When navigating new terrain, it’s helpful to have an expert around to show you the ropes. Even better is having an expert whose skills and services are available to you for free. When hiring a buyer’s agent, that’s exactly what you get — a knowledgeable professional who will help you through the home-buying process without charging you a penny.

Get the help you need

Buying a home means finding a lender to give you a mortgage, hiring a home inspector to check out the place and buying insurance on the new home. Hiring a buyer’s agent means getting the assistance you need to navigate the often unknown territory of mortgages, home inspections and insurance.

A buyer’s agent is able to provide insight into the process that you might not get otherwise. Buyer agents with Duffy Realty use an 8 Step Buyer Action Timeline to guide their clients through the process. An agent will help you ask the right questions of lenders to get the best mortgage. Agents also know the questions to ask neighbors about the house and the surrounding area, so that you don’t end up with a lemon of a house in a bad location.

What to look for in an agent

An ideal buyer’s agent has an ample amount of experience, knows the area you want to buy in, and represents your interests. In Georgia, you and your agent have to sign an agreement before the agent is legally allowed to give you any home-buying advice. Having an agent who represents you reduces the likelihood of any conflict of interest. For example, your agent can’t withhold information about the house from you in an attempt to make the sale.

Read the bios of agents first, then interview them face-to-face or over the phone. Learning as much as you can about an agent before interviewing him or her will help you narrow down the pool. If you’re moving to Gwinnett County, for example, look for a buyer’s agent who specializes in that county, as he or she will be able to give you the inside scoop on the area better than someone with little or no experience in that region. Although everyone has to start somewhere, it’s usually a good idea to work with an agent who’s been in the field for at least a few years and has more than a couple transactions under his or her belt. Using your nephew, fresh out of real estate school with the ink still wet on his license, just because he is related, is not advised.

How to hire a buyer’s agent

Have everything put in writing when hiring a buyer’s agent. Your agent isn’t representing you in Georgia until you’ve both signed an agreement. The agreement should clearly state what the role of the agent will be and how the buyer and the agent will interact. It should also detail the commission the agent will receive at the sale and who will pay it.

Working with a buyer’s agent means that you have someone on your side to guide you through the home-buying process. Choosing the right agent is almost always in your best interest as a buyer.

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