What are my Rights as a home buyer?

Asked by Kristin Elliott, Atlanta, GA Thu Sep 6, 2007

Last weekend I looked at several homes with a realestate agent. I have not signed an agreement with him. I found the homes myself, I even entered the homes the first time on my own. I then called him to have him show me as well. Am I required to have him represent me with those homes?
Do I have to be represented by an agent to purchase a home that is under contract with a realestate agency? Can I not represent myself and save that money on a lower home price?
Also, this real estate agent brought me to a model home of which homes I had already seen on my own and found myself, now the builder said that he must pay the real estate agent 3% commission even if we don't have him represent us during the buying process. Is this correct?
I am very frustrated and don't see the benefit of paying someone $5400 for work he didn't really do.

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Mr.P, , Arizona
Thu Sep 6, 2007
Remember the builders agent is working for the builder. I would recommend that you are represented by a Realtor when buying a Home. Especially a new build.

"I am very frustrated and don't see the benefit of paying someone $5400 for work he didn't really do. "

Showing you a home is just the beginning. Don`t forget the paper work, negoitations, inspections, experience, final walk through, closing, etc...

"Do I have to be represented by an agent to purchase a home that is under contract with a real estate agency? Can I not represent myself and save that money on a lower home price?"

I feel as though you maybe listening to the selling agent Of that house? Who is telling you that you will save money? How many homes have you negotiated on? How many homes has the other agent negotiated on?

$5,400 bucks, You have a very slim margin of error.
4 votes
Carrie Crowe…, Agent, Southaven, MS
Thu Sep 6, 2007
The commission is set long before you ever walk on to the property if it is listed. They commission is set between the seller and the listing agent. If you buy without representation, the seller will be represented, you will not and the seller's agent will get the whole commission. It will not be discounted to you in the sales price. So if you are looking at property that is listed, it may be better if you had your own representation. If you use the sellers agent the fudiciary is to the client the seller. They are to be fair and honest with you, but it is clear they work for the seller.

Finding the homes is the easy part of the transaction. Anybody can sit at a computer and look up homes. It is being able to get recent comparable and negotiating to get the best price, and being able to know negotiate repairs after the inspections etc. that are where the work starts. Sure you could do most of this, but if a commission is being paid regardless, use your time for other things and let your agent do this busy work.
3 votes
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Thu Sep 6, 2007
You are not responsible for paying the agent. Typically, all fees are paid by the seller. Your seller is represented by his/her agent. They aren't representing you. There are alot of behind the scenes transactions that will happen and your agent will need to be present and alert to conditions within a resale home or a new build.

In your posting you mentioned the builder. Please - do not be swayed into leaving the agent behind. Use this agent to your advantage where the builder is concerned. You need to be represented - throughout the process.

When I say USE the agent - I mean it in the literal sense. You can let him/her sit back and wait for the commission check, or you can contact the agent with all and any concerns - get data on homes sold and appropriate price points for the homes you are interested in.

Your agent has a wealth of information at your fingertips - all you have to do is call. Don't go in blind when making an offer.

Do you know inspectors or house appraisers by reputation? Your agent surely does. Do you know how much negotiating room you have in terms of seller paid fees, etc.

Your agent is trained not only in getting you the best possible price, but knows that contract inside and out. What to look for and what to be wary of. It's money well spent - to have peace of mind at the end of the day.

Just remember - put that agent to work! Hopefully - he/she will be opening your eyes to the special nuances of purchasing a home - you never knew you never knew!

Good luck and here's hoping you find the home you can be proud of!
3 votes
Chris Tesch, Agent, College Station, TX
Thu Sep 6, 2007
Kristin, I have been an agent in Bryan/College Station for six years now. If you did not sign a representation agreement with the agent you are not obligated to use him. If you buy a home from the builder (I presume Stylecraft) and he registered you, yes, he is entitled to a commission.
He may not have done that much work, but he has expended time and money on your search. If he isn't representing you well, that's one thing. If you are just trying to save money, that's another.
I wish you well with your quest. It certainly sounds as if you're in need of a good agent. One that will prove themselves and show that they are worth their fee.
BTW-if you are looking at a $180K house, there are builders I would not use.

Good luck,
Chris Tesch
RE/MAX Bryan-College Station
Web Reference:  http://www.ChrisTesch.com
2 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Thu Sep 6, 2007
Finding the home is not really the primary task of an agent. Many buyers these days see the home they buy on the Internet first. The value of an agent comes into play during the negotiation and escrow period. As far as new homes are concerned, the developer may owe a commission if the agent registered you with the developer. If the home is listed with a brokerage, the seller has already agreed with the listing brokerage on how much commission is going to be paid. Part of that commission is set aside for the buyer's agent. Representing yourself will not save you money as you are not the one who is paying for the agent. There is a good reason why you can't buy without representation when a house is listed with a brokerage. The listing brokerage has an interest in having the buyer represented by a licensed agent for liability reasons and you have an interest in being represented because typically as the buyer it's difficult to remain objective and you also don't know what you don't know (we call it unconscious ignorance - no offense intended). When you later find out what you should have known, you'll try to blame the seller and his/her agent for not having told you. Take advantage of the representation that the seller is paying for. Get your own agent who can protect your interests.
Web Reference:  http://www.go2kw.com
2 votes
Paul Slaybau…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Sun Sep 16, 2007

Sounds like the seller/builder is responsible for paying alll commissions. If the builder does not have to pay an agent, guess what? The price remains the same. Why would the builder pass any savings along to the buyer? It is a misconception that you get a better price by purchasing without representation. Purchasing without representation does not entitle you to any commission savings, it just entitles you to be unrepresented.
1 vote
Annette Thom…, , College Station, TX
Thu Sep 6, 2007
Hi Kristin,

You've gotten good advice here already. I'll add that I'm a Realtor in Bryan/College Station and I know that most of the builder's here have a policy that if a Realtor accompany's you on your FIRST visit to the builder and registers you as their "lead" that they get the 3% commission from the builder. Perhaps the builder didn't realize that you had been in before or perhaps they're pals with the agent.

Yes, the builder may be willing to come down by 1% if you don't have buyer's agent (a Realtor representing only you) because the builder would then not have to pay a 3% commission to your buyer's agent. However, it's very unlikely that the builder would come down in price more than that because they will have to perform the functions that a buyer's agent usually does. In my opinion, the $1800 you might be knocked off the price isn't worth giving up the price negotiating knowlege that a buyer's agent can provide and the fact that you'll have someone looking out for ONLY your interest rather than having divided loyalties. Also, there's a wide range of quality, reliability and price in our area builder's and a good buyer's agent can tell you who's good and who's bad.

I get the impression though that either you didn't realize that the seller pays the buyer's agent or that you didn't "click" with the agent you went out with last weekend. If your personality doesn't mesh with the agent you're working with, change agents early on (before you make an offer) so you don't lead that agent on. Buying a home and especially building a home can be very stressful so you want someone in your corner who you like and trust. You'll probably be taling with them several times a week for the next several months and ideally they'll end up becoming a friend that you'll stay in touch with even after closing.

If you'd like to hear an opposite opinion, there's a good article at http://www.wisebread.com/the-cost-of-a-free-ride-why-not-to-… and there are very valuable comments posted below it. Keep in mind that the article is discussing buying a home that is already built rather than working with a builder and a new or "hungry" agent may be willing to lower their commission more than a builder if they're on both sides of the deal.

Annette Thompson
Keller Williams Realty
1 vote
Paul Renton &…, , Atlanta, GA
Thu Sep 6, 2007

In the state of GA if you have signed a buyers agreement with an agent you have to use them. No Agreement no need to use them. That being said agin in GA buyers agency is free. The seller pays. If you have a important Tax,medical or legal issue you would most likely use a professional and if it was free then that would be a no brainer.
When you are working with a top agent they will definately make their commission worth while just in negotiation alone, then they will handle the complexities of the closing paperwork and make sure at closing you are paying only for the items you shou8ld be paying for and nothing slipped over from the sellers side. Remember in a trasaction again in the state of GA the builders agent represents the builder, who do you think will get the best deal?
Web Reference:  http://www.teamrenton.com
1 vote
Alicefdahl, Home Buyer, Flossmoor, IL
Sun Mar 5, 2017
0 votes
A Flores IV, Agent, College Station, TX
Sun Sep 16, 2007
Howdy Kristin!
Would it not be great if every time you had a question, all you had to do was ask a trusted person?... Your REALTOR® can be that person!
I believe that most real estate agents want to do the best job possible. In this day and age, we meet more customers who like you, enjoy finding properties and entering into negotiations on their own.
Nothing is wrong with that!
To answer your question, "What are my Rights as a home buyer?"
There are many experienced buyers who are very capable when it comes to negotiating, but since (at least in our area) the Seller has already agreed to pay a certain amount for a sales commision, it would seem that a buyer could greatly benefit from the particular market experience an agent could add.
As you know, it takes some time to find the "right property." I believe that finding the right agent should be part of every real estate trasaction. The benefits have been mentioned by most of the agents' answers.
Choose an agent that is also a REALTOR®, a person on your side looking for and anticipating glitches can save you lots of stress, time and money.
Hope you have a great experience with your real estate transaction in Atlanta. If ever in the Brazos Valley of Texas, give us a call.

The following link opens a form used in Texas for informing Buyers & Sellers about their Rights.


PS ~ I always present this form to my customers, and in my opinion it's the best way to communicate, explain and offer representation. It's an easy choice for all customers!
Web Reference:  http://alflores.com
0 votes
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