The Benefits of Buyer Representation
When you get right down to it, the simplest reason to have your own agent as a buyer, is that your agent works for you, while a seller's agent works for the seller. A seller's agent is working to get the best price and terms for their client, and a buyer's agent can do the same for you. When you contact the seller's agent directly, you may be giving away information (such as why you're looking to buy, or how much you're qualified or willing to spend) that the seller's agent is obligated to share with their client, and that information can work in their favour during negotiations.
Agents owe their clients certain fiduciary obligations: undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience, reasonable care and skill and full accounting. When you contact a seller's agent, you're not their client, and they don't owe you the same obligations. You can learn more about agency relationships and fiduciary obligations on the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) website.
Common Home Buying Myths
- You'll get a better deal if you use the listing agent
Nothing could be further from the truth. The listing agent's job is to get the best deal they can for their client, the seller. In some cases, the listing agent may agree to reduce their commission to sweeten the pot, and get a deal together. However, you'll be negotiating with someone who negotiates the sale of properties for a living, if you save a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on commission, how much do you think you might over pay for a property? And don't forget, the seller's agent and their client may have already agreed to a reduced rate if there is no buyer's agent, and there may be no more room for commission reductions.
- The listing agent knows more about the property.
The most important information an agent can help you interpret is information related to value. Your buyer's agent can provide you with local market information, comparable sales, property histories and more. As we've already mentioned, the seller's agent is working for the seller (not you) and is working to get the best deal for their client. If you have specific questions, your agent can easily call and ask them on your behalf before or after you've had a look at the property. If there are any hidden defects in the home, the seller is obligated to disclose these defects to you. If you make an offer on a property, you can have an inspection done, at which time you'll probably know more than anyone about the property.
- This is your 5th time buying a property so you already know everything you need to know.
You don't know what you don't know, until you find out what you don't know, and then it's too late. We've helped clients buy and sell thousands of properties, and we are still learning. Our broker, Sheldon Johnston, has over 25 years experience in real estate, and has been involved in all aspects of the industry including RECA (the regulator), RAE (our association), and REIX (our errors and omissions insurance provider). Liv real estate agents are personally trained and mentored by Sheldon, and can contact him anytime they are unsure of the best way to handle a situation. Even brokers and agents from other companies come to Sheldon for advice.
Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home, or your fifth, there is a lot to learn about every home. The more you know, the better your experience will be. We can help you sort through all the information that is out there, and explain all the important parts. Our personalized home buying consultation sessions give you the basic information you need to get started. We will help you avoid costly mistakes, explain the process of buying a home, and give personal recommendations for reputable mortgage brokers, inspectors, lawyers and any other professional service providers you may need. These sessions are free, scheduled at your convenience, and there is no obligation to work with us after the session. Request a buyer consultation today.