What is a buyer's agent?

WHAT IS A BUYER’S AGENT? I’m looking for a home in the area. Shouldn’t I just go to an open house or work with a listing agent? What are my best options?

Up until about 1995, anyone buying property in the state of Ohio was not actually represented by a realtor. That’s because all realtors worked in the seller’s best interests to get the best price possible for a piece of property. Therefore, if you were working with a realtor to find you a home and told your realtor the highest price you would pay for a piece of property, the information automatically got conveyed to the seller and the seller’s realtor. Guess what? You ended up paying your highest price! Some people believe that the process is the same today, but that is simply not true!

These laws have changed. In 1995, the state of Ohio passed some laws that provided the buyer protection. These laws gave the buyer the ability to have their interests represented by a realtor. We call this a buyer agency relationship. With these laws, any realtor representing a buyer has a fiduciary responsibility to provide loyalty and trust to that buyer and always work in the buyer’s best interest to get them the home they want for the least possible price. Therefore, it is in your best interest to find a realtor to represent you before you start looking at homes! Do your research and find one that you feel you can trust with what some say is the biggest investment of your life! Check references! Meet with a realtor in their office before going to look at a home!

In some cases, a realtor may have a property listed that matches the criteria that their buyer needs. In that case, the realtor may be considered a “dual” agent and must provide integrity and honesty to both the buyer and the seller, and cannot work for either the buyer’s or seller’s best interest, but acts as an intermediary. Therefore, if as a buyer you give the realtor your highest price, the realtor cannot convey that information to the seller without your permission. Likewise, if the realtor knows the seller’s lowest price, the realtor cannot convey that information to you without the seller’s permission.

However, please be aware that your realtor has the option to represent only the seller in the transaction, and not be a “dual agent”. If you are looking to purchase a property that your realtor has listed, be sure to ask if they will be a “dual agent” or represent the seller only. If they are only representing the seller, make sure that you do not give them any confidential information such as the highest price you will pay!

We believe that you will best be served by finding a realtor to represent you as a buyer’s agent. In today’s market, it is easy to find homes that match your criteria on the internet, but finding the home and setting up the appointment is only a very small part of the home buying process! The job is only beginning when the contract is signed! You will want someone that you can trust to represent you during the negotiation process, loan approval, inspection process, occupancy, and closing.

In addition, a buyer's agent has information about homes not yet on the market that are ready to come onto the market. In addition, by hooking up with an agent, they can send you via e-mail listings that match your criteria the day they come on the market. Many searches are a few days behind, and the home may be sold by the time you see it on-line! Having a buyer's agent will help you to find that home more quickly!

If you want more information about agency disclosure or have any questions about the above information, call us toll free at (877) 901-1551. We will be more than happy to help you with all of your real estate questions.

Thanks and happy house hunting!


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