Can't I just use the listing agent as my agent?
Traditionally, buyers would stop at a house for sale and be shown the property by the agent
showing the house. The problem with this method is that the agent showing the house is
usually the listing agent, who represents the seller. Be careful about what you say to a
listing agent. A listing agent's role is to find a buyer and to get as high a price and as
possible for the seller. He or she is required to inform the seller of any facts that may
influence the seller's decision about whether or not to accept an offer. For example, if you
mention to the listing agent the amount of the loan you are qualified for, the agent may
pass that information on to the seller. Always keep in mind that you want the lowest price
and the best terms. If an agent is not directly working for you, they could very well be
working against you.
What should I look for in a buyer's agent?
It's important that you choose an experienced agent who has extensive knowledge of the
homes, neighborhoods, builders and legal requirements in your area. Your agent should
be active in finding you potential homes, keep you informed throughout the entire process,
negotiate aggressively on your behalf, and answer all of your questions with speed and
competence. First, find an agent who represents you and not the seller. This is very
important during the negotiation process. If you are working with a buyer's agent, he or she
is required not to tell the seller of your top choice. In addition, he or she is also focused on
getting you the lowest asking price. Also, when you use a buyer's agent, you will see more
properties. Not only are buyer's agents able to search the Multiple Listing Service, they can
also actively search for homes that are listed as FSBO (for sale by owner), or homes that
sellers are thinking about listing.