You've 'found' (which is another universe from actually holding an executed contract) your home, and wonder what on Earth could a buyer's agent do for you, right here in Chicago.
First, they (rather than he, she or it) are a great source of free doughnuts and coffee. For that alone, more people should be buying property.
They are a tour guide to blocks of Chicago you never knew existed, and home styles you didn't think would work for you, but turns out they just might.
Buyer's agents, and let's be clear, we are talking about the good ones, are a one stop concierge. Another poster on here mentioned the rolodex of referrals he keeps handy because that is how he pleases clients, who in turn, will hopefully consider referring him in the future. And it's true. These trusty lifesavers would take you weeks of trial and error frustration by chancing it online. Buyer's agents strive to make their client happy. It sounds cliche but it is the reality of the professionals in this business. We are confident that we will get you a home (or sell it) so there is no pressure to "make a sale". We would rather keep you happy and sleep comfortably knowing you won't be calling us months later complaining that you were screwed over.
Ok, so besides doughnuts, and coffee, and people that can help you that haven't found their way to Yelp, is it really worth it?
Let's take the most often cited reason: It's free. It is one of the few professional services we have where you pay nothing. Absolutely nothing to obtain hundreds of hours of expert guidance.
That isn't exactly true. The vast majority of homes are sold through realtors who build the buyer's agent commission into the asking price.
Before I became licensed, I thought I would represent myself since I found the home I wanted. I would negotiate a fair market price, then, get the agent to come down another 2.5%. Simple.
They did. And I beat the system.
Until there was a lawsuit.
Several years after that deal, the seller's agent for the aforementioned deal had her transaction documents subpoenaed and gave a sworn statement dealing with an outside lawsuit. I couldn't believe what I saw:
She reduced her buyer's agent commission, which she didn't have to pay because I represented myself, by a mere 20% of what she claimed. But I had no way of knowing. It is impossible.
Prices for properties are arbitrary to a point, so the 'spread' can vary enough that you can't determine what you saved, if any, by not using a buyer's agent.
And I had to contend with her recommended inspector, a total floozy who missed half the issues in the house. I had zero resources for home insurance, a real estate attorney, mortgage and the variety of issues that entailed, home repair people. Nor did I have any strategic advice on negotiating a better deal, something everybody wants.
So, if you still aren't clear what to do, you should probably go it alone, then write back to this board in a few years to share the errors of your ways. And the lack of free doughnuts.