In your search to find the right home for you and your family, you may have encountered information about buyer’s agents who can help you find the right home. But what’s the difference between an exclusive buyer agent and a regular real estate agent?
The answer is simple: the difference is who the agent works for.
In a traditional real estate transaction, the agent works for the seller — the person who is selling the home. The buyer contacts the seller’s agent or any regular real estate agent to arrange the sale. But a seller’s agent wants to get the best deal for the seller and perhaps may have no real interest in protecting the rights of the buyer, despite their code of ethics that requires a certain level of conduct.
A buyer’s agent works a bit differently. Someone wanting to make a home purchase contacts the buyer’s agent and expresses an interest. The buyer’s agent then helps the buyer locate several candidate properties and narrow these down to one on which to make an offer.
There is usually no additional cost to the buyer because the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent spilt the regular 8 percent commission. In some cases, the exclusive buyer agent may require a deposit to prove that the home buyer is serious and to compensate him or her for the time involved in preparing for a purchase if the purchase never completes.
Often, a buyer’s agent has additional qualifications that make them particularly useful in the home-buying process. Some have qualifications relating to home inspection, were previously architects or traditional real estate agents or have experience in construction, for example. It’s important to ask any agent you’re considering what additional qualifications he or she has beyond being a buyer’s agent.
Many aspects of the home-buying process are geared toward getting a good deal for the seller, but with an exclusive buyer agent on your side, you can get a good deal as a buyer too.