Home Buying in Massachusetts>Question Details

Kh234, Home Buyer in Massachusetts

Local Agent or Any Agent?

Asked by Kh234, Massachusetts Mon Jul 26, 2010

We saw a house via an open house and are thinking...a. we want to go see it again when we don't have to run of to make the next open house...b. see it with an agent....and c. possibly put a offer in. Do we have to find an agent that is local to that town or can we really have any agent represent us? We are looking for a buyers agent of course, but the person recommended to us doesn't list the town we found this house in.

Help the community by answering this question:


This is a question that causes a great deal of debate.
If you have a relationship with an agent and trust their judgement ask them to show you the property and do the necessary research to learn as much as possible about the property and it's value. You mention that you received a recomendation for an agent. I would speak to them and find out if they are comfortable investing some extra time into your search in a different town.

If you don't have a personal relationship with an agent and feeling as though you would prefer local representation you can search online and find a variety of agents in the price range and contact them with your questions.
I personally feel like it's best to have an agent that understands the community initimately.
Web Reference: http://www.route495.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
I can help you find the best agent in your area and see if the house you are interested is priced correctly. Please email me if you would like assistance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 28, 2010
It's in your best interest to work with an agent that represents you as a buyer's agent. Doesn't necessarily have to be from in the town that you're looking in. Just make sure, before you sign any contract, what the terms and conditions are and you're comfortable with them. Also--very important--work with someone you feel comfortable with and know that they're working in your best interest. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010

Great question. In my opinion, as long as they're licensed to practice in your state, you're always better off working with a great agent who has been personally recommended to you by someone you know and trust.

I have found the 80/20 rule applies to a lot of areas in life, including real estate practitioners. That rule says that 80 percent of some thing or some group are average or below, and 20 percent are very good to excellent. I think that ratio roughly applies to movies, contractors, pop music, lawyers, restaurants, etc.

If you were to search for an agent based solely on whether or not they work in a given city or town, that won't help you find someone in the 20 percent. But a personal recommendation from a trusted friend with direct experience working with that agent means it's very likely they are among the top 20 percent.

Of course, not every agent is comfortable working outside his or her usual territory, so check with the agent if they're okay with working in that town. If they aren’t comfortable, they’ll probably be able to refer you to a great agent who does work in your town. Most top agents know other top agents in other parts of the state and/or who are members of networks of great agents. Membership in networks like CRS or Top 5 in Real Estate are partly based on production and longevity, so you generally find serious agents there.

I would also recommend asking any agent you're interested in working with about the likelihood that they will also represent the seller of a home you want to buy. This is because you could find yourself in a situation where your agent becomes a dual agent, and can no longer give you any information or advice that harms the seller in any way.

Dual agency can be practiced legally and ethically in many states, including Massachusetts. But whenever you don’t receive zealous representation from beginning to end of a transaction, and when you don’t get the full benefit of your agent’s experience, best advice, and information, you’re giving up the most important aspects of agency. And it’s not as if you only have to worry about this when you make your offer; buyers and sellers negotiate throughout the transaction, and not only at times when it’s obvious.

In your scenario, with an out-of-town agent, it’s extremely unlikely you will find yourself in a dual agency situation. So that's another plus in favor of the person who was recommended to you.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
No, you do not have to use an agent that is local to that town. It may be helpful though, as they know the neighborhoods better, market conditions, and should have a feel of the momentum in the town(s) they specialize in...which sometimes can't be found on MLS.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
A licensed Massachusetts salesperson or broker can assist you with your representation. As a buyer you are entitled and encouraged to seek representation. The offer of compensation for that agent may be at question depending upon the services the agent you spoke with at the open house has provided to you.
It is always a better idea to have an agent who is familiar with the area of interest. A local agent will know the history behind the real estate market in that area, remembering that although we now deal globally with real estate, REAL ESTATE IS STILL LOCAL. Hopefully you will also be utilizing the services of a Realtor who is held to a higher standard of professional service and peer accountability. A local agent is familar with the municiple offices and their staff as well as local ordinances. A local agent may also know of any planned developments or issues which may affect the value of the property as well as your personal enjoyment of your new home. Congratulations on taking the first steps to homeownership in Massachusetts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
Always use a buyers agent to respresent you. Use an agent that you can trust and work with. Interview agents or ask friend for recommendations. Remember, the listing agent represents the interest of the seller.
His job is to get the highest price for the property. A "Buyers Agent" works for you, they represent you interests and work to negotiate the lowest price while protecting your itnerest.

If I can be of service, please feel free to contact me. I am a Realtor and an Accredited Buyers Agent. I a licensed in MA and RI. Check out my web site for further information amsrealestate.listingbook.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010

95% of our clients go to open houses in all different towns and then call us when its time for an expert opinion on value, pricing and help navigating the process. An agent from a different town has the same access to sales data as a hyper local agent so don't shy away from using agents from different areas. You need someone who has your interests in mind (not their commission or another client they represent), and is good at valuations and a great negotiator.

My biggest advice is do not to use the agent representing the seller.
Web Reference: http://territoryre.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
It depends on the agent and the distance from town to town.
Web Reference: http://www.mdmrealtyinc.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
Local expertise is really helpful. In real estate, I like to provide my buyers with as much information as possible about an area in general , and about a location in specific, including traffic patterns and such. That's really very difficult when you're operating out of area. When I have done it, it's because the BUYER already knows the localized information to a location, and I'm just helping them benchmark the house (that skill transfers from town to town pretty easily). But I'm usually pretty clear how well I know a town.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010

It's in your best interest to find an ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) who serves the town you are looking in. This agent will not only help you with the specific property but he will also have knowledge of the town and maybe neighborhood you are looking in. This info will help you in making the right decision for you and your family. What town are you looking in? Maybe I can help you? Please visit my website below for info on towns you are interested in. I have access to all school info as well as property for sale.

Jeffrey H. Carter, ABR
Century 21 North Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
You can use any agent who is licensed to sell real estate in your state. Of course, it never hurts to have an agent who is familiar with the area, because they may know of something that has the potential to affect the present and/or future value.

For example, I am licensed in the state of Nevada, but only belong to my local real estate board. So although I could write ofers anywhere in the state representing a buyer, I wouldn't have good comparable info or local knowledge about a house that's a long way away (say Reno in Northern Nevada while I live in Las Vegas). Of course, in my area, we have Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas, and although I live in Henderson, I sell houses in North Las Vegas every day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 26, 2010
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