Using a Buyer’s Agent is a Smart Move

In the last few years the trend has been for buyers to shop for a property without a buyer’s agent. The belief is that it buys you more time to find exactly the home you want because you don’t have someone paid by commission pressuring you to buy before you are ready.  However, this might be a bit of a fallacy because technically the buying agent is splitting the commission that the seller gets for the property. So when you make this move of trying to buy without an agent, you are not really “cutting the middle man” out of the equation.

In the past people needed anSold-sign agent to see any of postings on the MLS (multiple listing service.) Now anyone can access them on line and view properties on their own. However, this does not mean you should dispense with finding a buyer’s agent who provides buyers with many more services besides looking up what is for sale on the Internet.  For one thing, the buyer’s agent is the person who helps you negotiate with the seller’s agent so you can get the best deal possible. For another, the buyer’s agent also knows the market value prices in the neighborhood and will point out a home that is way over local asking prices, whereas a seller’s agent, who benefits from you paying a bit extra, may not bother to do so.

Many buyers just don’t realize that when they deal with a seller’s agent on their own that they do not have anyone looking out for the best interests. You need a buyer’s agent who negotiates with the seller’s agent to get your best price.

Yet another unhappy trend in the business is the buyer that finds an agent who is presenting himself as a buyer’s agent but is not transparent about the fact that he is actually working on behalf of the seller as well. It is a very good idea to make sure that you are working with an actual buyer’s agent who cares about your best interests instead of a seller’s agent who is navigating between both parties. Many buyers nowadays are finding that seller’s agents actually discourage them from finding a buyer’s agent because if they can sell directly to you through the seller then they can keep the entirety of the commission and not have to split it with your representation.

If you do find out that you are dealing with the seller’s agent you are always entitled to ask the real-estate agency that listed the house if you can deal with an agent who is not associated with the owner of the property. This could result in a fairer deal for you.

A great buyer’s agent is also willing to do, or has already done, the footwork needed to find the place that is right for you. They do not just get their for-sale sources online. Often they know their turf better than you ever could by just researching the area you want to live in on your own and online.

Interview Questions to ask a Real Estate Agent before Buying a Home

Real estate agents are varied and have multiple levels of experience and motive. Finding a good real estate agent before you purchase a home is worth shopping for.

It will take time to find a home that you like, and you should be as determined to find a great real estate agent that you like and trust to keep your best interests at heart. A professional real estate agent or REALTOR® should not have a problem answering some of the following questions, and it will give you peace of mind. Communication and understanding should be a strong foundation of your relationship with your agent.

  • Is your real estate agent new, experienced in the field, full time or just part time?
  • Have they provided you a list of references with contact information?

Asking for references of past clients helps to get a good understanding of personal reviews, take the time to actually speak to some of them.

Contact people who have been home buyers working with this Realtor or company. Even if the references did not purchase a home, they will have very useful information about their experience with the Realtor.

If it is just a part time position for the Realtor, you may find it difficult to schedule meetings or viewings at times which are convenient to you. If they have a team, or assistants involved, get a list of anyone that you would likely be in contact with.

Determine the mode and frequency of contact whether via e-mail or phone. If you lack communication, you may miss important home viewing opportunities.

  • Does the agent have an informational and easy to access website for communication and reference?

It can save valuable time reviewing properties before you actually go to the location.

  • Does the Realtor represent you, or the seller?

This makes a huge difference when it comes to making a decision on the price. If they have a personal connection with the seller, they may not have your best interests in mind. Ask for a list of fees in writing, so that there are no surprises in the total cost.

When buying demand to work with a buyer’s agent (buyer broker), no exceptions!

  • Will the agent show all available properties from other companies’ listings, or just their own?

Buying opportunities could be missed, and it would be costly to have more than one Realtor.

These are just basic guidelines, but if you are not afraid to ask, it will make a much less stressful buying experience. Well constructed research builds the strong foundation of a future home.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast-to-coast.

Buy a Home Now or Rent First?

The American dream has always involved home ownership. For many individuals, renting is never an option, but it’s important to remember that each has its uses.

You Should Strongly Consider Buying

Take a moment and consider the following idea: You could be buying a home when prices and interest rates are at their lowest in history.  A real estate boom could be just around the corner and you could be poised to take full advantage of a wonderful financial opportunity.

First time homeowners should be rejoicing at today’s real estate market.  They don’t have a home to sell, so they’re not losing money listing a home in a competitive, down market.  They’re ready to take advantage of a mortgage with an incredible interest rate, and should they decide to not move for 5 to 10 years, possibly ride an upturn in a market that’s poised to bounce back very soon.

There are also other wonderful tax benefits to home ownership.  You can write off any taxes paid on your primary home and a vacation home, thereby lowering your taxable income and resulting amount due come tax time.  You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind of having four walls to call your own, rather than sharing one or two with an obnoxious neighbor.

When Renting is a Great Choice

Renting has unfortunately garnered a bad reputation in years past, but lately these beliefs are beginning to change.  There are many circumstances where renting is financially smarter than buying.  If you’re one of the lucky few to have made the decision to rent in the past 3-5 years, you avoided an unforeseen depreciation in the market.

Are you on a temporary relocation to a new area? Renting may also be a perfect choice for anyone who doesn’t know how long they’ll be in a particular market.  At the end of your lease, you’ll be given the option to renew or you can simply move on to another gorgeous home.  Many enjoy renting for this purpose alone; the thrill of moving into a new home every few years often outweighs any opportunity for equity gain.

In a down market, renting definitely has its perks.  Today’s real estate market is more volatile than in years past, and many homeowners are making a temporary decision to lease until the market makes a turn into the green.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to buy or rent a home, consider contacting one of our real estate agents at to discuss the pros and cons of home ownership in today’s real estate market.  We’ll coach you on what makes financial sense to your family in the long run and always be here to guide in you in the future when you’re ready for your next move.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of ~ Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian & Gay Friendly Realtors, offering Free Buyers Assistance, and a Free Competitive Market Analysis to home sellers.