Before we can show you homes for sale in Georgia, we will review the options for representation you have with us and ask you to complete a disclosure as to what we mutually agree upon. In fact Georgia Real Estate law REQUIRES that we have a written and signed “buyer agency” agreement BEFORE we can legally represent you as a client when buying a home.
The bottom line is this: If you want the agent to represent you (like an attorney in court), you will let them be the first point of contact with all sellers (including FSBO’s and unlisted properties, even leads from friends) and let them get paid a commission from the seller, then you want to enter an exclusive buyers agency relationship with them.
Do you need an real estate agent to buy a home for sale? No, of course not. Does engaging an agent to represent cost you anything? In almost every case it does not. Just like going to court without an attorney, the dumbest, most ineffective listing agent has an advantage over an unrepresented buyer; the complexity and chaos of the home purchasing process has never been greater. There are more traps and hurdles in buying a home than ever before, and it is JUST starting when you find the house. The paperwork and moving parts behind the scene require a professional staff to have the process go smoothly. Statistic show that home buyers will get better pricing, terms and conditions when they work with a full time, knowledgeable, professional real estate agent and buyer agency.
Listing (Seller’s) agents and Builder’s (New Home) agents are LEGALLY BOUND to represent the sellers and ONLY the sellers. The good news is that Buyer agents are paid by SELLERS, so you in fact have representation paid by the seller so there is no reason not to work with a buyer agent when looking for a home in Atlanta.
What is “buyer agency” and what is it?
When a buyer agency / broker agreement is signed, a client relationship is formed and the real estate professional is required to represent and look out for the client’s interests at all times – as long as those interests are not illegal. Buyer agency is the highest level of representation afforded to a buyer by a real estate professional.
Why is this of value to buyers?
With buyer agency you gain a professional skilled advocate to represent you in the purchase of real estate. As a client you will have access to all the listings for sale, the comparable sales data and pricing advice. You also have someone to complete all the required documents, contracts and disclosures. Make no mistake, no matter how nice and “helpful” they may seem, the listing agent represents ONLY the seller or builder of a property. In negotiating price and terms, the seller has someone to represent their interests, but, unless the purchaser has a buyer agency agreement with an agent, their interests are NOT represented. If an agent works with you without a buyer agency agreement and they give you any professional advice or guidance they would be practicing illegal undisclosed dual agency. Also, you are now telling the agent that you are only working with them and this means all their time and hard work will be compensated by the commission they have earned.
What do you need to do to receive this level of representation?
According to the Georgia Real Estate Commission and Georgia law, a written and signed “buyer agency” agreement is required. Any relationship between a consumer and liced agent needs to be defined upfront.
What will a real estate professional do as a buyer’s agent?
Buyers working with a buyer’s agent will get the highest level of service and protection and their agents has a fiduciary relationship and obligation to protect the buyer. The buyer’s agent will analyze information such as comparative market data, help with negotiations and wording of the purchase agreement, and, in general, act as the client’s advocate in the home buying process.
If “buyer agency” is declined who represents the buyer’s interests?
Without “buyer agency” there is no one looking out for the buyer’s best interests. The listing agent is required by law to represent the interests of the seller exclusively – including home builders in new home sales. Buyers are left to do all the work for making an offer, negotiating, completely paperwork, dealing with lenders, appraiser and closing attorneys and assume all the and risk yet an unrepresented typically pay the same price or more for homes as if they had used a buyer’s agent. Unrepresented buyers are a listing agents dream, they make the entire commission, remember that they have a CONTRACT with the seller regarding commission, the seller is obligated to pay them the FULL contracted commission regardless of whether they have to share it with another agent of not. As for a builder, they typically have fixed pricing anyway and don’t like to lower a price on one house because if affects the price other customers are willing to pay. Also it is marketing suicide for a builder to give an advantage to an unrepresented buyer as the agent community will be less likely to recommend that builder to future clients.
How much does this service and representation cost me?
In almost all residential real estate transactions, sellers pay all commissions and the buyers receive the full benefit of professional representation. The buyer’s exposure to paying the buyer broker’s fee is very limited and depending on the structure of the agreement you may have no exposure. Many For Sale by Owner (FSBO) home sellers for example advertise and offer to pay the buyer agent commision and many of the rest will be glad to offerer to pay it when asked.
What are my responsibilities as a buyer in this agreement?
In this agreement, buyers agree to: 1. let their agent be the FIRST point of contact with sellers or their agents 2. Route all requests for information and all home showings through their agent 3. Let their agent handle all communications and concerns. 4. Neither to seek real estate information nor to view or purchase any property without the buyer’s agent.
Who decides if I am represented or not?
As the buyer, you alone may make that decision.
Why would someone not want buyer’s agent representation?
There isn’t a good reason why a buyer would not want representation, especially since it’s free. Buyers without buyer’s agents may not have been informed that they have a right to be represented or had a bad experience with an agent that did not properly represent them.
I found the house I want to buy – do I still need a Buyer’s Agent?
Absolutely YES! Finding a house is only one part of the process. Bringing an agent is at this point gives you access to the comps (comparable homes that have sold), paperwork, contracts, inspectors, closing professionals and ALL the resources needed to:
- Get you house secured and under contract before someone else does.
- Make sure you are paying the right price and getting favorable terms.
- Package and present the contracts and paperwork in the format required by lenders
- Make sure you have to proper inspections and retain your rights to a due diligence period.
- Stand by you through the inspection, loan submission, appraisal and closing
Not using a Buyer’s Agent is like being given a free attorney and choosing to go to court and represent yourself. An experienced and competent buyer’s agent will ensure that your concerns are met at every level.
Please review the documents below. Buying a home is a major event with major financial repercussions – positive as well as negative. Understand the process and the importance of working with experienced professionals will save you time, money and aggravation. While many transactions are smooth, if your is the one that goes sideways you would by happy to PAY for representation after the fact. This is a large and complex transaction and when things go wrong, the go wrong in a big way.