On paper, buying or selling a home sounds like a straightforward transaction. After all, you just need to advertise your home online to prospective buyers, right? Wrong. Real estate transactions are complex and long-winding with multiple steps, lots of paperwork, and financial and legal considerations. For this reason, you need professional guidance at every step.
A real estate agent is one of the specialists you need in your team. Real estate agents have state licensing to handle local real estate transactions. They list homes for sale, showing listed homes to prospective buyers, help you navigate the usually complex process, and help with the tedious paperwork involved in a home buying or selling process.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you have most likely come across different types of real estate agents; buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. Unfortunately, for a first-time home buyer, these professionals could confuse you as you desperately seek the right person to guide you through the real estate process.
Here, you’ll learn the differences between the two main real estate agents and find tips to help you choose the ideal professional to work with.
Who Is a Buyer’s Agent?
A buyer’s agent is a real estate agent who works exclusively for the homebuyer. If you’re looking to buy a home, a buyer’s agent represents your interests throughout the real estate transaction. Their primary job is to help you find the right property and negotiate the best price and terms on their behalf.
They will provide advice and guidance throughout the entire home-buying process, from searching for properties to closing the deal.
Why Hire a Buyer’s Agent?
While the internet makes it easier to shop for that perfect home, a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows about 88% of homeowners still use a real estate agent to navigate the ins and outs of the deal. Some benefits of using a buyer’s agent for your first home include:
- No conflicts of interest: They are solely focused on your interests. They will not be influenced by the seller’s agent or any other parties involved. The agent works to get you the best deal without any conflicts of interest.
- Invaluable insights into the local real estate market: A buyer’s agent understands the need. They can help you understand the current trends and conditions and provide information on neighborhoods, schools, and other essential factors to consider when buying a home.
- Arrange inspections and tests: Your agent attends the property during an inspection and coordinates pest and building inspection and other tasks.
- Leveling the playing field: Their industry knowledge helps counter the expertise of the selling agent representing the seller. They also negotiate on your behalf and tilt the scales to your advantage using their market understanding.
- Protecting your dream of owning a home: A real estate agent works objectively and can quickly spot red flags to protect you from burning your fingers in the investment.
- Access to a broader range of properties: A buyer’s agent can help you find that dream home faster because they know which properties are in the market and which are even about to be listed. Real estate professionals leverage their networks to find you that home faster.
- Making the best offer: Making the right offer helps close the deal faster and guarantees higher ROI. Your real estate agent can price a home when they walk through the door. They know about the neighborhood and comparables in the area and give you the best advice.
- Helping with paperwork: There’s a lot of documentation involved in property transactions, including the written offer, deed, the written and signed counteroffer, warranty deed, and certificate of occupancy. All this is tedious work, and a buying agent helps you organize it.
Getting that dream home: Your agent shares homes that meet your criteria within your budget and have specific characteristics. Multiple listing services (MLS) are the primary source of home listings information; this is where agents pull house data.
Who Is a Seller’s Agent?
A seller’s agent (also known as a listing agent) is a real estate agent who represents the seller in a real estate transaction. A listing agent represents the seller’s interests in a real estate transaction, with the primary responsibility being to get the property off the market for a profit.
The seller’s agent markets their property to potential buyers, negotiates the best possible price and terms, and guides the seller through the entire selling process. They can also provide valuable advice on staging, pricing, and other aspects of the selling process.
- Why Use a Seller’s Agent?
Some reasons to hire a seller’s agent include:
- To leverage their deep understanding of the local market
- To help you price your home appropriately
- To sell the property faster and at a better price through their vast network of potential buyers
However, it’s essential to remember that a seller’s agent works for the seller, not the buyer. As a home buyer, the agent may be willing to answer your questions and provide guidance, but remember that ultimately they are focused on getting the best deal for their client.
Questions To Ask When Selecting A Buyer’s Agent
When selecting an agent, it’s important to ask the right questions. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are you a dedicated buyers’ agent?
- How long have you been working as a real estate agent?
- Are you a fully licensed real estate agent?
- Are you a member of professional bodies or State Real Estate Institute?
- What is your approach to negotiations?
- How will you help me find the right property (if you are buying)?
- How do you communicate with your clients? What channels of communication?
Understanding the different personnel and steps in home buying can be overwhelming for a first-time home buyer. With these insights, you can now differentiate between a buyer’s and seller’s agent and determine the type of real estate agent you need. Whether buying or selling a home, it’s important to interview multiple agents and choose one you feel comfortable working with. Remember, communication is key throughout the entire process.
Are you a first-time homebuyer wondering where to start? A first-time home-buying course is just what you need. The Home Buyer’s Best Friend home buying course helps you navigate the complex process in very simple but detailed steps.