The title of this article might catch some people off guard, especially those who have worked with a Real Estate agent that did not work for an Exclusive Buyer or seller company in the Boston area. But this detail, that agents exist for your protection is very important for you and the agent to understand.
There’s reasons why you would hire people for many of the more difficult things in life like insurance agents for insurance, attorneys for legal needs, financial advisor for investments, etc. Why then would you not take as much care in making sure that the largest purchase you’ll likely be making in your life, is protected with an agent that has your back?
Over the years, real estate agency and representation has gotten very muddied. It became a multi-billion dollar business which caused many to focus on the money rather than the client. Consider the care you take in picking your right house. You should take just as much care in picking your agent that is going to advocate for you and protect you in the purchase of this carefully chosen home. You don’t know what you don’t know. A good real estate agent has likely seen it all before and know what questions to ask, know what to look for and know how to approach the deal in a way that will work toward your best interest and no one elses.
With that said, a lot of buyers will just write up an offer with the listing agent. That is one of the worst decisions a buyer can make. Taking into consideration all of what I said in the last paragraph, the agent listing the house has a duty to provide all of that protection and advocacy for the seller. In other words, their job is to “sell” you on that house, even if it’s not the right house for you. Even if this house has a lot of hidden problems. Their job is also to get their seller top dollar for said house.
The buyer agent’s job is to get you the best price for the house, but also make sure you can get the house with the terms that are suitable to you, the buyer as well as make sure you know all we can know about the house you want to buy. The seller agent has no obligation to fully disclose all “known” details about the house. They do need to disclose known material defects… but that is really the extent of their obligation to you. The seller agent may “know” that a room built in the basement was a DIY project and may not meet any code requirements, but that piece of information is not a material defect and may not be disclosed to you. In Massachusetts, we have a lot of very old houses. They may have been well taken care of over the years, but unless things are constantly updated in an older home, things wear out. The age of a home is a factor to take into consideration when buying a home in Massachusetts.
A lot of people reach out to an agent once they have found a house of interest. The thought is they need the agent to write the offer, but they don’t need the agent in the search process. With technology today, it is fairly easy to find houses that are listed and I even encourage you to go onto webpages like Zillow and Realtor.com to start your search and get an idea of what’s out there and how much they’re selling for. However, once you’re truly ready to start searching for ‘your’ home, that’s the time to start doing homework on finding an agent that is going to represent you in the purchase. When you find an agent ‘before’ you start getting serious about your search, the agent is able to better ‘sell’ you to the listing agent and the seller of the house than if you call them up once you find the house. Your agent’s familiarity with you can make or break a deal.
Part of the process in today’s Boston area market with making an offer on a house is making sure not only that your offer stands out to the seller, but to position yourself above other potential offers that come in and give confidence to the seller that you’re going to be able to have a smooth and clear path to the closing table. In the end, you both will want the same thing, to close that deal on that house. However, the seller doesn’t know you from the next person and neither does the listing agent. An agent that has gotten to know you and your position/ability will be able to advocate for you better and give more confidence to the listing agent and the seller of your ability to make it to the closing table with the offer you’re making. It consists of a lot more than just the numbers on the paper. Anyone can write numbers and get a quick pre-approval, but when it comes down to convincing the seller your offer is worth taking over waiting for others or others that are already in, the people with an established agency relationship are going to win out every time.