I am a do-it-yourselfer. I read, I experiment, fail and then start all over. It’s just who I am. In fact, you could call me the poster girl for trying to do things on my own. But as a certified home stager in the Kansas City area, I’ve learned there are lots of things that are too important or risky for trial and error. Buying a house is one.
Purchasing a home, either as a resell or building a house, is a complex transaction with lots of moving parts. House buying involves details upon details, legal requirements, the lender’s never-ending obsession with documents, and on and on. Why would you want to manage all this on your own? Hiring a buyer’s real estate agent is an indispensable asset in closing the deal.
A Buyer’s Agent Works for You.
There are lots of people involved in the house buying transaction, most of whom are more experienced in the transaction than you probably are. This is especially true if you are a first-time buyer. If you try to go it alone, you are at a disadvantage. You need a “wing-man.”
By hiring a buyer’s agent, you get two valuable benefits—advocacy and choice.
When you engage a buying agent, you’re hiring an advocate, someone who has your back. They have a legal obligation to do not only what you instruct them to do, but what is in your best interest. They are bound by a code of ethics as well as reigning state and local laws.
Plus, you get to work with someone you’ve chosen rather than leaving this important role to chance. Interviewing and researching your buyer’s agent means you can find someone who’s communication style works with yours, has the expertise you’re looking for, and is someone you trust. I suggest multiple agents before signing an agreement. You’ve got to trust this person and be able to communicate effectively with them. You’re going to be together for a while.
A Buyer’s Agent is Free to You.
That’s not to say that a buyer’s agent works for free, but typically they won’t see a red cent from your pocket. The commission for the buying agent is paid by the seller in most cases. It’s the best of all possible worlds; you get expertise and advice and it’s paid for by someone else.
A Buyer’s Agent Knows More than You Do.
Agents are trained, licensed and coordinate real estate deals for a living. That means they not only know the legal stuff, but they know what to look for in order to protect your interests as well.
Working with agents has given me insight to all that could go wrong. An agent friend of mine told me about a couple who had recently sold the house they built ten years ago. Their buyer hired an inspector who found that a large section of the attic had no insulation. None. It was a sad moment for the seller to learn that they had not only paid potentially thousands of dollars in unnecessary energy costs over the years, but now had to install insulation before they could get rid of the property. The homeowners did not have a buying agent when they built the house and no one to advise them to get their brand new house inspected. Things get overlooked all the time; a buyer’s agent is there to minimize the risk of oversights and the risk of the things you don’t know costing you real money.
A Buyer’s Agent Negotiates for a Living.
Getting a great deal is a basic human need, just below food, water and shelter. This is especially true when it comes to buying the single largest asset in your life—your house. But there’s no coupon or promotional code that will bring down the asking price. That’s where the buyer’s agent comes in. Their experience, market knowledge and negotiating expertise can help you assess fair market value for the property and develop strategies to get you more bang for your buck.
Before you begin the home buying process, consider giving yourself the distinct advantage of getting the experience and advocacy you deserve. It’s the largest purchase that most of us will make; there’s no reason to go it alone.