent, agents will choose to create a contractual agreement between the two of you.
The real estate agent you choose has a legal obligation not only to protect your interests, but to promote them as well. Your agent has to be loyal to you at all times. This includes protecting your negotiating position. The agent is also obligated to give you any and all information that will have an effect on your decision. If you give any lawful instructions to your real estate agent, he is required to follow them. Anything you tell the real estate agent must be kept confidence.
Your agent has a great deal of responsibility to make sure your needs are met. In the real estate profession there are seller's agents and buyer's agents. As you choose a real estate agent, you must make sure the agent you choose is a buyer's agent. If you work with the seller's agent, your interests will not be protected as the agent has an obligation to protect those needs of the seller.
Be careful that you are not working with what is known as a dual agency. These are agencies that work with both buyers and sellers. Since the agency works with both types of people, you may be told that the real estate agent you are working with is a buyer's agent, when in fact, he is really both.
Working with a dual agency places limitations on your relationship with the real estate agent and the obligations that would otherwise be available to you with a buyer's agent. Because the agent has a committed to both you and the seller, there will be some concessions on both parts. The real estate agent will have to remain neutral and impartial at all times. Information must be shared between both buyer and the seller. This will result in a loss of advocacy that you will need in negotiations.
When you are choosing a real estate agent, you should ask if the agent represents buyers, sellers, or both. There may be situations in which you are interested in a home in which the seller has listed with the agency firm. Ask the real estate agent how these types of conflicts are handled. You might find that some real estate agents attempt to diminish the importance of this issue. In some situations, it might not be important. However, if the firm has many listings in the neighborhoods you are considering, it is an important issue.
Knowing who your real estate agent represents is crucial to making sure you get the home you want at a price you can afford.
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