My whole life I’ve wanted to be Dear Abby and offer people my advice (even when they didn’t want it). Now I get to be Dear Kimmi, a guide to the Boston real estate market. This is my tribute to the late, great Pauline Phillips, aka “Dear Abby.” Thanks for telling it like it is.
Have a Boston real estate question? Just ask me. All questions sent to me will be answered and we’ll be regularly featuring a lucky someone’s question in this blog and our newsletter.
Keep in mind, I am not a lawyer nor will I pretend to be one like that guy on “Suits.” All comments made by me are either my opinions and/or are based on my experiences & expertise as a Realtor. They should not take the place of legal advice.
Q. Why should I use you or anyone as my buyers agent? – Donna D.
(She really said it like that. I like it.)
A. Are you kidding me? I’m awesome! (JK, well sort of.) The reason you HAVE to use a buyers agent even if you don’t use me is because you need someone working on your side.
On a typical transaction there are 2 agents involved. A seller or listing agent and your new best friend – a buyer’s agent. A seller’s agent not have your best interests in mind when you interact with them at something like an Open House. Their obligation is to their seller. They can’t reveal anything about the seller to you and when they do it’s usually information that works to their advantage. “Oh this is Buffy’s second home. No need to sell but she’s grown quite tired of so much travel. She can hold off until she gets a great offer” (Haha, Buffy.)
On the other hand, anything you reveal about your situation to a seller’s agent they may relay to the seller to try to leverage it against your offer. “I just moved here from CA. My wife and baby will be here in 3 weeks. We need to find something fast and there’s not much to choose from.” You think you’re just having a friendly conversation about your life. Nope. That agent only heard “fast” and “not much to choose from.”
These are some of the things I do as a buyer’s agent:
- Explain the buying process
- Educate you on the market
- Look through listings everyday for anything that might work for you (and look for off market opportunities as well!)
- Make sure you are getting up to the minute updates that pertain to your specific criteria
- Run comps for property you are interested in
- Give you all the info so you can make your best offer to put your new home under agreement
- Try to find out anything I can about the sale to give you the best leverage
- Make sure you are getting the best terms for you
- Make sure you create a great team for yourself (meaning lender, attorney, home inspector, etc.)
- Protect any and all deposits by making sure everyone (including you) is doing what they’re supposed to do by the timelines determined in your offer
- Read through condo docs. Oh how I hate reading them! They’re so long and boring. But I do to see if there is anything in them that might cause a problem later on. Ex. pet policies. (Looking for a pet friendly home?)
- Make sure a home inspection is done and negotiate any issues on your behalf
- Make sure P&S is accurate and signed by both parties on time
- Follow up with the attorney to make sure there are no issues such as with the title or taxes
- Follow up with the lender to make sure commitment will come in on time
- Remind you not to make large purchases that will affect your loan
- Follow up with seller’s agent to make sure fire cert is in order, condo questionnaire gets filled out, appraiser has access, etc.
- Make sure you close on time and, if that’s not possible for either party, that we get extensions in writing to protect your deposits
- Go to closing to ensure all paperwork is signed and recorded
- And sometimes, I’m there just to hold your hand and tell you everything will be alright. Buying a home can be scary and overwhelming especially for first time home buyers. Problems come up. It’s my job to fix them to best of my ability and see your purchase through to the end.
Keep in mind, there is no out of pocket expense to use a buyer’s agent. The seller pays the listing agent a predetermined percentage of the sale amount. Usually about 5%. The commission for both buyer and seller agent gets split between the two from this percentage . If you choose not to use a buyers agent, the listing agent still gets paid the same amount and leaves your best interests unrepresented on probably one of the most important financial decisions of your life. Ya, that’s right. Call me!