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Buyer’s Agent – What You Need To Know

Home Buyers, especially First Time Home Buyers often do not understand how important it is to have a buyer’s agent.  When purchasing a home, you need to understand who works for whom, in order to ensure your best interests are met.

A buyer’s agent does not represent the seller. As stated in the New York State Disclosure Form for Buyers and Sellers, a buyer’s agent is an agent who is engaged to represent the buyer’s interests. The buyer’s agent does this by negotiating the purchase of a home at a price and on terms acceptable to the buyer. A buyer’s agent has, without limitation, the following fiduciary duties to the buyer: reasonable care; undivided loyalty; confidentiality; full disclosure; obedience and a duty to account.

In short, the buyer’s agent is working for you and is looking out for your interests, ONLY.  And, in addition, you may be requested to sign an additional form called an “Exclusive Right to Represent” agreement whereby you may need to guarantee a minimum commission to your buyer’s agent. Almost all properties are offered for sale by a listing agent who is engaged by a seller to represent their interests, exclusively. The listing agent’s agreement provides for a commission to be paid by the seller, and when there is a buyer’s agent involved, the buyer’s agent shares in receiving a portion of that commission. However, the portion paid by the seller may not cover the entire commission amount that you may have guaranteed your buyer’s agent that the agent would earn. Therefore, it is possible you may be responsible for paying out that “commission differential.” This commission differential should not necessarily be considered an additional expense or fee for the buyer. Because, a very good buyer’s agent could easily save a buyer 2x, 3x, 4x or even much more than the cost of the commission differential. This is why it is extremely important to interview any prospective buyer’ agent for representation. 

You also have to be aware that in addition to a Buyer’s Agent, there are other types of Agency Representation involved in the purchase and sale of a home. It is important to understand the role of each agent, so during the home buying process, you understand who is looking out for you and who is not. These different agency relationships are: Seller’s Agent, Dual Agent, Broker’s Agent, and Dual Agent with a Designated Sales Agent. By law, you will receive a written disclosure that explains the role and duties of these different agents.

You are entitled to be represented in the transaction. Since buying a home is most likely the largest financial transaction you will engage in during your life, you have a duty to yourself to make sure your interests are being looked out for exclusively. A Dual Agent represents both you and the seller. They have a conflict of interest in the transaction and will have limitations on full disclosure and undivided loyalty. All other types of agency relationships either represent the interests of the seller, or have a similar conflict of interest.

Before you begin the home buying process you should find someone to represent you. A recommendation either from a friend, a family member or an industry professional can help guide you to the right agent.

Mark Seiden – NYS Licensed Real Estate Broker
The Mark Seiden Real Estate Team
1238 Pleasantville Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
Phone: (914) 762-2200(914) 762-2200

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