Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Most buyers do! Below are some of the most-commonly-asked questions I am asked.

What is a “Buyer Agency Agreement”?

A “buyer agency agreement” is a contract between a buyer and a real estate agent. The buyer agency agreement lays out the commitments of the buyer to the agent, and of the agent to the buyer.

Is it expensive to use a buyer’s agent?

The compensation that a buyer’s agent receives typically comes from the seller’s proceeds and is a percentage of the total compensation charged by the listing company. That information is available to me through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In such a case, there is no cost for a buyer to be represented by an agent. There are some occasions in which a buyer is interested in purchasing a property not listed in the MLS or a property that the buyer agent compensation amount is less than typical compensation. In this case, a buyer agency agreement would detail how that problem is solved.

What is a “dual agent”, and should I work with one?

“Dual agency” refers to the practice of a single agent representing both the buyer and the seller during the real estate transaction. When an agent acts in a dual capacity, they owe the same fiduciary responsibility to both parties. Most states have a required brochure or pamphlet which details the responsibilities of buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, and dual agents. Buyers considering the use of a dual agent should pay particular attention to the difference in responsibilities when an agent acts as a representative of both the buyer and the seller. 

In my opinion, when you are working with an agent who is acting as a dual agent, you have lost your strong “advocate” in the buying process. In addition, buyers usually meet dual agents at open houses – meaning that the agent has already developed a strong working (and contractual) relationship with the seller. In such a case, it’s human nature that the agent is going to feel a stronger responsibility to negotiate on the seller’s behalf. Since the seller has already agreed to compensate an agent as part of the listing agreement, it only makes sense for you to find an agent who is solely committed to being your advocate. The practice of dual agency, when not performed correctly, is one of the leading causes of real estate litigation.

How can I find out about new properties?

I will work with you to determine how often you want to receive updates on available homes, and by what method (telephone, email, text, or app). Buyers using email or an app can receive automatic updates from most MLS systems as soon as new listings are entered.

Can you provide information on properties listed with other companies?

Absolutely. I have access to information on any property that is listed in the MLS.

What if I find a property on my own?

Many buyers find properties of interest online. If you see something you like, contact me with the address or the MLS number of the property in question. I will then contact the agent who has the property listed.

If I drive by a home I am interested in, review the listing details and photos on my phone, and am ready to take a closer look, do I call you to see the property or the agent whose name is on the sign?

Call me. I will be your representative throughout the home viewing process and through to closing. If there is information we need from the listing agent, I will reach out and secure that information for you. I should be the one you call for all your real estate needs if we are working together in the transaction.

What about open houses? Can we go to open houses if we have been viewing homes with you?

You can certainly tour open houses on your own. Just let the agent holding the home open know that you are working with me and I will follow up with the listing agent to get any additional information that you need or to schedule a second viewing.

The listing information indicates a property has acreage, but how do we know for sure where our property ends and the neighbors’ begins?

The only way to know for sure is with a survey. There may have already been a survey done on the property or this may be something that you want to invest in, especially if you are building a fence or outbuildings or removing trees. Otherwise, talking to the neighbors and learning if a survey was done on their property might be a way to piece together the boundary line, but only through a survey on your property can you know for sure. The title company may have additional information on the property specifics.

What happens if I buy a house, have an inspection, but the inspector misses something that is a big deal to fix?

That is something that could happen. My advice would be to get all the inspections done that you need to feel comfortable about your purchase. For example, if you are buying a home that sits on a hill, hiring not only a general inspector for the home but also a geotech engineer to investigate the soil and rock structure to determine the soundness and possible erosion problems may be just what you need to bring you peace of mind. However, that is no guarantee that something still won’t go wrong. Every home buyer should do their due diligence and find out as much about the home as warranted before making a purchase of this magnitude.