Buying a new home is a complicated business transaction that generates many dynamics as well as plenty of questions. Each side of the transaction — buying and selling — requires different skill sets. Traditionally, many real estate agents in Atlanta function as both buyer’s agent and seller’s agent.

But buyers need to understand that, unless they hire their own agent, the real estate professional involved in a home’s sale won’t be working on their behalf. To reach their goal of finding the right house, and paying the lowest price for it, they’ll need a buyer’s agent.

Buyers must employ the services of a buyer’s agent in order to level the playing field, and many do so: The National Association of Realtors’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (2013) report shows that over 87 percent of buyers rely on a real estate agent when buying a home.

Buyer’s agent responsibilities

Homebuyers want reliable data on the quality of the neighborhood, crime, housing stock, school ratings, shopping and home values. Your agent finds listings for the type of houses you like, in market areas you want to live in, including Intown Atlanta, Druid Hills, Buckhead and other locations.

More importantly, a buyer’s representative counterbalances the seller’s agent and presents you a more realistic picture of the neighborhood, house, and the house’s fair market value. They can advise you on how much you should pay for a home, but cannot guarantee you a bargain price.

Like the seller’s agent, your agent gets paid from the sales proceeds. It isn’t a direct conflict of interest, but your agent only gets paid a percentage of the sales commission if you buy a house. Buyers who want unquestionable loyalty may attempt to negotiate a flat-fee arrangement instead.

Benefits of working with a buyer’s agent

Many buyers’ agents have specialized training and possess a knack for viewing every aspect of the real estate transaction from your perspective. This ensures you have a trusted adviser and advocate for your interests throughout the entire buying process.

You gain a variety benefits when working with your own agent, including:

  • Knowing the best neighborhoods and areas.
  • Gaining the ability to work with for-sale-by-owner homes.
  • Previewing properties to save you time.
  • Uncovering hidden gems that lack curb appeal.
  • Receiving verified information presented by the seller and listing agent.
  • Knowing the terms and conditions of a purchase and sale agreement.
  • Conducting detailed property comparisons.
  • Receiving alerts for potentially expensive property conditions.
  • Getting advice and insights on selling in the future.
  • Gaining negotiation skills to make sure you receive a fair price.

Your agent can introduce you to reputable professionals, such as a mortgage lender, attorney and home inspector. This person also attends the closing to help protect your interests.

Buying a home or condo is a major decision, and you want someone in your corner. If you want to avoid buyer’s remose, buyer’s agents are the best way to go.

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