Making the most out of the relationship with your real estate broker
Real estate agents can provide many useful services and work with you in different ways. In some real estate transactions, the agents work for the seller. In others, the seller and buyer may each have agents. And sometimes the same agents work for both the buyer and the seller. It is important for you to know whether an agent is working for you as your agent or simply working with you while acting as an agent of the other party.
You actually have a choice of having your real estate broker working to get the best deal for you, the buyer, or for the seller. The choice depends on the type of relationship that you formalize with your real estate agent. While we all are in a rush to go out and see houses, it is really important that you establish your type of agency as soon as possible. Your real estate broker if they are following the rules will try to explain agency to you almost immediate once you start talking about your needs. It is a state rule that at "first substantial contact" real estate brokers should explain agency to you.
The reason the explanation of agency is required is that you might well say something which could be used against you in negotiations. If your real estate agent is not working for you, they will be working for the seller. If they are working for the seller, they have a fiduciary relationship with the seller. If they are working with you as a buyer's agent, they will have a similar fiduciary relationship with you.
If you are a buyer, part of that fiduciary relationship is to get you the best deal possible. If you are a seller, part of the fiduciary relationship is to get you the best price for your property.
If you are a buyer, you do not have to commit yourself to one real estate agent at first. You can establish an agency relationship for one house, one day, or whatever period you choose. If you find a real estate agent you particularly like and who understands your needs very well, you might want to specify a period of time that you will be required to find a home as the base period for your agency relationship.
One last thing about real estate agents. They are independent contractors and receive no salary in most cases. As much as they would like to drive you around and show you neighborhoods, it is not very fair to them if you are not seriously interested in purchasing a house. Most will be glad to provide you with information, but real estate agents are most helpful when you have qualified for a mortgage and are ready to make a move towards purchasing.
Real estate is a local business, so it is to your advantage to have a local expert on your side. Here in Carteret County, we have to worry about flood zones, wind zones, and a myriad of other things which need to be considered before purchasing a property.
Do yourself a favor, if you are a serious buyer, take the plunge, find yourself a buyer's agent. You will not regret it. It will make that piece of waterfront or those blue skies you are seeking a lot easier to find.