I was recently looking for a second home in the Aspen real estate market.
When shopping for real estate, whether it’s a first home, second/vacation home, commercial investment or raw land, it’s almost always a good thing to enlist the services of a Buyer’s Agent. I found a buyers agent available at Aspen Snowmass Homes.
What is a Buyer’s Agent? To answer that properly, we’ll have to take a look at the business end of the Real Estate Industry. At the top of the food chain is a Broker. This person has to have been in the business a number of years, and now has Agents that work for and under that Broker. The Broker makes money off of each Agent’s commissions. In exchange, he provides office space, receptionist services, and may offer some advertising budget. If there is an affiliation with a larger national franchise, the Broker is the one who arranged that and is responsible for those costs as well.
The Agent makes a percentage of the sale. Generally speaking, that percentage, as established by industry standard, is 6 percent for improved property, and 10 percent for raw land. Of course, like any other contract, it is whatever is agreed upon by both parties, and what the market will bear. When an Agent secures a listing on a property, that is an exclusive right to sell the property. Generally speaking, the contract requires that the Agent/Broker will make efforts to advertise the home, show it, etc., and that they will be paid that percentage as their fee, should the house sell within the term of the listing agreement or to a buyer which they have produced. In order to provide fair compensation, sell more houses, and as a professional courtesy, when a Buyer comes from a fellow realtor, that (Buyer’s) Agent will split the commission with the Listing Agent; Each will get 3 percent of the selling price of the home. This costs the buyer nothing.
Why, then, would you want the services of a Buyer’s Agent? For starters, you’ll then have an industry professional who knows what it is you are after, what your tastes are, what is and isn’t acceptable to you, what your financial situation is, etc. This will save you a lot of time wandering around looking at properties that a realtor is trying to push. As Listing Agents stand to make the entire 6 percent for themselves, they’re naturally more interested in persuading you to buy what they have in their own office. What you need is someone who’s on your side, concerned with what YOU want. That’s where the Buyer’s Agent comes in.
Not only will a Buyer’s Agent filter out the time-wasting listings that a realtor might have pushed on you, but they’ll also be in your corner during negotiations. Of course, they don’t get paid if you don’t buy anything, so they’re still going to want to make a sale. But if they already know you aren’t going to pay more than X dollars for a house or other property, they’ll be pushing hard to see to it that the Seller comes down to that price. It behooves you, then to not let the Buyer’s Agent know the full amount you’re able or willing to pay. You can always decide to come up, but you can’t back the magic number down once the Agents (either of them) know what you’re able to spend, if you decide to do so.
A Buyer’s Agent can be any realtor you feel comfortable with, one that you trust who is knowledgeable and has some business savvy. Sometimes we become friendly with an Agent who has sold us a home before. That shouldn’t be the basis for choosing that person as a Buyer’s Agent. Find someone who you believe will be on your side, working for you and your best interests.
I came across such an agent years back, while looking for raw land in Southern California. I wanted to spend only a few thousand dollars. Every realtor I’d checked in with in the Joshua Tree area had summarily informed me that no such listings existed, that they had nothing under $10-15k. (Fact was, they didn’t’ care to be bothered for anything less expensive because their commission was 10 percent.) One lady heard me, and we went through the MLS search there in her office. Lo and Behold! A ten-year-old listing for 2 acres on a corner, with water, for a mere two thousand dollars!
Needless to say, I wanted the property. When the Selling Agent tried to jack up the price, she informed him in no uncertain terms that the listing was in the MLS, a public offer, and we had agreed to the full asking price. We closed the deal through the mail.
That goes to show the value of a Buyer’s Agent. Parcels (much further away from the blacktop highway than the one she found for me) were listed at $6-15! In all, we found over a dozen listings UNDER $5,000, because she had taken on the role of Buyer’s Agent. She went about finding what fit my needs and requirements, rather than what would give her the largest commission. This same agent refused to accept any bonus or tip, wouldn’t even take a night out on the town for her and her husband. She insisted that she made her commission and that was good enough. THAT is the sort of person you want for a Buyer’s Agent. She was friendly and efficient, went after what I wanted, and landed the deal for me.
By this example, you can see why you will want someone like that in your corner when you’re in the market for a real estate investment. The business is full of all kinds of people. Some Agents are very honest, decent folks. Others are land-sharks; you can’t trust a word that comes out of their mouths. It makes both dollars and sense to get yourself an expert who’s on your side, a Buyer’s Agent to work for you.
© 2007 RightNow Communications