finding the right agent: using an exclusive buyer’s agent
What is an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent?
There is a difference between working with an agent when buying a home and working with an exclusive buyer’s agent. While most agents are fully capable of handling either side of the transaction, a generalist agent works for a company that can represent both sides of the transaction while an exclusive buyer’s agent typically works for a company that only accepts buy-side clients, so there is no incentive to show you listings held by other agents within their firm and can focus on finding the best home for you.
Traditionally, a brokerage is managed by a managing broker who oversees the activity of the agents. More recently the “team” model has begun to become very popular as it includes a Team Lead, who performs similar functions to a managing broker, but builds around the Team Lead a group of brokers who tend to focus or specialize within certain aspects of the transaction: a listing coordinator, a buyer’s agent, a seller’s agent, and other ancillary roles such as marketing, technology. Etc. This creates a similar level of focus and expertise.
At Homebloq, we generally work with and promote teams for this very reason.
Why Work With An Exclusive Buyer’s Agent
An exclusive buyer’s agent means they have a fiduciary duty to ensure you get the best deal possible and are not influenced by the potential of also representing the seller. Exclusive buyer’s agents also have the same skills required to negotiation on the buyer’s behalf, assist in document preparation, offer submission, and the remaining necessary components of home buyer.
How To Identify A Great Buyer’s Agent
As with any due diligence surrounding your broker choice, conversation over the phone or a cup of coffee can reveal and should center on:
Avoiding Dual Agency: Ensure and ask if the contract allow for dual agency, meaning real estate agent and/or brokerage firm can represent both the buyer and the seller. Illegal in many states, it is still common and leads to obvious conflicts of interest at the detriment to the buyer.
If you intend to sign an exclusive buyer’s agency agreement to use that agent, inquire if it is strictly a buyer’s agent agreement (meaning the agent does not also represent the seller) and ensure it contains the compensation, services rendered, and length of agreement.
As mentioned above, many teams have both buyers and sellers agents and you may encounter a designated agent agreement due to this team makeup. While this does not work as strongly in favor of the buyer, by signing this, the agent agrees to work as a fiduciary to the client (i.e. the buyer)
Where To Find Exclusive Buyer’s Agents
The easiest way to identify exclusive buyer’s agents are searching for agents who are Accredited Buyer Representatives (ABR). ABR agents must have met certain requirements and passed an exam administered by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council. Here are two directories for exclusive buyer’s agents: