Ask a hundred different people what the role of a real estate agent is during a home buying transaction, and you will likely get just as many different answers. In reality, the main role of a real estate agent when working with buyers is a simple one.
At the most basic level, your agent’s primary obligation is to help you find a home that meets your needs and help facilitate the purchase. In exchange for this service, the real estate is paid a commission.
The Commission Earned
In the past, a six-percent commission was standard for the service rendered by agents. But this has changed a lot over the years. These days, many real estate companies have found ways to leverage the Internet (among other things) to bring in more business. They also charge a lower commission than the customary six percent. So the modern home buyer should realize that there are new options these days when choosing an agent.
The Duties Performed
The roles and duties performed may also vary depending on the agent. Some consider themselves selling agents, concentrating their efforts on assisting sellers, while others consider themselves buying agents and focusing their efforts on helping buyers. The majority of real estate professionals assist both buyers and sellers (though usually not within the same transaction).
At the early stage of buying a home, the agent plays an important role. This person will (or should) serve as your guide on the quest to find a new home. He or she should listen to your needs and ask questions in order to determine what is the right kind of home for you — and what is the wrong kind of home.
Your agent should be able to compile a list of potential homes that may suit you. This list will point you in the right direction when you start the house hunting process. Once you find the home you are interested in buying, your agent will help negotiate the deal between you and the seller, serving as a go-between to make offers and counter-offers until an agreement is made.
The Process Delivered
Your agent should also keep the communication flowing and the process moving. This will be done through follow-up phone calls and emails, and by “pushing” anyone who may need a little push now and then. He or she should keep you updated on a regular basis, and should keep an open line of communication with you.
During the pre-closing inspection (a.k.a. final walk-through), your agent should be with you in case you find any issues that need to be addressed, such as scheduled repairs that were never made. In these cases, your agent will attempt to negotiate some type of agreement regarding the damage.
Depending on the state where you live, your agent may also play an active role in the closing / settlement, or they may not be involved much at all. Either way, it’s helpful to have a professional on hand who is familiar with the transaction from start to finish, just in case additional information or negotiations are needed.
The role of the real estate agent is an important one. For this reason, it’s important that you meet with prospective representatives and choose one you are comfortable with. You should be equally confident in their professional abilities and their communication skills. After all, the person you choose will be your direct representative through the entire home buying process.
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