Sherry Cleveland Birmingham Alabama Real Estate Information

Sherry ClevelandBirmingham Alabama Real Estate Information
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Buyer's Agent
Another change in the real estate industry in the past several years has been the growth of the buyer’s agents. Many consumers initially resist when presented with the option of retaining a buyer’s agent and signing yet another contract. This resistance has more to do with a lack of understanding of the role of a buyer’s agent than it does with an actual dislike of the buyer’s agent concept.

Before the advent of the buyer’s agent, all real estate agents owed their fiduciary responsibilities to the seller. The agent was responsible to the seller since the seller paid the final commission and had signed a listing contract designating an agent to represent them in exchange for the commission. As a result of this logic, real estate agents involved in a transaction could only be devoted to the one side of the transaction – the seller’s side! This was true even when an agent had only been working with the buyer, and was responsible for writing and presenting the offer to purchase!

What did that mean to the buyer? It meant that if their agent knew proprietary information about the seller that could help the buyer in formulating their offer, the agent was not allowed to share it with the buyer. For example, let’s assume that the agent who brings the buyer knows that the seller is under great pressure to sell due to 1) a relocation, or 2) a difficult divorce or, 3) financial pressures. Although this information could be useful to the buyer in deciding what to offer, none of this information can be shared under the traditional definition of agency. Likewise, if the buyer has confided with his agent a willingness to go higher than his original offer then in the traditional agency situation the real estate agent would be obligated to share this information with his actual client, the seller.

It wasn’t until real estate buyers began to demand fair and equal representation of their interests that the concept of buyer’s agency took hold. Today you will find real estate agents who specialize in representing buyers in most major metropolitan markets and in the outlying areas as well.

Hiring a buyer’s agent does require that you sign a contract. The contract is signed prior to services being rendered. It usually identifies a time period during which the agent will work with you to find a house.

Service a buyers agent should provide:
Providing detailed information on current market activity and current listings.
Keeping you informed of new listings that hit the market.
Coordinating property showings and either accompanying you on the showings or previewing properties on your behalf.
Reviewing and explaining all pertinent legal forms and contracts with you.
Researching the seller and their property to discern any problems or unique issues that might influence your decision to make a particular offer.
Advising you on how to write an offer and what to include in that offer.
Negotiating for you with a commitment to protect your best interests.
Assisting you with arranging financing.
Representing you by keeping your personal and financial position confidential and being willing to offer you anonymity if requested.
The contract will also spell out how the buyer’s agent will be paid commission and/or fee. Some agents will require that a small retainer be paid up front with the balance of the fee being paid as a commission upon the close of the sale.
This formalizes your business relationship with the agent and also commits the agent to servicing your real estate needs. Other buyer’s agents will request they be paid a full commission out of the proceeds of the sale. The commission usually amounts to half of the total fee that the seller has agreed to pay their listing agent upon the close of the transaction.
Skills a buyer’s agent should possess include:

A strong familiarity with the local marketplace, including recent sales, pricing trends, and current inventory.

An enthusiasm towards the negotiation process. If you are paying to be represented during the sale, then make sure you hire someone who is aggressive, persuasive, and excels at the role of negotiation.

A willingness to keep you constantly updated as to properties that might suit your needs.

A commitment to show you those properties or preview them for you on your behalf.



Sherry Cleveland Frye

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