For most of us, buying a home is the biggest single investment we’re likely to make – and we’re only likely to do it maybe once or twice in a lifetime. The process is, by nature, filled with checks and balances – and many complex details. Traditionally, agents were legally obligated to protect the interests of the home seller. Today preferences are changing. One of these changes is that more homebuyers are choosing to have their own real estate agent, known as a buyer’s agent, to legally represent them.
A buyer’s agent represents you, the buyer, not the seller, and has full fiduciary duties, including loyalty to you. By definition, the buyer’s agent has your best interests in mind throughout the transaction. The percentage of homebuyers with buyer representation has grown significantly in the past decade. According to a recent National Association of Realtors® survey, nearly half (46%) of home buyers used the services of a buyer’s agent last year, and four out of every five buyer’s agent agreements were in writing.
The benefits of buyer representation is the dedication of a buyer’s agent to the home buyer. The buyer’s agent and homebuyer establish a mutual agreement, known as a buyer agency agreement, that will entitle the homebuyer to, but is not limited by:
Loyalty The real estate agent must act in the best interest of the buyer.
Disclosure All material facts such as relationships between agent and other parties, existence of other offers, status of earnest money, seller’s financial condition, property’s true worth, commission split with other brokers, and legal effect of important contract provisions.
Confidentiality Any discussions, facts, or information that should not be revealed to others but does not include responsibility of fairness and honesty in dealings with all parties.
Accounting in dealings Reporting of where any money placed in the hands of the broker is kept.
Reasonable Skill and Care Arriving at a reasonable purchase price and advising the buyer of such, affirmatively discovering material facts and disclosing them to the buyer, investigating the material facts related to the sale. With a buyer agency, the interests of the homebuyer will be represented in the purchase of the home. This scenario is different from a typical transaction where the buyer is not technically represented.