First Time Home Buyers - Understanding Real Estate Agents

July 22, 2019

If you are buying a property, you can expect in most cases to have to deal with a real estate agent. As a first home buyer, it’s good to understand what the role of the agent is and what to expect of them.

Selling Agents

Selling agents are the agents that most people would expect to interact with when buying a home. As the name suggests, a selling agent is employed by the current property owner to sell their property. For a commission, usually a percentage of the sale price, the agent organises advertising, inspections, and negotiations with the buyers. If the home requires it, they’ll even arrange cleaning and furniture staging. This frees up the seller from having to be involved in the administration of selling a property and relies on the agent’s experience selling and negotiating.

understanding the role of the selling agent

It is the selling agent’s experience that you need to be aware of. In no way should you assume their aim is to swindle you but remember if they sell faster and at a higher the price, they get paid more sooner. Being mindful that they are employed by somebody else and that they should be prioritizing the seller’s needs above yours, can help you take the emotion out of dealing with them. You don’t have to be adversarial with them but do remember to look out for your interests.

Parent Article: 11 Common First Home Buyer Mistakes

A few tips for dealing with agents:

  • When negotiating, don’t reveal your maximum buying value, only speak in offers.
  • Seek out your own inspectors for building and pest inspections.
  • Do your research beforehand. Knowing what local properties have sold for recently can give you an idea of where to start for negotiations.
  • Find the agent on online review pages before meeting to get an idea who you’ll be dealing with.
  • Seek legal advice for any contract negotiations.

Buying Agents

If you don’t like the idea of dealing with selling agents, another option is to employ the services of a buying agent.
A buying agent is somebody that you, the buyer, employs. They will discuss what kind of property, what requirements and price range you have. From here they take on all the work of finding that home for you.

not considering a professional buyer’s agent

The Buying Agent

will search available properties sometimes even having access to some that are yet to be listed. They can then prepare a shortlist for you to inspect and arrange inspection for you, saving time for you. The real value of a buying agent, however, is at the negotiation stage. They will do all the research on the area and its recent sales for you. They are as experienced as the selling agent and can likely negotiate better than most home buyers. Most importantly they don’t have the emotional attachment to a property that you may have, meaning a more logical; strategic approach to negotiations.

Knowing About Agents

Knowing about agents before entering into buying property for the first time can be a big advantage. You don’t have to be suspicious of selling agents, just prepared. The more information you have about the property, the neighborhood and the agent the better chance you’ll have of getting the deal you want. If you don’t want to spend the time researching and are turned off by the thought of negotiation, a buying agent might be a good way to save time and have someone with your interests as their priority involved in the purchase.

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