Many home buyers unwittingly harm their bargaining power, pay too much, pay unnecessary closing costs, miss important structural problems, and other things when purchasing their home here in the greater Boise area because they do not understand Agency Law in Idaho.
That is why the Idaho Real Estate Commission REQUIRES that all real estate agents present a Brochure prepared by the commission to potential home buyers. This can be found online but should be presented to any prospective buyers at the first substantial business contact. In spite of this, many people still fail to understand and weaken their position. It is our hope that in reading this you will be alerted to facts and myths about the home buying process. This is a list of many of the reasons to use an Exclusive Buyer's Agent, but by no means is an exhaustive list.
1)The seller will pay less commission if you use the seller’s agent and therefore you can get a lower price for the house.
The truth is that the seller signs a contract to pay a specific commission to the seller agent’s Broker. The Broker lists on the MLS (multiple listing service) the commission and how it is to be split between involved agents. By MLS rules it must be clearly listed if the commission will vary if there is only one agent involved. The dual agent gets both sides of the commission and so using a dual agent doesn't necessarily affect the commission. Therefore using the seller’s agent does not lower the price you will pay.
2)If you sign an agency agreement with a Buyer’s agent you are stuck with him and cannot get out of the contract. Even if he does a bad job for you, you have to buy your house through him until your contract runs out.
The truth is that you are contracting with an agent to serve YOU. You may put in the contract that you have the right to discontinue the contract. Furthermore, the buyer’s contract is a mutual contract with responsibilities for both parties in the contract. The agent is responsible to serve you and if he is not fulfilling the contract specifications you can and should fire the agent. This doesn't mean that you are able cancel the contract with the agent if they are working hard for and doing a good job for you unless you both mutually agree, but if they are why would you want to discontinue using that agent in the first place?
3)You can get better service by shopping yourself because you will be able to buy anything that you find. You may find a for sale by owner and will not be able to buy it if you have an agent.
The truth is that the reverse is true. Agents show the best properties they know of to clients first and to customers last. When you hire a buyer’s agent he is hired to help you find the property that you want. This includes for sale by owner! Most owners trying to sell their own houses fail. Most for sale by owner sales end up involving an agent. We can work with for sale by owners, (and often do)! Non-professionals often do not know disclosure rules and other important things. If you buy a for sale by owner home you are even in greater need of a buyer agent.
1) Agents have a statutory (by law) responsibility to act in the best interest of their clients. Agents are required to hold client information confidentially. As a buyers' agent this includes keeping all financial information confidential as well as many other things. As a sellers' agent this includes revealing any information that they have concerning a customer buyer to their seller client. (For example, a buyer customer goes to an Open House, meets the seller's listing agent and reveals that they would want to make an offer of $200,000 on the house, but that they are approved for $220,000--the seller's agent has a duty to give the seller this information and has no responsibility to keep it confidential for the buyer.)
2) Sellers who have listed with a Real Estate agent are clients of that agent.
3)You, as a buyer cannot be an exclusive client of an agent who is also the agent of the seller for that home. You can enter a dual agent position, but before you sign a contract causing that arrangement you are a customer while the seller is a client. (The terms customer and client are confusing sometimes, but for quick clarification, a client is represented while a customer is not--see the agency brochure discussed above for a better explanation.) Anything that you tell that agent can be, and in many cases must be revealed to the seller. If you are a customer, and the agent knows how much you are pre-approved for, how much you can pay, how much you like the house, how soon you need to move, or anything else, that may affect your bargaining power he is required to tell to his client. Remember, the agent’s responsibility is to work in the best interest of his client.
4)You can sign a dual agency agreement. From that point on your vital information is to be confidential. But the dual agent cannot reveal any vital information that he may have concerning the seller either. He acts merely as a middleman.
5)An Exclusive Buyer’s Agent has a statutory responsibility to act in the best interest of the buyer. He must hold all of your information confidentially. He must not reveal anything that will weaken your bargaining power, like how much money you can spend, how much you will spend, how fast you must get into a house or anything that may give an advantage to the seller.
6)An Exclusive Buyer's Agent is to reveal any information that he may know about the seller that will help you. Often we find things out like the last sale price, what the seller owes on the property, why the seller has to move, if other offers have been made, the reason for the sale (divorce, transfer, pre-foreclosure, bought another house, etc.) and other things that may really help your bargaining position. A dual agent cannot do this for you.
7)An Exclusive Buyer’s Agent is required to do reasonable inspection of the property and to reveal know potential problems. This does not mean a Buyers agent is a home inspector. It means that any material facts that are know or reasonably should be know must be disclosed. We recommend competent home inspectors to check and protect buyers against such things.
8)An Exclusive Buyer’s Agent will alert you to closing costs that can be paid by the seller instead of you. Contrary to popular belief, my job as a Realtor is to serve you, my client, and to do my very best to find you the home you want, get you the best deal and following through the transaction to a smooth close. I do care about my clients and your needs, as I know many other Realtors do as well. However, just helping you find a property is not a Realtors only job in a transaction. In fact, that is just the beginning.
Kasey Boles, Managing Broker
REALTOR®, CRS, ABR, ePRO, SRS, SFR, GRI
John Boles / 208.830.6185 / firstname.lastname@example.org
James Gannon / 208.570.4048 / email@example.com
Kasey Boles / 208.830.6186 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Boise, Idaho Real Estate
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