Why Use a Buyers Agent?

A buyer's agent represents your best interests, and works to get you the home you want at the best price and the best terms. Part of this includes preventing costly errors, such as failing to find out about defects in a property or its actual value. Traditionally, all real estate agents represented the home seller, and the buyer had no representation during the home search and purchase. Today, home buyers can benefit from professional representation by choosing a "Buyer's Agent."

Legally, a buyer's agent's responsibilities are defined by Montana law and the REALTORS® Code of Ethics, and generally include confidentiality, full disclosure and accurate accounting. A buyer's agent's goal is to help you buy the home you want--and buy it at the right price.

What does a Buyer’s Agent do?

• Represents you in every part of the purchase process
• Provides professional advice in finding the right property at the right price
• Locates and researches properties that meet your requirements
• Negotiates with the seller
• Puts you in contact with mortgage services, title and insurance companies, and home inspectors
• Reviews documents
• At closing verifies that all terms and conditions of the purchase agreement are met

But, that's not all. As your representative, a buyer's agent will share helpful information with you, such as:

• Whether the seller would accept a lower price
• The seller’s reason for selling and their timetable
•How long the home has been on the market
•Previous offers and counteroffers for the property
•Strengths and weaknesses of the property

How is a Buyer's Agent paid?

A buyer's agent usually receives a share of the sales commission built into the list price. In most cases, a listing agent agrees to split a sales commission with any agent who obtains a buyer for the seller's property. In other words, buyers get all the benefits of professional representation and it is usually the seller or the seller’s agent who pays for the buyer’s representation.

Buying a home is probably the most important purchase of your life. Choosing to be represented by a buyer's agent means you'll be able to make an informed, intelligent decision. We are qualified with years of experience working for you, the buyer, to get you the home you want at the best price possible.

What does a Buyer’s Agent ask from you?

In a word, Loyalty. Real estate agents work on commission. Most people would not consider going to work without a guarantee of getting paid, but real estate agents do it every day. It is important to have a good relationship with your Buyer’s Agent because you will be spending a lot of time together. Having an exclusive Buyer’s Agent agreement is the key to getting the most out of that relationship. Expressing your loyalty in writing helps assure the Buyer’s Agent that his or her time is not being wasted and he or she will generally roll out the red carpet for you.

Can you imagine working with someone for months and receiving a call one day informing you that they have just bought a “for sale by owner” home or called on a sign in someone’s yard and submitted an offer with another agent?

When you ask a buyer’s agent to show you property, you are implying that you will eventually write an offer through that buyer’s agent. In short, if you ask an agent to spend time driving you around, sharing knowledge, and helping you select a home, it is only fair to be loyal to that agent.

Tips for getting the most from your Buyer’s Agent:

1. Understand that agents work on commission.
Do not ask them to work for you if you intend to cut them out of your deal.

2. Do not call the listing agent if you are working with a buyer’s agent.
Listing agents work for the seller, not the buyer. If a listing agent shows you a home, the listing agent will
expect you to use them when writing an offer.

3. Practice proper open house etiquette.
Hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the open house. Sometimes it will be the listing agent, other times it will be an agent looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you from solicitation.

4. Expect to sign a Buyer’s Broker agreement to create a relationship between you and the broker.
Buyers who will not sign an exclusive buyer’s agent agreement are saying that they do not care if the agent gets paid.

5. Ask for an Agency Relationship Disclosure Form.
These are required by law to disclose the types of agency practiced in Montana. It is simply a
disclosure, not a contract.

6. Make your expectations known.
Let your agent know how you like to communicate and how often. Do you want phone calls, email, text
messages, etc.? Set realistic goals and a time frame for finding your home. If you are not getting what you bargained for, say so.

7. Do not sign forms you don’t understand.
It is okay to ask your agent to explain a form to you. It is part of their job.

8. It is okay to look, but be ready to buy.
If you are not ready to buy today that’s okay. A good buyer’s agent will want your business as badly in 6
months as he or she does today, but remember that loyalty is vitally important to your agent.

What others are saying:

"Agents: How to hire one for your side." "Most agents who show you a home don't represent your interests. They work for the seller, and their objective is to sell the house for the highest possible price." USA Today

"You have a whole new evolution of practice in the marketplace." said Sharon Millet, a Maine real estate broker who headed the 22-member NAR task force that issued the report. Millet said that the report's recommendations are designed to give home buyers and sellers easier access to the "kind of representation" that they want." Washington Post

"Buyer Advocacy appears to be taking off." "I'll never buy a house any other way." Wall Street Journal

"To Buyers: If you want representation, work with a buyer broker. They are legally obligated to represent yourinterests in any negotiations with sellers." The Consumer Federation of America

"Groups such as the Consumer Federation of America and AARP recommend using a buyer's agent. Smartmoney Magazine

"Many people don't realize that, unless specifically stated otherwise, brokers are legal representatives of sellers. A buyer broker, representing only the buyer, may be able to secure a better price and better terms." Good Housekeeping

For more information or to speak with a buyer's agent call Henry at 406-381-2914. Or, if you prefer, email us at henry@bitterrootvalleyrealestate.com.

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