Are You Getting the Representation You Deserve?
When a realtor is listing or advertising real estate, we are hired by the current owner to sell that particular property. The current owner is considered our client, and any person inquiring about the real estate is considered a customer. This means unless a realtor signs a duel agent agreement, we are only representing the seller.
Keep in mind that if you have a realtor represent you as a buyer, the price of the property should not increase. How this typically works is the seller and her/his agent will determine a real estate commission during the listing agreement. When another agent contacts the seller's agent they negotiate receiving part of the predetermined commission for bringing a buyer to the transaction. Any realtor worth his weight should always offer to share the commission with a buyer's agent.
I would even suggest that a seller require your agent to set the buyers agent commission during the listing agreement. I have gotten into situations when calling other agents and they say, "I already have someone interested in that property so you will have to wait - If they don't buy then I will call you". That brings me to a saying from one of my real estate classes, "When it comes to $ for real estate - More is Better than Less and Sooner is Better than Later." That agent could have cost his client thousands of dollars just because he wanted to try and sell the property without splitting the commission. That real estate agent had no reason not to work with me and is doing his/her client a grave injustice. A truly good agent always looks out for their clients' best interest even if it means not earning as much commission.
Okay, back to representation. Why throw someone else into the equation? One simple answer. Money! Your agent should know the market and tell you if that price is inflated or if they can find a better property to meet your needs. There is not a seller's agent out there that is going to tell you that Bob at xyz agency has a better deal, you should go check them out. In fact, a seller's agent can't, they must look out for their client's best interest, which in this case is to present the facts and let the buyer decide if it is a good deal or not. Your agent will assist you in the analysis. Your agent wants your transaction to meet your goals and objectives so you buy another property through him/her. Your agent wants you to tell your friends and family about him/her so they hire him/her as an agent. Having agent representation will save you money and headaches.
Now that we have determined that having someone represent you will give you the loyalty that you deserve, who should you choose. Well, few real estate agents will admit this, but it is impossible to be an expert in "All" types of real estate. When searching for your agent, choose one based on the type of real estate you are looking for. If it is Farm Land for an investment, your agent should have experience in Farmland management. If it is hunting land that you are looking for, your agent should be hunters, (and Easter egg hunting doesn't count) or understands habitat and wildlife management. If it is an Apartment building you are looking for, your agent should have experience managing apartment buildings and know the vacancy rate, and if that trend is up or down from last year. Really it is pretty easy to find out what a real estate agent's expertise is. We have been self promoting our whole career so why would we stop now!
Just as important as learning your agent's expertise, is relating with that agent and trusting them. An agent could have all the knowledge in the world about your particular real estate interest but if you do not trust them that knowledge is worthless.
It is important that you understand who a real estate agent is representing. Having a knowledgeable agent represent you has the potential of not only making/saving you money; it can make your experience more enjoyable.
Steve Link - Pifer-Swann Realty This article was written by Steve Link. He is an agent for Pifer-Swann Realty and is also a farmland manager. Steve will periodically submit articles for the benefit of Land20's readers. If you have any questions or comments you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org