Buy Alexandria Real Estate: Ready to Buy a Home? Know Your Buyer Broker's Duties

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

Ready to Buy a Home? Know Your Buyer Broker's Duties

Brian Block business cardAre 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?




  • Seek property at a price and terms acceptable to the Buyer

Price is RightBy 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

ContractUltimately, 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!



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

Account for your money


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


ConfidentialityAnything 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.



To inquire about buying a Northern Virginia or D.C. home, please call me at 703-626-0715 or e-mail me at for a confidential appointment to discuss your needs.


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Comment balloon 30 commentsBrian Block • January 12 2009 05:17AM


Brian, a buyer can't go wrong with buyer agency. They are fully represented. It is a great deal. Thanks for the list of duties.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago


This is a well writren guide for successfully finding a buyer broker!  Hope you do not mind me re-blogging this!

Tina in Virginia


Posted by Tina Merritt, Virginia Real Estate (Nest Realty) over 9 years ago

Brian excellent thoughts on what a good buyer agent should be.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi Brian!  This is a very well written overview of Buyer Agency in an easy to read and comprehend format.  Love that hand pokin out at me with your card!  GOOD JOB!


Posted by Debbie Hutchins over 9 years ago

Good information for all buyers that is what we do for buyers if you are good

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ (Real Estate One) over 9 years ago

Not only is this good information for consumers, it is an excellent checklist for agents to make sure we do what we should. 

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 9 years ago

You did an excellent job writing this post on duties of buyer agents...  Best Wishes

Posted by Diane Daley (Caron's Gateway Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Brian, Excellent post with a great summary of a buyer's agents duties. I think confidentialtiy is often forgotten both with sellers and buyers.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) over 9 years ago

Brian,  Buyer agency is a great thing that Maryland has but into place.

Posted by Scott Guay, Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty) over 9 years ago

Very good post. All should read the agreement. Of course they do not so a good reminder thanks . It is interesting how similar yours seems to ours

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( over 9 years ago

Excellent Post Brian.  This really spells it all out.  What scares me is hoe many agents don't take the time to explain this to their clients!

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 9 years ago

What a great tutorial to prepare buyers for what they should receive from a buyers agent.

Great post.

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) over 9 years ago

Hi Brian;

Very good guide for successfully hireing a broker, thank you for sharing.

Posted by Anthony Stokes-Pereira, Realtor (Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty) over 9 years ago

Brian: What a great list.. you have a well written blog post here

Posted by Roland Woodworth, Q Realty - Power In Real Estate (Q Realty) over 9 years ago

I like the way to outlines and explained the buyer broker contract in your area.  It is clear, concise and easy for the consumer to understand.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 9 years ago

Good post on Buyer agreements. They really are in the best interest of the consumer to be fully represented.

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

Brian - this is a well deserved feature of a very thorough review of buyer broker duties. Any buyer should be reading this so they understand the value to them of having representation just as a seller does. Easy to understand and very compelling.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

If you want some great real estate loan rates visit . Offering rates as low as 4.15%

Posted by andy over 9 years ago


Well written and a good guide for us to follow......thanks for sharing.

Posted by Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR, SRES, e-PRO,ABR,GREEN,CSP (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038) over 9 years ago

Good advice. The only thing I would add is to make sure you know the rules and laws in your particular state. Agency laws are different in lots of states; VERY different in some.

Posted by Jim Lee, Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH (RE/MAX Shoreline) over 9 years ago

Thats a great blog, very well structured and the content is of very high value.  Definitely worthy of a featured post, Congrats!

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 9 years ago

I hope your buyers are listening to all that great advice!! We all don't know how much we "don't know"!

Posted by Dawn Maloney, 330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio (RE/MAX Haven - Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist) over 9 years ago

This all spells it out very clearly - way to go!  I sometimes have a difficult time explaining it all!

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago


Great review of what WE call the BRA...snicker. Buyer's Representative Agreement...

I have never used one. Maybe I should but I have never had to. I have maybe lost a commission or two over the years but I like the old hand shake thing and 99% of my buyers are loyal and honest.

This, however, could be a wave of the future for my rural area as the agents are growing hungrier and hungrier. Thanks for the post!


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 9 years ago

I agree with everything you said Brian except for the exclusive agreement, I'm not a big fan of them, and they protect me.  I truly believe that good people are either going to trust and respect you, provided you earn it.  For those folks that are shifty and will not have alliegence, the agency agreement won't trump procuring cause in most states, so it doesn't mean much, unless the agent will get very aggressive with the buyer or other agent if they are cut out of the loop.  I know we will get burned on occasion, but it just goes with the territory.  I can hear the opposite viewpoints forming as I type! :-)

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 9 years ago

Well done-- these are excellent thoughts on what a good buyer agent should be. 

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker) over 9 years ago

Road map to Buyers Agency, Great Blog Brian an din detail Imight add.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 9 years ago

This guide should be handed to every buyer.  Great information.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions) over 9 years ago

I love buyer-agency agreements. When I discuss the agreement, I find it helps buyers understand what my duties are, how I get paid, and what is the nature of our relationship.  Your post has been bookmarked and I will use some of the items in it to help explain the advantages to Buyer Agency.


Posted by Brien Berard, Maryland Real Estate Agents - Laurel Real Estate (Remax Professionals Laurel MD) over 9 years ago

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Posted by Dave Sullivan, Michigan Realtor with an investor viewpoint (Real Estate One) over 6 years ago