Can I hire a Real Estate Agent to help me buy a home?

The purchase of a home is one of the most important decisions that most of us will ever make. When selling a home, most people are aware of the listing agreement between the seller and a real estate agent which spells out the services and duties that  your real estate agent  will perform, but did you know that there is also an agreement that guarantees the services you will receive from your real estate agent when buying a property? It’s called a Buyer Representation Agreement (B.R.A.).

The B.R.A. is a contract between you, as a buyer, and your real estate agent. This agreement helps to ensure you will receive the very best “Client Service” and representation your real estate agent has to offer, rather than regular “Customer Service”. To fully understand the benefits of a B.R.A., it’s important to note the difference between Customer and Client Service in the real estate agent/buyer relationship.

In the Client Service buyer relationship, you enter into the B.R.A. knowing the real estate agent is taking a vested interest in your buying experience. You are becoming your real estate agent’s client and they is working exclusively for you. Your real estate agent will work with you to discover your needs, help find the best property for you, notify you of all new listings (including properties not listed or for sale privately), will provide you with expert advice, facts and comparisons to other properties, and will be instrumental in the negotiating your purchase; providing advice such as offering price counseling, financing alternatives and actively negotiating exclusively on your behalf.

As a Customers Service buyer, we can expect a real estate agent to show us the requested listing, present the material facts about the property, and show us properties within the criteria we have provided. What we need to realize is that in this relationship, the real estate agent may be previously contracted to work in the best interests of another client and
this may be the seller of the property. In any event, as a Customer the real estate agent is always ensured to provide you, the buyer, a good sales experience. Additionally, you should expect that the status of these relationships will always be disclosed to you by your real estate agent.

The Client Service buyer relationship is more involved. This relationship differs from the Customer service buyer relationship in
that it empowers your real estate agent to utilize his or her skills through all stages of the real estate transaction, and leaving ‘no stone unturned’ when it comes to your home purchasing experience.

Signing a B.R.A. does not mean you have to buy anything. It simply states that if you do purchase a home during the term of your contract, you will use this particular brokerage and that they will be compensated for the services they have provided. It also does not require you to pay up front when this compensation is most often included in the sale price through the cooperating listing contract. Alternately, you may chose to pay the fees directly thereby deducting this component from the sale price. You can also use a B.R.A. to ‘test drive’ your real estate agent. You and your real estate agent can determine the length of the contract and ensure that you and your real estate agent feel this relationship is a good fit for both of you.

When you are buying your home, why not receive the best representation possible? In one of your most important decisions of your life, signing a B.R.A. ensures that you have your selected real estate agent representing your best interests in your home purchase and that your real estate agent is working exclusively for you.

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