Buying a home in America – how exciting!
To make sure nothing goes wrong, my biggest recommendation is to really understand the process, so you can negotiate sufficiently and make sure that you are not being fooled.
You can find the whole purchase process and lots of vocabulary in another post, this one is all about the buyer's agent.
So what is a buyer's agent?
When buying property in the United States, buyers and sellers are usually represented by two different realtors. As a result, both sides can be sure that their opinions are represented honestly.
The buyer is represented by the so-called buyer's agent and the seller by the listing agent (or seller's agent). In some cases, both sides are represented by the same broker, who is then called a dual agent.
What does a buyer's agent do?
Here is a summary of the benefits:
Can answer any questions about the process and the objects.
Creates a realistic portfolio of properties based on your preferences, tailored to the actual market and budget.
Acts as an advisor who only represents your interests and can safely guide you with knowledge and experience.
Gives an overview of the current market and prices.
Leads negotiations with buyer's and seller's side for price or repairs.
Prepares offers and contracts on your behalf and forwards them to listing agent.
Is the communication pipe between you and the seller side.
Accompanies you to the closing.
Can connect you to other resources such as appraisers, insurance companies, closing agents and inspectors.
How much does a buyer's agent cost?
A buyer's agent charges an average of 3% of the house price.
In most situations, the seller covers the cost of both realtors (about 6% total cost), but this is negotiable. The realtor fees themselves are sometimes also negotiable.
Where can I find a buyer's agent?
The best resources are these:
Online – Find local listings and read reviews from other customers.
Neighborhoods - Local agents often advertise locally where they represent properties.
Referrals - Ask online groups or colleagues who know good brokers.
How do I know if I've found a good buyer's agent?
Again, do your research, because "knowledge is power"!
The more you know about the market, property and pricing, the more you can see if the agent is giving you honest information in your best interests.
Also learn about appraisers, inspectors, insurance companies and closing agents - again you can compare what they are offering or advising you to do.
In addition, it matters whether they have good connections and experience and, above all, whether you like them.
Do I need a buyer's agent?
Without a buyer's agent, you may not be taken seriously by some sellers. It looks more serious with an official agent.
It can be helpful to have someone by your side who is familiar with the neighborhoods, objects and other parties and contacts, especially if you come from abroad or from another area.
It can be difficult to find the contacts you need if you don't know the area and the language. Knowing the local mentality and language is also important for safe negotiations and offers.
Since there is often lots of money involved, you should make sure that you have sufficient information and knowledge. Normally, the buyer's agent's costs are covered anyway - so why not take advantage?
If you decide not to hire a buyer's agent, you should be sure that you know the market, the location, the language, the mentality, the contacts and any prices. A local expert is recommended.
If you want to learn more or need more details, I'm happy to help!