Real Estate 101: Working With a Buyers Agent

by : Kinan Beck

"If you're looking at buying a home, you should also be looking at working with a real estate buyer's agent. Although it's possible to buy a home without the assistance of one of these professionals (and the seller might try to get you to just work through their agent instead), a buyer's agent is important to the home buying process. The real estate buyer's agent will be the person that you turn to for advice, get help on the purchasing process from and use for complicated negotiations. Sure, you could get advice about the home that you're buying from the seller's agent, but does that really seem like a good idea?

Since it's such a good idea to work with a real estate buyer's agent, you should probably know how working with them works. Here are some tips for working with your buyer's agent:

1) Find a good buyer's agent. Get one who specializes in working for the buyer or who at least has extensive experience in this area. You want a buyer's agent that is knowledgeable about the area you're buying in and who has both work experience and referrals.

2) Act as though the real estate buyer's agent is your teacher. You shouldn't be afraid to ask a whole lot of questions. This starts when you first interview the buyer's agent before contracting with them and should continue all the way through the closing on the house. Pretend that this professional is there to educate about every step of the home buying process. Heck, you don't have to pretend; that's what the buyer's agent is there for.

3) Be friendly but persistent. You should consider your buyer's agent to be your ally but you should also be able to clearly articulate your needs. If you need more attention, specialized services or better negotiation from your real estate buyer's agent, you should ask firmly but kindly. You know what they say about the squeaky wheel.

4) Be professional when working with your buyer's agent. Yes, this person works for you in a sense, but you should be professional at all times. This means that if you make appointments with your buyer's agent, you should be at them on time (if not early). You should always return phone calls promptly, dress appropriately for home showings and otherwise act with a professional air about the relationship.

5) Use your buyer's agent for referrals to other industry professionals. The process of home buying involves working with appraisers, inspectors, lenders and other professionals. Ask your buyer's agent for referrals to people that they already work well with. You don't have to use them but it's a great starting point for building yourself a professional real estate team.

When you decide to work with a buyer's agent, you should have some loyalty to that person. Don't ever try to cut the agent out of the transaction later on (unless you have a valid reason for terminating your work with that person) and don't ever mistreat the buyer's agent with a lack of professionalism. Consider the buyer's agent to be the one person who is on your side in home buying and act accordingly."