Monday, September 19, 2011
A buyer’s agent is a Realtor working for the buyer. To be specific, a buyer’s agent works solely on behalf of the buyer to promote the interests of the buyer with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The buyer’s agent negotiates on behalf of the buyer and acts as an advocate for the buyer. This is the opposite of a seller’s agent, which is a Realtor working for the seller.
Typically sellers pay the buyer’s Realtor, but in real estate, everything is negotiable. Sometimes a seller will offer a low commission and in that case, the buyer’s agent may request that the buyer pay the difference. For example, it is becoming common for sellers of short sales and REO’s (seeprevious post on the topic if you’re not sure what a short sale or REO property is) to offer a lower commission, say 2%, when the Realtor charges 3. In this case, the buyer’s agent may ask that the buyer pay the 1% that the seller is not offering. This fee is typically paid only at closing, so if the buyer doesn’t buy a property, the buyer’s agent doesn’t get paid. However, in some areas, Realtors are charging retainers or hourly fees especially if they are working on short sales, since they require so much extra work and they often don’t close. Short sales and their complications are a whole separate issue, and you asked about buyer’s agents so I’ll stick to the question at hand. In summary, the client of a buyer’s agent is the buyer, not the seller. Find one you want to work with, and together you’ll get answers to all the questions on what it takes to have a place to call your own.