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Hiring A Real Estate Agent To Buy A Home

Hiring Dallas Real Estate AgentsLearn the Pros and Cons of a Buyer’s Agent in Dallas

The National Association of Realtors estimates that 9 out 10 homebuyers will use a real estate agent in the search process. Some buyers may contact a listing Dallas agent directly or others may find an agent of their own who represents them, the buyer.

Both agents can show you a home in Dallas, but unlike the listing agent who represents the seller’s interest, a buyer’s agent protects the buyer’s interests during the crucial negotiating and closing process.

Exclusive vs. Dual

An agent can be both a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. But during the past 15 years, many agents have started specializing, dividing themselves more clearly into one of these two camps. This has given rise to the “exclusive buyer’s agent,” who doesn’t list properties at all. This agent solely represents you and avoids potential conflicts of interest with sellers.

You can, of course, choose an agent who represents both sellers and buyers. But proceed with caution if your “dual agent” shows you a house he or she is listing for a seller. The agent will need to balance your interests with the seller’s, whereas an exclusive agent would only be concerned about you. A dual agent may take a reduction in their compensation to lower the house price in an effort to help get the deal done. In some instances, the agent could be more loyal to the seller but an agent with high ethics will work diligently to protect both sides and work fairly with both.

Who Pays?

The seller pays the buyer’s agent commission (commonly 2.25 percent to 3.5 percent), Sellers factor in the cost of commissions when they price their homes a total of 5.5%-7%. Typically, the listing agent and the buyer’s agent split the commission from the transaction.

How to Find an Agent in Dallas

To choose a buyer’s agent, ask your friends, family and coworkers for recommendations. Remember, real estate agents make their living on referrals from past clients because of their reputation.

If you are new to the area or don’t have any referrals, turn to your constant, glowing friend: the Internet. You can read an agent’s philosophy plus a list of local and professional affiliations on the agent’s website. E-mail a few. Set up a meeting with any you like.

At the meeting come prepared with these questions:

  • Do you live in the area? If so, for how long? You want an agent who is quite familiar with the area. Ideally, you want someone with “insider” knowledge of local schools and development plans.
  • How many people have you (not your firm) helped buy a home in the past three years?
  • Can you refer me to a Dallas mortgage professional?
  • Do you prefer vanilla or chocolate? See how they respond to curve balls. A sense of humor is a great asset during stressful situations!

Once you find the agent you like, you may be asked to sign a Buyer’s Broker Agreement committing you to a set amount of time with your agent (usually 3 to 6 months).

As with all paperwork, read the fine print. Make sure that if you become dissatisfied, you can break the agreement without notice and/or opt-out penalty.

Whether you decide to go it alone or go with a professional, don’t forget to value your instincts when hunting for your first house. After all, your buyer’s agent isn’t going to live there, you are.

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