Do you need a buyer’s agent when you look for a home?

North Carolina is a dual agency state, which means that the seller and the buyer can both have an agent if they chose.  You don’t have to use the agent who is listing the home.  So, the question is do you need to use a buyer’s agent when you go searching for your new home?

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission has developed a consumer protection brochure that helps explain how real estate agents work here in NC.  The brochure explains the roles, but it also suggests that it’s best to always have someone working for you.

Below we’ve answered some questions to help you understand why it is smart to hire a buyer’s agent before you start your home search process.

It will not cost you anything to have an expert (a buyer’s agent) on your side.

In North Carolina, commissions are frequently paid directly to the company that is listing the property.  If the home is sold with the help of a buyer’s agent, then the commission will be split between two firms.  It isn’t common for a buyer to pay a commission.

The bottom line is that buyers get expert help but don’t have to pay anything out of pocket when they hire an agent to represent their interests.

Sellers already have someone representing their interest

North Carolina is a dual agency state.  This means that home buyers do not have to work with the agent who already has a relationship with the seller.  It’s wise to get your own agent when you’re looking at buying or selling real estate.  You want to make sure that you have a professional representing only your interests at all times.

The agent who represents the seller has loyalty to the seller.   They are expected to get the highest possible price for the seller.  Seller’s agents are also required to share any information they learn about the buyer.  They need to share information about the buyer’s motivation, finances, and personal information.  Basically, anything you say to a seller’s agent may be used to negotiate for better terms for the seller.

Your buyer’s agent has a fiduciary responsibility to you

The home seller has hired an agent to help them.  That agent represents the seller and their loyalty to the seller is paramount.

When you have a buyer’s agent you are making the playing field level by hiring your own representative.  Your buyer’s agent has a responsibility to act as an advocate for you and your financial matters.  This means that your agent will alert you if they see problems that may cost you.  It also means that they will do their best to get the best price and terms for you.  They will report anything they learn that will help that.  Your buyer’s agent has an ethical and legal responsibility to represent your interests.

Buyer’s agents help spot fraud, deception or misrepresentation

Buyer’s agents will alert you to potential deception or misrepresentation by the seller.  Agents are knowledgeable about the home selling process and they can give you a warning if they spot items that are being covered up, or if there are known problems that are being hidden by the seller.

The job of the agent is to find out as much as possible about a property so that you can have faith that you are buying wisely.

Buyer’s agents are licensed and monitored

Real estate agents are licensed by the State of North Carolina and managed by a “Broker in Charge” at their office.  A real estate agent who carries the Realtor status is bound to a code of ethics and standards as well.  Your buyer’s agent has rules on how to behave, how to help, and how to treat their clients.  If they do not do their job they can lose their title, their job, and potentially face prosecution.

Sellers are not bound by these rules.  They have no fiduciary duty to you at all.  Furthermore, they may gloss over, hide, or not even be unaware of things that could cost you in the long run.

Emotional help and support

Buying a home can be stressful.  When you hire a buyer’s agent they can help take some of the worries off your plate.  They will be able to help you anticipate and avoid problems.  If a problem does arise though, their knowledge and expertise will help you decide on a quick and easy solution.  If you have times where you are just nervous about the process a good agent will be able to help you talk through your fears to make decisions that will benefit you.

You don’t know what you don’t know

If you bought and sold homes on a regular basis you would know a lot of information about the process.  Since you aren’t the expert, you really don’t know what you don’t know.  Smart consumers rely on the market knowledge of someone who is helping people buy and sell homes for a living. A good Realtor can guide you on finance options, market trends and more.

Save time and effort with a buyer’s agent

There may be hundreds of houses you like when you spot them online.  However, you cannot, and probably should not, visit all of them.  You’d drive yourself mad and get confused by this approach.

Your agent will talk with you about your circumstances and your desired lifestyle.  When the agent has an idea about what you need they can create a targetted approach to the search.

Your agent will be able to weed out those houses that do not fit so you can focus on the true gems that meet all your criteria.

Buyer’s agents provide insight into market pricing

Since you are the buyer you will make the determination about what you want to offer when you attempt to buy a home.

But how do you figure out what is the right offer to give?

It can be difficult to figure out if the price on the property is fair and if you should also ask for any allowances.  This is where your buyer’s agent comes in.  They can give you insight into what other people have paid for similar homes.  They can also tell you if it is common to get assistance with particular allowances such as warranties, help with closing costs or extras.

This information will be invaluable to help you determine what your offer will be. Your agent can even make suggestions which can help you get the deal if you are competing against other buyers.

Buyer’s agents can negotiate for you

Negotiating an offer can be difficult if you are not used to negotiating, or if you are highly invested in the outcome.  This is one of the areas where having your own real estate agent will pay off.  Realtors negotiate on a regular basis and although they are advocating for their client, they are not the client, so there’s some distance between the offer and the buyer.

Your buyer’s agent has resources

Agents spend time in the market so they get to know mortgage lenders, attorneys, home inspectors, and tradespeople.  They can help you find a good option for a loan company, and they’ll know which real estate attorney has the best reputation.  When it’s time to inspect the home they can help you find a highly reputable home inspector and if you need to get an estimate on repairs they’ll help you find tradesmen as well.

A buyer’s agent can help you determine an investment strategy

If you are interested in purchasing homes for investment, then a buyer’s agent will be very helpful.  Many agents are well educated in investment and finance in regard to real estate investment.  They can guide you when you make your purchase.  Return on investment, rent rolls, 1031 exchanges, and profit analysis information will help you make a good decision and a seasoned buyer’s agent who has a knack for investment will be very helpful in that regard.

Hiring a buyer’s agent

If you have determined that you want to hire someone to represent you as a buyer’s agent, then check out the information about the 8 ways to know you’ve found a good Realtor. This will give you suggestions on what to look for when you’re interviewing agents.

If you are located in the greater Triangle area of North Carolina, give Triangle Trusted Realty a call.  We have been helping clients buy homes in our area since 2000. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and we also have lots of rave reviews from our clients.

Triangle Trusted Realtors are seasoned professionals and we are able to help you make great decisions.  You can reach us at our office number of (919) 481-4914 or by filling out the form below.