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Asked by Melanie, North Andover, MA Wed Apr 2, 2008

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Answers

13
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Thu Apr 3, 2008
Hire a buyers agent, no question (they are licensed agents). The needs for buyers and sellers are VERY different and each side deserves an expert who is exclusive (not representing buyers and sellers in the same transactions).

Buyer needs from an agent someone who:
effective consultant/educator
identify market trends
prepare market and property data analysis
negotiating strategy
help identify property strengths and faults


Seller needs from an agent someone who:
Marketing
Staging
Pricing
Local Knowledge
Effective Salesperson
Web Reference:  http://www.territoryre.com
2 votes
Michael Giles, Agent, Beverly, MA
Mon Apr 7, 2008
Hi Melanie,
Who's opinion would you rather have as to what a good deal is? A. The person selling their home or B. a full time Realtor that works in the market everyday and knows what is selling and for how much.

Whether it is a listing agent or a FSBO seller, how can it hurt to have someone representing you and your interests on the purchase of a home?
1 vote
Irena, , Newton, MA
Wed Apr 2, 2008
A realtor is an licensed Real-estate agent that pays dues to the Realtor Association. The Realtor association governs the agents and they have to abide by the code of ethics. Any Real-estate agent can be a Realtor after paying the dues.

The agency relationship is determined between you and the agent. If you are looking to buy than yes you want your agent to be buyers agent, and represent you in the transaction. Of course if you are selling than you want them to represent you as a seller.

The whole agency issue arose because the buyers used to be largely represented by agents who worked for seller as either sellers agent or subagent (unofficially representing the seller) or facilitators (paper pushers representing no one). As you can imagine the poor buyers used to think that the Real-estate agent was on their side when in fact they all worked in sellers best interest.

The law was passed about agency disclosure to help the consumer establish the relationship with the agent. Once you decide how you want to be represented than your agent has fiduciary duties to you and is obligated by the contract to fulfill those duties. The agency disclosure law is a good thing for the consumer since now they can hold their Real-estate agents accountable fort their actions.

Any Real-estate agent can represent buyers and sellers. We all have access to the same data.

The designations are mere certificates obtained through additional classes and memberships. For instance buyer agents can use their certification while they maintain their memberships. If you do not pay your annual dues, you can not use your designation.

Hope this helps a bit.
1 vote
Ed Hughes, M…, Agent, Ashland, OR
Wed Apr 2, 2008
Melanie, you should use a Realtor who is a Buyer Agent. This is very clear. Your Realtor should show you and ask you to sign an Agency Disclosure. This is a standard Greater Boston Real Estate Board form. Basically it will identify The Agency the Broker is affiliated with, the Realtor should sign it and include his License Number. THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT it is a disclosure that he/she is representing you as a Buyer Agent. When you make an offer this will be included in the package to show the Seller and Selling Agent that you are working with a Buyers Agent, which is important to them to know. As of 2 years ago Agency was changed and clarified by the State Legislature to ensure the Consumer knows who represents who.

If you ever decide to look in the Natick area I would love to work with you. I am affiliated with RE/MAX Executive Realty.

Regards, Ed
1 vote
The Moores', , Templeton, MA
Fri Apr 11, 2008
Melanie,

This is a hot topic on our real estate radio show. Heres the deal.

A Realtor is a state licenced salesperson who has become a member of the realtor association board. This membership affords a buyer or seller the comfort of knowing that that professional is held to a ethic code. A Buyer Broker, or Agent of Representative(whichever you prefer) is a Realtor who works for a buyer exclusively. The exclusivity really depends on the Realtors expertise and the written agreement with the buyer. In other words I would recommend you find a Certified Buyer Representative in your area that you like and then consider carefully what they are offerring for services. http://www.CBRsource.com There is usually a agreement time period of 3 months or so and a standard commission % that you are responsible for off the price of the home you buy. That % is usually more than 50% covered by the selling agents compensation offer on the listing sheet.

In response to your FSBO answer earlier. There are no laws requiring a buyer agent to be paid by the seller in a FSBO deal. That, my friend, is a trend we are seeing. Buyer Agents want to be sure they get paid and most FSBO's are not willing to lose a buyer over a smaller percentage fee than if they had used a listing agent. I can understand FSBO's frustration...they are paying for the buyer to be represented.

So, my advise to any FSBO is to AGENT up and be completely represented.
-Karissa
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Tue Apr 8, 2008
Melanie,
I am a For Sale By Owner (FBSO) home seller and although a buyer agent may offer some good things and may be vital for people moving into a new area, I know that having a buyer agent may require a FSBO seller to sell to you at a higher price. Since I list my property on the MLS to get more exposure, I am required to pay a buyer agent commission (although) not a seller agent commission. If you don't have a buyer agen, I can offer you a better price since I don't have to pay their commission.

If I were you, I would look at FSBO properties to see if you can get a good buy before signing on the dotted line with a buyer agent.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just make sure they aren't overprice. 3% off something priced 20% over is not a bargain. I would also seriously consider a buyer agent for other reasons. When I purchased a FSBO, back before I was an agent, the owner lied to me about a lot of things. He lied about there being hardwood under the carpets (there was plywood) for example. He also did a lot of things even a listing agents wouldn't have let him do: take out ceiling fixtures and leave bare wires, for example. We had no idea that was a no no. Get a realtor to guide you. Don't trust a FSBO.
0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Tue Apr 8, 2008
The buyer could simply negotiate a flat fee with their agent for all FSBO sales and either pay them out of their own pocket (which is what buyers are doing anyway for traditional commission deals they just don't realize it) or negotiate that into the deal with the FSBO seller (much lower than a % of the home price).

Having your interests protected is very important in such a large purchase.
Web Reference:  http://www.territoryre.com
0 votes
Tom, Home Seller, 01830
Thu Apr 3, 2008
Melanie,
I am a For Sale By Owner (FBSO) home seller and although a buyer agent may offer some good things and may be vital for people moving into a new area, I know that having a buyer agent may require a FSBO seller to sell to you at a higher price. Since I list my property on the MLS to get more exposure, I am required to pay a buyer agent commission (although) not a seller agent commission. If you don't have a buyer agen, I can offer you a better price since I don't have to pay their commission.

If I were you, I would look at FSBO properties to see if you can get a good buy before signing on the dotted line with a buyer agent.
0 votes
Chris and Ma…, Agent, Redding, CA
Wed Apr 2, 2008
Melanie;
You've been given incredible responses. As you can see by everyone's reply, it's to your best interest to have your own agent/Realtor (a.k.a. Buyer's Agent) represent you. However, that could be meaningless if this agent is not skilled or experienced. You'll definitely want to hire (doesn't cost you anything) someone who has a great reputation in your community and who has the ability to negotiate effectively on your behalf. This person will be representing you at all the inspections, guiding you through all the paperwork, working with your lender and helping you make decisions through the whole process until you close escrow.

Choose wisely!

Chris and Maria Jeantet
Web Reference:  http://www.shastaliving.com
0 votes
Mark Gracy L…, Agent, Topsfield, MA
Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hello Melanie - Some great answers here. Ultimately it will be in your best interest to make sure you are represented by a qualified buyer representative. Here is what being a buyers agent would mean for you: "BUYER'S AGENT
A buyer can engage the services of a real estate agent to purchase property and the real estate agent is then the agent for
the buyer who becomes the agent's client. This means that the real estate agent represents the buyer. The agent owes
the buyer undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accountability,
provided, however, that the agent must disclose known material defects in the real estate. The agent must put the buyer's
interests first and negotiate for the best price and terms for their client, the buyer. (The buyer may also authorize sub-
agents to represent him/her in purchasing property, however the buyer should be aware that wrongful action by the real
estate agent or sub-agents may subject the buyer to legal liability for those wrongful actions). "
The listing agent on a particular property represents the Seller and works for the Sellers best interests.
To answer the other part of your questions Realtors (capital R with the trademark) do indeed adhere to a Code of Ethics which governs professional behavior and conduct and goes above and beyond simple license law. I would look for a Realtor who is certified and has experience as a Buyer Representative. One way to check is to see if they have a certification as an ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) or a CBR (Certified Buyer Representative). Also you may want to ask for some references from previous / current clients from anyone that you interview. Hope that helps you. All my best and good luck in your search.
Mark Gracy
mark@gracyteam.com
(office) 978-984-3107
(direct) 978-861-4016 tel & fax
http://www.GracyTeam.com
Keller Williams Realty
Web Reference:  http://www.GracyTeam.com
0 votes
Chris Head, Agent, Norwell, MA
Wed Apr 2, 2008
Melanie,

First, you definitely want to work with a buyer agent to help you purchase your first home. Whether or not they are a REALTOR is another issue.

A buyer agent will owe you, "undivided loyalty, reasonable care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accounability. They must put your interests first and negotiate for the best price and terms for you." This is the language from the back of Massachusetts' Mandatory Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure. The sellers agent has the same obligations to their seller...that's why you want a buyer agent.

Having said that, not all buyer agents provide the same level of service. Generally, any agent will be acting as your "buyer agent" if they aren't showing you their own listing. But that doesn't mean they have been trained in how to be an effective buyer agent. Up until a couple of years ago, most agents and REALTORS were always sellers agents or their sub agents. When the law changed and sub agency was almost completely eliminated, everyone was required to act as buyer agents when working with buyers in order to get paid. Even though the law changed and agents will give you a disclosure that they are a buyer agent, there are still agents and REALTORS who have not learned how to be a good buyer agent.

So should you choose an agent who is a REALTOR? I say yes...but I'm biased. The REALTOR Code of Ethics requires us to follow some very specific guidelines that will serve you well. And when searching for a buyer agent, you will want to look for someone with advanced training and/or designations that show you they have done more than just pass the exam to get their license. Most of the training and designations are through the Massachusetts or National Association of REALTORS.

Hope that helps. Good luck! It's a great time to be a buyer, and their are some great options available for first time buyers.

Chris Head, GRI, CBR
William Raveis Real Estate
Norwell MA

Follow the link for more information on how to select a buyer agent courtesy of NAR.
0 votes
Barb Belanger, , Chelmsford, MA
Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hi Melanie,
Arlene answered your question very concisely. You should definitely work with a Realtor who can represent you as a Buyer's Agent. Make sure the agent is knowledgeable in the area you are looking. Also, check out Mass.gov division of licensing to make sure the agent has a current license.

If you should decide to look in the Greater Lowell area including Chelmsford, Billerica, Tewksbury, Westford, and Tyngsboro feel free to contact me. I have been licensed since 1992 and am an
Accredited Buyer Agent(ABR) which is a National Designation - check out that site too if you like.

Good Luck!
Barb
0 votes
Arlene Santa…, Agent, Andover, MA
Wed Apr 2, 2008
Hello, Melanie:
You want to be sure that your Buyer's Agent is in fact a Realtor, as he/she will subscribe to a higher standard by observing the Realtor Code of Ethics. So, you see, you may have both. Hiring an agent to represent you with your purchase, is very much like hiring an agent to represent you in selling a home. There are many professionals that you would consider hiring; i.e., attorney, accountant, tax advisor, etc., who will provide a service and represent your complete interest. Buying or selling a home is no different. In fact, it's one of the most important decisions a person will ever make, and it starts with hiring a professional to guide, counsel and advise. Melissa, I have been a Realtor since 1986, and am a Certfied Buyer Representative (CBR). I would be delighted to interview for the job of representing you in purchasing your first home.
Thank you and good luck to you.
Arlene
0 votes
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