|A lot of people assume that the real estate industry is fairly straightforward. They think that working closely with an agent whom they believe they have hired is working in their best interests. After all, the agent seems to be taking the time to show them the pieces of property they are interested in. Sometimes agents become almost like friends, with whom you discuss the use of natural baby products, jobs, and other personal details. When you are buying a house, this can make it seem as though that agent is working in your best interests. |
Considering the circumstances, this would be a logical assumption in any real-life situation. However, you have to remember that real estate is a business. Agents are out to make money, and nothing comes for free. You wouldn’t assume that an employee from a foreign worker program is going to work for free, and neither is any real estate agent. The truth is that almost all real estate agents work on a commission basis. That means they get no guaranteed pay from their brokerage; what they earn comes from a percentage of the sale price on homes they successfully show buyers.
What does that mean to the buyer? Well, the agent who is showing you the home might be shielding you from the real truth. He or she is working for the home seller, and not in fact for you. You may find that hard to believe. After all, many of us use personal contacts when we are looking for homes. We expect them to disclose relevant information about a house to us, whether it be faulty fuse holders found during an inspection or the fact that the foundation is cracked. But, unless you have a specific, written agreement in place, you need to assume that a real estate agent is working for the home seller.
It doesn’t matter whether you are working with an agent who you contacted in order to find you a home, or one who you contacted because he or she was listing a home. Both are working for the seller. They aren’t exactly trying to trick you into buying a home, but they won’t let you in on all the information on that home either. Often, agents will split a commission if one shows a home listed by another.
It’s just how they make their money. However, you do have options if you want to know absolutely everything that could give you an advantage when purchasing a home. Today, there are many agents who act as buyer’s agents. They don’t work on commission, which means you can expect to pay a flat out fee. However, they can help you by generating information that a seller’s agent could or would not.
These include comparable market analyses, details about why the seller is selling, and information about the property value. So, before you start looking for houses in the Virginia Beach area, ask yourself if your interests are being fully met by your showing agent. Sure, she may have all of your details in a nice reusable plastic container in the back of her Corolla, but odds are she’s working for the seller.
It’s not insidious, but it can mean you end up paying more for a house than you would have had you known all pertinent information. A buyer’s agent can help secure that information for you.