Are you ready to start along the path to purchase a home?
If so, it's likely that you'll hire a real estate broker to help you find the property, place an offer, negotiate the deal, and ultimately purchase your next home.
Before you sign the last page and place your initials on all the pages of the Buyer Broker Agreement (officially called "Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer Agreement" here in Virginia), make sure you familiarize yourself with the duties of the real estate broker whom you hire.
Of course you expect that the buyer broker (or buyer agent) will help you find a home. What else are they obligated to do when you sign the paperwork?
BUYER BROKER DUTIES:
- Seek property at a price and terms acceptable to the Buyer
By signing a Buyer Broker Agreement, the broker agrees to represent you and your interests. The broker or agent should be showing you homes that interest you, not ones that interest him or her. If you want 3 bedrooms, a fireplace, and a two car garage, and your agent spends a day showing you some 2 bedroom places without a garage or fireplace, it's time to fire that fellow and find someone who will listen to your needs. Set your price range and give your broker a list of the amenities and features you want and need so that they can best help you.
- Assist in the drafting and negotiating of offers and counteroffers
Ultimately, you select the price and terms that you want to offer on any particular home. The buyer agent will provide you the pricing data and other information to help you make an informed decision. This may include data on other comparable homes that have sold, market conditions, and potentially any information the agent has about the neighborhood or sellers.
Your offer, and subsequently the ratified contract, is a legal document. Make sure you ask your broker any questions you have before signing and obtain legal counsel if you deem it necessary or if your broker does not know or is not able to provide an answer to your question.
Negotiations occur throughout the transaction. Choosing a Good Negotiator for Your Real Estate Deal is crucial.
- Help establish strategies for accomplishing the Buyer's objectives
Your buyer broker represents YOU! As such, they should discuss with you various strategies for getting the home you want at the price and terms that you want. This may include assistance on determining an offering price, what contingencies to include, setting timeframes, and other strategies.
- Provide reasonable assistance to facilitate the settlement of the purchase contract
Throughout the process, your buyer broker should communicate with your lender, the listing agent, the settlement company, inspectors, and other people to make sure that they are all doing what they need to do in a timely manner to ensure you reach settlement. Make sure to read Who Are the Players? The Team of Professionals Involved in Your Real Estate Deal
- Receive and present in a timely manner all written offers or counteroffers to and from the Buyer
Time is of the essence in all real estate deals. Miss a deadline, or delay on submitting an offer and the whole deal can be shot. Make sure that your buyer broker makes time for you!
- Disclose to the Buyer all material facts related to the property or concerning the transaction of which they have actual knowledge
Buyer brokers are required to disclose information about the property that they actually know which can be material in your making a decision about whether or not to purchase the home or what price to offer. If they don't know it, they can't very well disclose it. Virginia is still a caveat emptor state.
- Account in a timely manner for all money and property received in which the Buyer has or may have an interest
You want to know where your money is and where it's going. Ask your buyer broker what happens with your earnest money deposit.
- Maintain the confidentiality of your personal and financial information
Anything you tell your buyer broker will be kept confidential (unless of course, you confess to murder or treason). Even after the transaction is over or the brokerage relationship is terminated. This duty is very important. Don't be afraid to discuss important details of your personal and financial information with your buyer agent. This information will be very important for them to assist you fully in purchasing a home.
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