Written by Scott Swick
Did you know that, according to real estate law in Wisconsin, if you call a Realtor and ask her to show you homes…and you do not enter into a “buyer’s agent” contract with her… she is legally representing the seller? As the seller’s agent, she is obligated to help that seller get the highest price she can.
If that is the case, how do you as a buyer know you are getting the best home at the best price? There is an answer to that question, and it is by asking your Realtor to be your buyer’s agent, and she will write up an agreement that obligates her to now work for you, not just “with” you.
Let me ask you a question from another industry: do you want a lawyer to work WITH you or work FOR you if you were in some legal difficulty? Assuming you would say “For you,” it works the same way with a Realtor. The Realtor who shows you a home is obligated to get the best price for the seller. But if you hire her as your buyer’s agent even before she shows you homes, she is now working for YOU. And that is a big advantage when you want to get the best home at the best price.
So what can a buyer’s agent do that a Realtor who just shows you homes can’t?
The first thing a buyer’s agent will do for you is to find all the best homes at the best prices. She can look up how long each has been on the market. The longer it sits, the more negotiable the pricing may become. She can find out the listing history of what price the sellers started at compared to what it is now, and pull the tax assessment to see how that compares to the asking price. And she can find homes that are outside the local MLS, such as For Sale by Owners, Foreclosures, or listed in another MLS. Many of these you won’t find on websites.
Once you start looking at homes with her, she can point out problems she sees: some repair needed, and background information that might affect your happiness with the home.
But the best thing a buyer’s agent can do is NEGOTIATE for you. The buyer’s agent can pull market sales data to compare each home you are looking at to set the price you ought to offer. Using her expertise, your buyer’s agent can develop a strategy of offers and/or counter-offers to help you get the best deal, the best terms, and other details, such as who pays the closing costs.
After you get an accepted offer, the buyer’s agent will go with you and the home inspector to the home inspection, and help negotiate any additional concessions based on the condition of the house. Your best interests are central to a buyer’s agent. And the best part of it all is that for almost every home sale, the seller will be paying the buyer’s agent’s professional fee. It almost never costs you more to hire a buyer’s agent.
Ask your Realtor to be your buyer’s agent and get the best deal you can. The buyer’s market window will be closing and now is the time to act.
You can search for a buyer’s agent here on our Find a First Weber agent page