Predictably, the community chimed in with a resounding, “Yes!”, stating that the buyer needs someone to represent their interests, look out for them, protect them from the rapacious listing agent and so forth. Yada, yada, yada, jimminy yada. Sheesh.
I, on the other hand, am not so sure.
The internet has changed the game, dramatically, and most Relators have no idea how this impacts their role. In the past a buyer’s agent was the sole source of listing information and the easiest way to efficiently find the right home. Today the buyer can do all of this from the comfort of their own computer. In the past a buyer’s agent counseled a buyer on price and value- but comparable home sales are now public. Unfortunately many of today’s Realtors are trying to fill a role that just isn’t necessary for most buyers. They can find a home, evaluate the price and make an informed offer straight through the listing agent.
What use is a buyer’s agent?
I can think of a few reasons.
- Negotiation Skills
- Negotiation skills are high on my list. If the listing agent is unskilled in the art of negotiation, a highly skilled buyer’s agent can create a real advantage for a buyer.
- Advice for the long term
- If a buyer’s agent is creating a long term relationship, they will give advice based on a buyer’s complete priority picture. If they are only thinking of this one sale (and a listing agent knows this is a one shot deal) they will give advice geared toward getting the buyer to buy that one home.
- Problem Solving Skills
- Again, this says more about the listing agent than a buyer’s agent. Finding a house and negotiating price and terms is NOT the same as “bought a house”. There is a 30-60 day gap in between where all sorts of problems can (and probably will) come up. A skilled agent can make or break a deal on their ability to navigate these choppy waters, and the listing agent might have those skills. Making sure you ENTER a deal with just such an agent representing you can be critical to your success.
If you are a buyer in today’s market and you find any of the above valuable for your particular situation you need to INTERVIEW and find the best possible Realtor to represent you.