Purchasing a home is a significant life event, and having a buyer’s agent represent you throughout the process is highly beneficial. Seller’s agents are solely focused on representing the best interests of the seller, so having someone on your side of the transaction that you can trust is a great way to protect your own interests.
If you’ve been considering buying a home without professional representation, or are curious about the benefits of working with a buyer’s agent, take a look at these seven reasons you should use a buyer’s agent.
1. Inventory advantages
A buyer’s agent can help you navigate through a sea of inventory and narrow down your home search to find a property that best fits you and your family. Agents are equipped with tools and strategies to access inventory and provide you with a list of potential homes within your budget and area of interest. They’ll also ensure that the properties they present you with have enough space for you and come with any must-have amenities or features that suit your tastes. Take advantage of the time a buyer’s agent can save you and trust them to present you with a list of options to evaluate and consider.
An agent’s inventory expertise is even more useful should you find yourself buying in a seller’s market when inventory is limited, and homes are moving quickly. A reliable real estate agent is invaluable in a hot market.
2. Local knowledge
Working with a buyer’s agent who understands the area you’re interested in moving to or staying in will make the home buying process much more enjoyable for you. Agents know the ins and outs of the areas they represent and can help you identify up-and-coming neighbourhoods, good investment opportunities, quiet parts of town, busy parts of town - whatever is important to you. Make a list of your wants and needs and go over them with your buyer’s agent. No piece of information is too small.
Buyer’s agents can also help introduce you to local contractors and service providers should you need any assistance throughout or after the home buying process. Agents have large networks of trusted contacts ready to help you every step of the way, from notaries and home inspectors to plumbers and landscapers.
3. Experienced market analysis
Submitting an offer is a challenging task. Understanding current market conditions, recent sales in the area, and the sellers’ motivations all play a role in writing a solid offer. Agents can conduct a market analysis on your behalf that studies the active listings and recently sold comparables, allowing you to analyze and reflect on recent trends.
Slow markets can put buyers in a position to offer less with more subjects, while the opposite is true of a hot housing market. Your buyer’s agent will have experience in all kinds of markets and can help guide you to an offer that will be taken seriously without stretching you beyond your comfort zone.
4. Help with subjects and conditions
One of the most important things that first-time homebuyers need to know is the subject removal process and what conditions should be included in your offer. Working with a real estate professional ensures that you have an expert on your side who is looking out for your best interests. A buyer’s agent will help you submit conditions that keep you safe and protected when you make any offers.
The sale will only be final once your conditions have been met within a set timeframe. Talk to your agent about the options available and work with them to submit subjects or conditions that protect your interests. This will give you peace of mind throughout any inspections or while you secure financing.
5. Negotiation skills
Good agents are good negotiators, and having your buyer’s agent conduct negotiations with the seller’s agent is in your best interest. An experienced agent understands leverage, when and where to use it, and how certain conditions can be used in your favour. Agents also benefit from having conducted dozens if not hundreds of similar negotiations, which means that they understand the process and all of its potential challenges. In such a high-value negotiation, trust someone that knows the ropes.
If you’re evaluating agents, ask about their experience representing buyers and request past examples of their successful negotiation efforts. This will help give you confidence that you have a skilled negotiator as your representative.
6. Take care of the unknown
Agents are a wealth of knowledge, not just on inventory and market analysis but also on less frequently broached topics. Agents have an understanding of the industry that is well beyond the average home buyer or seller, and they can often point out potential pitfalls or roadblocks before they come up. It all comes down to experience, which is one of the most important things you should look for in a real estate agent. Experience can help you estimate any closing costs or additional fees you may not have considered, spot any potential neighbourhood issues, and help you come out on top should you be contending for a property with other competing offers. Sometimes the task that a buyer’s agent will help you with the most is one you didn’t anticipate.
7. It’s no cost to the buyer
It may come as a surprise to many first-time homebuyers, but it’s true. As a buyer, you won’t have to pay any real estate commission to your agent.
It works like this: when a home is listed, the seller and their agent enter into a listing agreement. The agreement pre-determines the buyer agent’s commission, which the seller pays. In almost all cases, working with a buyer’s agent is of no cost to you - it’s entirely free.
Working with a buyer’s agent has significant advantages over buying a home without professional representation, so finding a great real estate agent should be a top priority. Start interviewing agents before you begin your home buying journey. Having a good agent will help you from day one all the way until possession day.