Working with a Real Estate Agent
Can I use an agent for help in purchasing a brand new home?
Yes, however buyers should be aware of the differences inherent in working with sales agents who are employed by the builder and represent the builder only, rather than working with a real estate agent who would always represent the buyer's best interests.
Here's an important note to buyers about proceeding ahead and contacting a builder without have an agent. Builders commonly require that an agent be present the first time a prospective buyer calls or visits a builder's office, talks to a builder's sales agent or visits a new build with that sales agent. If there is no agent representing the buyer at this first contact, then the builder will not pay any commission to an agent that comes in later to help that buyer. However, if the buyer is already working with an agent and calls a builder, the buyer can announce first off that he/she is already working with an agent but was contacting them because he/she just had a few quick questions. In this scenario, that builder would officially record in their system that buyer had a real estate agent representing them and that real estate agent could continue to work represent them during the buying process and get paid their commission at closing. Rule of thumb here is to get representation from a good real estate agent and have them obtain all the builder info you were seeking instead. The real estate agent will always look out for your best interests.
What about a buyer's agent?
In many states, it's now common for an agent to represent the buyers exclusively in the transaction and be paid a commission by the sellers. More and more buyers are going a step further, hiring and paying for their own agent, referred to as buyers brokers.
How do you find a good agent?
Getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good agent, whether you are a buyer or a seller. You can also check on websites such as Zillow and Realtor.com to check out the testimonials of agents.
A good agent typically works full-time and has several years of experience at minimum. If you are a buyer, you don't usually pay for your agent's services (in the form of a commission, or percentage of the sales price of the home). All agents in a transaction usually are paid by the seller from the sales proceeds. If you are a seller, you should interview at least three agents, all of whom should make a sales presentation including a comparative market analysis of local home prices in your area. The best choice isn't always the agent with the highest asking price for your home. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the agent's marketing plan and how well you think you can work with the individual.
How much does my real estate agent need to know?
Real estate agents would say that the more you tell them, the better they can negotiate on your behalf. However, the degree of trust you have with an agent may depend upon their legal obligation. Agents have three possible scenarios: They can represent the buyer exclusively, represent just the seller exclusively, or represent both the buyer and seller in a dual-agency situation. In either case, all agents must disclose the relationships before they enter into a residential real estate transaction with you.
If you have your own buyer's agent who is representing only you, then it behooves you to share everything that is of importance to you as it relates to the real estate you are interested in.