What Does a Buyer Agent do?




BuyersWaitingWhen I started my real estate career, I worked mostly with buyers. I was young, and working with buyers just seemed simple. People called our office looking for homes, but they generally didn’t buy the home they called on, and I became adept at helping them to find the home they wanted. Buyer agency hadn’t yet become “a thing”, and most of my work was actually as a sub-agent of the seller, but since I was working with the buyer, I considered my self “their agent” (please spare me the discussions about agency law, this was in the dark ages and we didn’t know better then).

The real estate industry has evolved. Buyers now have access to property information without relying on a real estate professional,  and  the world recognizes buyer representation as a specialty for agents, but those changes have brought with them certain issues of their own. Not just the reliance of consumers on the partial or inaccurate property information provided by aggregators, but the abdication of the property search function by real estate professionals who want to save themselves time or make themselves more efficient. When real estate professionals hear that the majority of consumers search for homes online, some react by thinking that the job of finding the home has become the province of the consumer rather than their agent.

Recently, someone representing themselves as a consumer posted in one of NAR’s Facebook groups. She said;


Looking for a realtor that is actually willing to do some work for the money they’d be paid to represent me. I found a so-called “buyer’s agent” at REBAC.net and have just discovered she expects me to take first look at all of the properties w/o her. If that were the only problem, I wouldn’t mind, but she won’t answer basic questions and completely ignored my requests to get appointments with owners or seller’s agents to see homes that are occupied, and instead of answering questions about the size of lots she gave me a link to a parcel tax/plot map database for the county that does not work.

Can someone tell me what exactly does a buyer’s agent do and not do for the buyer? Are they only there for you AFTER you’ve chosen the property you want to buy? I thought they were supposed to help you FIND properties by helping you get appointments to see them AND help you get answers to questions you have regarding properties. I tried doing it alone but I can’t get listing agents to give me information either. They either ignore my questions or recommend I get an agent to represent me. Well, I’ve tried that and I get no help so I’m lost.

This is not an isolated problem. I’ve been searching for properties in several states and EVERY realtor I’ve contacted in the last few years has either ignored me, given me the run around, or proven to not be willing to do much of anything for me.

Sadly, for this consumer, there is no better answer than to  find another agent.

Real estate is no different than any other service profession. You need to interview people until you find one you can connect with, and though it may consume some time, we are not all alike.  Like any other search, its worth taking the time to find someone who suits you and your needs. A person who recognizes that working with a buyer really hasn’t changed much since the business began, except for the addition of specific legal responsibility derived from more sophisticated agency laws.  Like any other industry, you need to spend the time to find the right person to represent you. What do Buyer’s agents do for you? That’s simple.

  1. They spend time finding out your needs, desires and motivation to purchase, helping you to meld your desires with the realities of the marketplace and your financial capabilities.
  2. They should be the primary source of property information, utilizing their access to the complete listed inventory to help you find properties more efficiently than you can by yourself, sorting through online advertising sites.
  3. They help you by making suggestion to you based upon their inspection of homes in the area, to either broaden or narrow your home search as needed.
  4. They should use their well developed area knowledge to help you sort through the quantities of property on the market, making suggestion to you based upon their inspection of homes in the area.
  5. They help you understand the difference between features and benefits , alerting you to the possibility of achieving your life style needs with different feature sets than you had imagined.
  6. They continually help you to focus on ever smaller groups of homes until you have honed your search to a laser sharp focus.
  7. When you have found a property, they should help you through the negotiation process, and the preparation of the forms for your offer.
  8. As your agent they should be your adviser and advocate throughout the home buying process.

For the “buyer agents” that are missing the opportunity to work with consumers like this one? My advice to you is simple. Don’t abdicate your job as the source of real property information, or send your clients out to look for themselves. To do that is the equivalent of opening a restaurant and asking people to cook their meals for themselves. As real estate professionals , we should know how to locate appropriate properties more efficiently and effectively than our clients can for a number of reasons. We have superior access to property information through the “business end” of our MLS. We should have  superior local knowledge of the marketplace, and be better able to find properties that are suitable for our clients to review because we do this every day, and our experience in showing, listing and selling homes should provide us with a better knowledge base to use on behalf of our buyers. Because we are not as emotionally involved int he process, we can also provide valuable insights about the properties and the process that benefit the consumer immensely.

We may not be the gateway to property data, but reviewing, interpreting, and submitting property information to the consumer is still a key part of any agent’s job. Do it right and everyone benefits – ignore it or do it poorly and your client and your career will suffer.

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2 comments for “What Does a Buyer Agent do?

  1. DavidPylyp
    February 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    The Buyers agent is the BAROMETER of whether the House is a good deal relative to past sales and the marketplace.  In my Buyer Kits I include a FLOW Chart of my Activity and Obligations. http://zh.scribd.com/doc/97351863/Home-Finder-Service-Toronto-Real-Estate     In addition  because we have Closing Costs Taxes and Expenses I detail these in PLAIN TXT http://zh.scribd.com/doc/90551761/House-Closing-Costs-Toronto.   I receive the Statement of Adjustments and explain the charges THEN attend at the closing. 

    Competition is Strong and Buyers are Better informed .

  2. February 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Any tools we use can certainly help the buyers user experience. Yours are very will thought out and useful – thanks for sharing them

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