WHAT IS A BUYER'S AGENT?
A buyer's Agent represents and acts solely on behalf of the buyer in a real estate transaction. The Buyer's Agent has legal obligations called fiduciary duties (where their loyalty lies) to the buyer and owes a full range of professional services to the buyer. These duties include, without limitation: undivided loyalty, full disclosure, reasonable care, lawful obedience, accountability, and the preservation of your confidential information. In short, a Buyer's Agent works for the Buyer.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 'TRADITIONAL' AGENT AND A BUYER'S AGENT?
The difference is in the buyer being a CUSTOMER or a CLIENT. The 'traditional' agent works with you as a CUSTOMER. When you are a customer, you are without representation, much like buying a boat, car, or when shopping in general. The agent or salesperson assisting you is employed by and works for the seller and is obligated to get the highest price and best terms for the seller. This agent or subagent should be honest and disclose all material facts about the property, but must work in the sellers best interest at all times. When you become a buyer CLIENT, you are fully represented and your buyer's agent is your advocate. You actually hire an agent to professionally advise and represent you. Your agent will then work in your best interest to gain the best price and terms for you - using proven techniques to then work in your best interest to gain the best price and terms for you - using proven techniques to negotiate the lowest price possible. Only a Buyer's Agent can legally negotiate on your behalf.
WHEN I GO INTO A REAL ESTATE AGENCY AND ASK FOR HELP IN FINDING A HOME, AREN'T THEY WORKING FOR ME?
Numerous consumer surveys have indicated that buyers and seller of real estate have been confused as to who represents whom in the transaction. Most Buyers mistakenly believe that the real estate agent who is "showing them houses are working for them. But in fact, unless you actually hire an agent, in writing, to represent you as your Buyer Agent, ALL other agents work either for the SELLER or work as a FACILITATOR, having no legal obligations to either the BUYER or the SELLER. Our mandatory Disclosure Law was enacted to help clarify that issue.
DOES IT COST MORE TO HIRE A BUYER'S AGENT TO REPRESENT ME?
Both buyers and sellers ought to be represented in a real estate transaction. The seller hires a "Seller's Agent" to represent them and list their house for sale. This listing agent charges the Seller for the agent and subagent's commission fee. When hiring a Buyer's Agent, the buyer agrees to pay a fee for their services as well, usually a percentage of the sales price. In Massachusetts, this fee is almost always paid by the Seller of the home by offering a fee of X% to the Listing Agent's office. The Listing Agent will then publish a "cooperating fee" for both subagent's and Buyer's Agents in the Multiple Listing Service, to help sell the home. A subagent (see above) will be working for the seller by bringing prospective buyers to the house. A Buyer's Agent will be working for the buyer when showing the seller's home. And it is up to the Listing Agent's office policy as to how the total commission fee is split. That fee is then applied to the previously agreed upon fee between the buyer and the Buyer's Agent in order to help the Buyer fulfill their commitment to the Buyer's Agent.
The job as an exclusive buyer agent is to serve the buyer with advice and other representation services. An Exclusive Buyer Agent helps you as the consumer make an informed decision.