Home Buying in Baltimore>Question Details

Letisha Ford, Home Buyer in Pikesville, MD

Do you need a broker and a Real Estate Agent when purchasing a home as a first time home buyer? What are their responsibilities?

Asked by Letisha Ford, Pikesville, MD Tue Feb 7, 2012

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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
In Maryland, a broker is usually the company (brokerage) under which a real estate agent keeps their professional license.

All the real estate agents of the brokerage operate under this one state-recognized and registered broker license.

The broker may or may not be the actual owner of the brokerage.

As there can be only one registered broker per brokerage, any real estate agent who has the additional qualifications, tested and passed state boards may apply for and obtain a broker license. This agent would be recognized as an associate broker of the larger brokerage.

And in larger brokerages, the broker typically does not list and sell. The broker is not directly involved unless an issue needs to be resolved.

Therefore, the broker and the real estate agent may be two different people but your agent interacts with you directly.

Or your agent may also be a broker if you are working with the brokerage's owner as in very small brokerage agencies.

Alternately, your agent may have a broker's license and be an associate broker of the brokerage.

I hope this clarifies the question of broker and real estate agent as others have already explained the good reasons for buyers agency representation.

Kimberly Barton 
REALTOR®
CRIS, AHWD, Certified Foreclosure & Short Sale Adviser.
Employer-Assisted Housing Specialist
Champion Realty, Inc.
711 Bestgate Road, Annapolis MD 21401
410-224-0645 (Direct)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Letisha,
Technically no you don't need either. But I want to clarify some terminology for you. The broker is the responsible party for the brokerage and there can only be one Broker in each company, any others who have completed the additional 130 hours of training are Associate Brokers. A Realtor for Real Estate Agent has completed 60 hours of training to gain their license and in order to be a Realtor must be affiliated and supervised by a Broker. Technically, no you don't need either to transact real estate. Keep in mind, however, the agent whose sign is in front of the property represents the seller and cannot represent you. They can facilitate the transaction, write your contract and take the deal to settlement however, they can not give you advice as to price, condition, whether you should have an inspection, the terms and conditions of the contract of sale, nor will they protect your rights under the contract of sale because their duty is to their client, the seller. And, by not having an agent of your own you won't be getting any deals because the seller is saving money on the transaction because chances are the listing agent will then get both sides of the commission. In the beginning the seller agrees to pay a commission, say it's 6% and the seller and agent agree to cooperate with other brokerages therefore splitting that 6% with another brokerage but if there is no other brokerage then that 6% goes to the listing agent. A buyer's agent will help you determine what your real estate needs are, and identify properties that meet those needs, they will also advise you with regards to community ammenities, they will advise you as to what price you should offer, assist you in the home inspection process and help you determine which items from the home inspection you should ask the seller to repair, assist you in the mortgage process, assist you in choosing service providers who will help you with title work and settlement. An agent will also help you write a contract, (the contract can now be as many as 60 pages in length),by determining which addenda are needed, what clauses you'll need to include and what conditions you'll need in order to protect your rights in the event that the home inspection reveals some hidden defects that you just can't live with and need to withdraw from the contract. And, a buyer's agent does get paid, most times, by the seller. As a first time buyer, I would never recommend that you try to navigate the process without representation, it just makes sense to have an advocate on your side.
June Piper-Brandon
Century 21
410-292-0100 (Direct)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Hi Letisha
It's always a good thing to have a Realtor working on your side. We don't charge the buyer any fees to help find a home, walk you through submitting an offer, home inspections and going to settlement with you! It's supposed to be a fun time and very educational experience. Home buyers seminars are great and a good lender will work with a first time home buyer with their credit and getting pre approved for a home loan. Let me know if i can help!
Thanks
Dave Melka
Real Estate Professionals, Inc.
Always Free Homes For Sale Emailed Daily at http://www.baltimorelowpricedhomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hello Letisha, No you don't need a Realtor to purchase your first home, but you may want to have a Realtor to represent you. First, having your own agent to represent your interest is called a buyers agent. The buyers agent is commonly PAID by the seller. Having a Realtor to represent your interest in the purchase of a home does not cost you anything.

As a first time home buyer having your own buyers agent will guide you through the home buying process from start to finish.

If I can help in anyway please contact me my information is listed below:

Bridgette Gray-Bradshaw
Professional Realtor
Century 21 Home Center
9811 Greenbelt Rd
Ste 205
Greenbelt, MD 20706
Direct: 202-486-9987
Toll Free: 800-679-9788 x 20
Office: 301-552-300
E-Fax: 240-624-2268
Email: brdgtohomeownership@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.brdgtohomeownership.com

You Have Found A Real Estate Agent For Life, So Please Don’t Keep Me A Secret. Tell Your Friends, Family And Associates About Me! "The highest compliment my clients can give me is the referral of their friends, family and business partners. Please feel free to call me anytime; I am always available to assist you."
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Good Morning Letisha,

Finding and using the right agent is key to your successful home purchase. You can certainly buy without an agent but why would you? There is no charge to you for the service and your agent will share listings from the MLS that match your criteria, set your showing appointments and accompany you on each showing. Prepare your contract in accordance with State and Federal law and assist you with your home inspection and any other inspections you might need, help you choose a title company, attend a final walk-through with you to make sure any repairs the seller agreed to do are done, review your final HUD1 document with you so you understand the financial aspects and confirm they are offered as promised by your lender and any fees are reasonable and customary. Your agent will also attend settlement with you.

Again, you could do it without professional help but you'd be leaving yourself at risk of navigating a very complicated process alone.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
If you are buying a home that is listed for sale with a real estate office any real estate agent can assist you. There is no cost to you. All the fees are paid by the seller. All real estate agents work under the supervision of a broker. It isn't like you are retaining the services of 2 people.

If you are buying a home that is a for sale by owner (FSBO),you can proceed on your own but unless you know a great deal about contracts, mortgages and other real estate matters, there is a risk that you will get confused and end up in over your head. A real estate agent can help you for a flat fee or ask the seller to pay a small commission say in the 2.5-3% range.

As a first time buyer is is especially important that you get good advice.

Bob McGee
Advance Realty Timonium
The Discount Real Estate Experts
410-560-4574\My Blog: http://www.baltimorerealty.blogspot.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Hi, It can benefit you having an agent working with you, especially if you aren't familiar with negotiating, local laws, and all the paperwork involved. An agents responsibilities are to guide you through the process, help you negotiate a fair price and terms, and see the deal through to closing.

Chris
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
No you don't need a your own real estate agent to purchase your first home. My question is, "why would you not want to" ? First, having your own agent to represent you interest is called a buyers agent. The buyers agent is commonly PAID by the seller as a percentage of the cooperating commission offered by a home seller. If having a real estate agent represent your interest in the home purchase does not cost you $$$ why would you not select your own agent to represent you.

As a first time home buyer new to the home buying process having your own buyers agent will guide you through the home buying process from start to finish. If you were sick you would consult a doctor, If buying a home, consult a Real Esate agent. You will be happy you did.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Hi Letisha!
Technically/legally, you do not have to have a brokerage or agent represent you when you buy your first home.
The seller, though, if the home is listed through the multiple list, has an exclusive representation agreement with their agent. That means that if you do not have your own agent, you will be working with the seller's agent, who represents the seller's best interest at all times.
An exclusive buyer's agent can counsel you, give you advice, and share with you information that can help YOU. All things a Seller's agent cannot do for you.
There are forms that an agent in Maryland has to give you upon first meeting you. They are "Understanding Whom Real Estate Agents Represent" and "Consent for Dual Agency." Both of those forms explain a lot about the different types of agency and how you can be represented.
Please let me know how I can help you further.
I wish you much luck!
Sincerely,
Marney Kirk
Keller Williams Excellence Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Do you need one? No. Would you be foolish to not find yourwelf a good buyer broker? Absolutely.

You have no experiene at all and there are plenty of people out there prepared to take advantage of people like yourself, do the smart thing, and find yourslef a good buyer agent or buyer broker (basically the same thing; different areas call them by different names)

My advice to start by speaking with a local mortgage lender and ask to get pre-qualified. This way you'll know what the maximum amount you could afford would be as well as what this would equal in terms of monthly payments. Remember just because you can afford something doesn't mean you have to and as a first time buyer I would advise you to seriously think about spending 10-20% less than you may qualify for.

Now your ready to sit down and interview some Buyer Brokers to help you locate, negotiate and close on a home. A good Realtor will be able to talk with you and help you figure out what's really important to you, whether it's a certain location, or a school district, or having a larger lot, or perhaps a town home community with lots of good amenities and others like yourself. There's no one right answer, we're all different, but as you and a Realtor speak you'll be able to start solidifying your own thoughts on what really matters most to you. If along the way you realize you need to make some changes to your parameters don't sweat it, it's a process and a good buyer broker understand this.

The important thing is is find a great buyer broker and this isn't always easy. The problem is you never really know until it's too late whether they were great, average or lousy. I write about this regularly online, here's a link to one of my recent posts here on Trulia on how to find a great broker.

I wish you all the best and happy house hunting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Letisha,

You don't HAVE to have one but it is always a good idea to have someone that represents you and looks out for your best interest. It doesn't cost you as the buyer, the seller pays. The agent will walk you through the entire process, from recommending mortgage companies to helping you negotiate the offer. They will also be with you during inspections and then getting you to the settlement table.

Good luck with all that you do.

Leslie R. Madden
Prudential PenFed Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 8, 2012
Dave and Dan gave very good answers. You do not HAVE to have your own agent, but then you will be at the mercy of the seller's agent. The best part about being a buyer is that the SELLER pays for your agent, not you. So you get professional representation from someone who will look after your best interests and you get that for FREE.

It really doesn't make sense NOT to have an agent.

Best of luck to you in your home hunt!

Brian Rayl
Keller Williams Elite - Dallas, TX
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
Letisha,
Yes, you need your own representation, just like you need a lawyer in court. As a buyer's agent I am charged with putting my client’s needs first. Laws vary in different states, but you want an agent to listen to you, advise you, help you find a house, prepare and negotiate an offer and assist in all aspects of your purchase.
A good buyer's agent has numerous resources to further assist you such as lenders, inspectors, attorneys, Title and Escrow professionals just to name a few.
In most states the listing agent works for the seller and are hoping to get the highest price and most favorable terms for their seller. Your agent should be trying to get the most favorable price and terms for you. Some agents claim to be able to be neutral and represent both sides equally; I don't believe humans can do this, so I encourage you to find a great local experienced agent to help you. As a first time buyer you will need and deserve lots of time, patience and assistance. Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 7, 2012
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