Isn’t the agent who shows me homes representing me?
Probably not! Unless you have an agency agreement with a promise of representation, the agent showing you homes will be acting on behalf of the seller. Sellers who “list” their homes for sale have signed a listing contract with the real estate company. The listing contract obligates the real estate company, and all of the firm’s agents, to represent the seller in the transaction. This same contract permits the listing agent to use “sub-agents” to help find a buyer. The sub-agent may even be from a different real estate company. The sub-agent’s role, just like the listing agent’s role is to get the highest possible price and best terms for the seller.
Can real estate firms that list homes for sale represent home buyers?
With increasing demands for buyer representation, traditional listing companies are trying to find a way to represent buyers. However, they have a serious problem. Agents with large brokerage firms are unable to exclusively represent home buyers because they are already obligated to represent the seller on all company listings. The listings belong to the real estate company and all the agents affiliated with that firm are bound by the promises of their company. One of those promises is to get the highest prices and best terms for the seller. (Is this starting to sound familiar?) The traditional real estate company simply cannot obtain the highest price for the seller and get the lowest price for the buyer.
What is meant by the term “buyer’s broker?
A buyer’s broker is a real estate broker, or agent , who represents the interests of a purchaser instead of a seller. The buyer is the client of the agent. The buyer’s broker has a legal obligation to obtain the best price and terms for the home buyer.
What is the difference between a client and a customer?
The difference is in the representation. An agent is an employee of a client. The agent owes the client fiduciary duties that can be summarized by the initials T.L.C. – trust, loyalty and confidentiality. If you are not the client, the agent will treat you like a customer. Agents are required to treat customers with honesty. “Buyer brokers will better represent the interests of buyers than will sub-agents. They are more likely, for example, to negotiate a lower sales price on a house.”- American Association of Retired Persons
My agent says she represents the seller but promises to be fair and “take care of me.” Isn’t that all I need?
Since the seller is her client, she is not allowed to negotiate on your behalf. It is unethical for a seller’s agent to suggest that a buyer make an offer below the listed price or advise the buyer to negotiate for other concessions from the seller. A REALTOR is bound by the Code of Ethics to treat all parties honestly. Honest treatment is significantly different form being represented by an advocate actively negotiating on your behalf. If the agent doesn’t have you for a client, she has the seller for one, and she is obligated to tell her principal everything she knows that will strengthen the seller’s position.
What if I need more help?
In other words can the traditional seller’s agent negotiate FOR me? … not legally. A sub-agent would be liable for any breach of duty to the seller if they helped you in any way that is not in the best interests of the seller. For example, a sellers agent will not suggest that you write an offer that requires the seller to pay mortgage discount points or make repairs to the property.
I recall one agent that claimed to represent both the buyer and the seller. Is that what we call a “dual agent?”
Yes. Beware of any agent who offers to function as a “dual agent” or “double agent”. Everyone knows you cannot serve two masters. Check with a good real estate attorney before you get involved. If you do accept this arrangement, be sure that you demand a strong reduction in the commission. After all, you will suffer a reduction in the services. Many traditional real estate companies have a commission structure that includes an incentive for the agent to sell their own company listings. If the seller has a representative you should have one too.
Do I really need my own agent?
Yes – it can make a big difference! Consider this. When a famous sports personality like Michael Jordan enters contract negotiations with the team management, does he use the team’s agent? Certainly not. Michael hires his own agent. If you were the defendant in a lawsuit, would you use the plaintiff’s attorney for your defense? Of course not! In the real estate market, we have a very similar situation. Without an agreement to the contrary, all real estate agents represent the seller.
With today’s disclosure laws, is there any reason to worry about representation?
In 1983, the Federal Trade Commission found that more than 70% of all home buyers mistakenly believed they were being represented by the agent showing them homes. As a result, most states enacted consumer protection laws that required real estate agents to disclose, to consumers, who they represent. In 1992, a study by the Consumer Federation of America, an organization of 250 pro-consumer groups, found that homeowners overpay for their houses primarily because there was poor compliance with the new disclosure laws. Then in January of 1994, Oregon enacted new legislation that elevated the standards of the consumer disclosures. Several new forms were also specified in the new legislation. Unfortunately for consumers, the forms were vague and poorly understood by most agents. The forms fail to indicate that the consumer has a choice about representation and rarely will an agent suggest alternatives that would enhance the consumer’s position at the expense of the agent. Too often, the forms are thrust upon the consumer with the false notion that the consumer’s agreement is mandatory.
So what should a home buyer do?
Hire your own agent! Put an expert buyer’s broker in your corner with Realty Consultants.
Exactly how do I arrange to have Realty Consultants represent me?
We use a written agency agreement. The agreement is our pledge to work in your best interest and it authorizes with Realty Consultants to represent you.
How much does it cost to have the services of Realty Consultants?
Nothing extra. After hearing about all the wonderful services and advantages available, as a client, you would expect to pay a premium fee. Home buyers are often surprised to find that using the services of Realty Consultants, will not increase their costs. In fact, most buyers find that we can help save them thousands of dollars in real estate costs. Our compensation comes from the proceeds of the transaction, unless you choose otherwise. This means that the buyer does not need to bring any extra money to closing.
Can Realty Consultants help me by negotiating a lower price?
Yes, we can. We work exclusively for buyers. We never represent sellers. In fact, in a recent study of purchases where the buyers used a buyer’s broker, it was found that the average savings was between 2 and 4 percent of the price. Do you want to take advantage of these savings?
If you work for a commission, why would you try to lower the price of a home for me?
For every $1000 that Realty Consultants can save you on the price of the home, it reduces the commission by about only $30. We will gladly help you save thousands of dollars because our business depends heavily upon referrals from happy clients, not to mention the fact that we are legally required to work for the best interests of our clients. In fact, many of our clients have been so pleased with our services, they have actually given us bonuses after closing!
Does Realty Consultants have access to all resources like the Multiple Listing Service?
Absolutely yes, and more! We are members of the local board of REALTORS and subscribe to the MLS service. Our office features a high speed computer with 24 hour access to on-line databases of property information. In addition, we have reference books that provide information on property sales that go back many years. We can often tell you what the seller originally paid for the house. We are constantly monitoring new homes offered for-sale-by-owners and builders. Unlike a traditional firm, we also enjoy easy access to every home offered for-sale-by-owner. In some situations, we will even conduct property searches among homes not even offered for sale. We can also help new construction buyers choose lots and select builders for custom built homes. You will find that we work hard to find the right home for you.
How does Realty Consultants save money for the buyer?
Of course, one way buyers can save money is on the purchase price of the home. We always conduct a thorough analysis for our client and share with you complete information about property values to help you determine a fair price. Usually that analysis suggests a value below the list price. We also discuss with you the sellers motivation to accept a lower price. We always negotiate and work in the best interests of the buyer. With Realty Consultants, you will never unknowingly overpay for a home. In addition, we can help you shop for mortgages and homeowners insurance. At Realty Consultants, we provide our clients with daily computerized updates. This is where we often find the best values. When we find a home that is bargain priced, we will help you to instantly recognize the good value and, if appropriate, promptly submit an offer. At Realty Consultants, our client’s personal and financial information remains confidential and is not shared with anyone without the client’s consent. This is certainly to the buyer’s advantage during negotiations, Traditional seller’s agents are required, by law, to disclose any information about you to their client, the seller.
So just how do the services of a traditional agent compare with that of Realty Consultants
Let’s examine what a traditional seller’s agent can do for a buyer. Seller’s agents provide some services to the buyer since they want to “make the sale.” They are allowed to:
- Provide information about MLS listed properties only
- Provide information on sources of financing
- Show you properties and highlight the features
- Disclose material defects only
- Promptly submit your highest purchase offer
- Respond honestly to questions without compromising loyalty to the seller
- Comply with fair housing regulations
Let’s look at some of the ways Realty Consultants can help you.
- We can provide all the service of a traditional seller’s agent plus;
- Pledge to represent you!
- Work on your behalf at all times!
- Provide complete obedience, within the bounds of the law!
- Prepare, discuss and interpret market statistics for you!
- Help you determine the most favorable mortgage for your situation!
- Search all available properties, including those offered FOR SALE BY OWNER and others!
- Locate, preview and show targeted properties!
- Provide you with a current map of the area!
- Openly discuss the flaws and features of every home!
- Perform a competitive market analysis of chosen properties!
- Advise you on an initial offer price and negotiating strategy!
- Help you write an offer with favorable purchase terms.
- Prepare an accurate estimate of all closing costs!
- Conduct your offer presentation in a professional manner!
- Negotiate with the seller or builder on your behalf!
- Keep your information and negotiating agenda confidential!
- Consult and advise you about any counteroffers!
- Help with the selection of a title company!
- Help you arrange a professional property inspection!
- Shop the loan package with lenders for favorable loans!
- Verify that all negotiated repairs are properly completed!
- Help you get all important documents examined by an attorney, if needed!
- Review closing statements and documents for accuracy!
- Provide complete loyalty to the buyer!
What are some other ways that, Realty Consultants can help me save money?
Our buyers can save thousands of dollars simply by:
1. Having the seller pay a warranty for the buyer’s benefit!
2. Negotiating property repairs to be done by the seller!
3. Cutting or reducing some of the usual buyer’s closing costs!
4. Finding competitive financing for the home!
5. Finding inexpensive hazard insurance!
What kinds of property can Realty Consultants help me buy?
We can help you buy single family homes or duplexes, existing or new construction, townhomes or condominiums, hobby farms or raw land.
What communities does Realty Consultants serve?
Eugene, Springfield and any place in Lane County. Referrals can be made anywhere in the world where there are Exclusive Buyer Agents.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us: