|Happy Homeowners in Sudbury|
Most consumers know that if they want to “hire” a real estate broker/agent to sell their home and represent their interests, they are going to sign a contract. Realtors® are not allowed to list a property without one. The contract clearly spells out the terms of the agreement including length of time, compensation, who the agent represents and each party’s responsibility.
While buyer agency is not a new concept - it has been legal in MA for almost two decades and a few years ago the law that governs agent-consumer relationships was updated to further ensure consumer protection - many buyers and some agents still don’t understand the benefits of a written Buyer Agency Agreement/contract.
Buyers often call me to ask for help finding a home and many tell me they have had disappointing experiences with "their buyer agent." When I ask if they had a contract with the agent, they answer is almost always “no”. Well, of course they are disappointed! How did the agent know what the buyer expected? And were the buyer(s)' expectations realistic?
The benefit of a contract is that both the buyer and the agent know what to expect and that each is accountable. The buyer knows which geographic areas the agent covers, they know how the agent is going to be compensated, and that the agent is legally obligated to act in their behalf.
Buying a home is a process that takes time, effort and tenacity; it's a long way from finding a house that suits your needs to getting to the closing table. Successful negotiations are based on trust, confidentiality, and mutual respect. Buyers, you are entitled to have a qualified buyer agent on your side to ensure you get the representation you deserve and a written agreement is the first step.
While any agent can call themselves a buyer's agent, an ABR, Accredited Buyer's Representative, has additional training and is a member of the Real Estate Buyer Agency Council, the network that provides ongoing education and resources for representing buyers.
Before you start looking for a house find a qualified buyer broker/agent who will listen to you and respect your needs; one who knows the market in the area, knows how to negotiate, has a network of resources - lenders, home inspectors, attorneys, movers, etc.; and who will educate you so you can make the best decisions about your new home. Real estate is about relationships, so make sure you have your own agent who knows and cares about your well-being.
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