The HomeBuyer's Advocate
Agents for Home Buyers
Frequently Asked Questions
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1. If I use an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker will it cost me more money?
No. Actually, it will probably save you money. Our fee is included in the price of the property. Also, since we are not trying to get the seller the highest price, but we are trying to get you, the Buyer, the best price, we will usually save you money over a traditional agent.
2. Are you Realtors?
Yes, we are. We are members of the Columbus Realtors, the Ohio Association of Realtors, as well as the National Association of Realtors . We have access to all MLS listings, bank-owned properties, short-sales, HUD homes, etc. We are Realtors who choose to only work for buyers.
3. Since you don't take listings, what properties will you show us? What do you have access to?
Since we do not take listings, we can show you any Seller's agent's listing (unlike many traditional listing companies that just show their listings or their company’s listings). Not only that, but we also can show you For-Sale-By- Owners (which many traditional agents don't like to work with), HUD repossessed properties, auctioned properties, new builds, foreclosures, and land, etc.
4. If I choose not to have representation and go directly to the Seller's agent, will I save money?
Absolutely not. The fee that we would have received will just go to the Seller's agent. They collect all of the money and you will get “dual agency” representation, or no representation at all. (Google "dual agency')
5. Do you work a particular area or part of town?
No. Unlike traditional realtors, we do not work, or "farm" any particular area of town. we work all over, and work with a wide variety of clients and price ranges. We will not try to show you "our" listings in "our" neighborhoods since we do not have any listings.
6. So if I'm looking for a specific neighborhood maybe I should go with somebody who is more "familiar" with that neighborhood?
Not necessarily. Again, they're trying to sell you something, so they may tell you what you want to hear. You need somebody who is unbiased, who will not "steer" you to a particular neighborhood or property. Think of us as your "hired guns" or your "mercenaries." We have helped buyers in all of Franklin County as well as the surrounding counties.
7. I heard that what you do is not really any different than what Seller's Realtors do. Is that true?
No. If another agent who takes listings, or whose company takes listings, says they can do what I do, they are mistaken. They cannot offer true Exclusive Buyer’s Brokerage. Ask them what happens if you want to look at one of their listings or their brokerage’s listings? Who do they represent then? (Hint: they already have a legal obligation to the seller.)
8. Well, I'd rather deal with the Seller's agent directly, since they know the Seller's motives, and can help me. Bringing somebody else in will complicate things.
Keep in mind that the Seller's agent has signed an agreement with the Seller that legally binds them to act on the Seller's behalf in all aspects of the negotiation . They are in violation if they do anything to help you that may hurt the Seller. That means that the Seller’s agent isn’t going to tell you any information that puts their client at a disadvantage. Legally, the Seller’s agent cannot even tell you what that property is worth. Don’t you want an agent to actually work for you?
9. What if I've already seen a property with a Seller's agent and now I want to use an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker?
Well, you would be better off calling us before you see it. If you saw it at an open house you probably are not bound to that agent. However, if you called from a yard sign or an advertisement, you may have to work with that agent to purchase that particular property. This also depends on whether they followed proper procedure, as well. Call us for an assessment of your situation before you go any further.
10. Are you in an adversarial relationship with the Seller and the Seller's agent?
No, not necessarily. Before Exclusive Buyer’s Agency all agents involved, even "your" agent, worked for the seller. All we have done is level the playing field. True, we keep them honest, but isn't that what you want? Not only that, but we relieve the Seller's agents of a lot of liability, since we represent the Buyer. We bring them financially qualified, motivated Buyers and they appreciate that. Besides that, other companies offer “buyer agency” they just aren’t exclusive to you or their sellers.
11. Can you help me with finding a reputable lender?
Absolutely. Since we only work with Buyers, we have established ties with some of the best lenders in town. We work with lenders that we refer our clients to on a regular basis that we am very comfortable working with. In addition, we can also refer you to competent home inspectors, attorneys, and other related service providers. We are not opposed to our clients choosing their own service providers, provided that they are qualified and reputable.
12. Since you're working for my benefit, and you’re going to tell me everything I need to know about a house, I don't really need a home inspection, do I?
Yes, you still do. As a matter of fact, we really don't want to work with someone who isn't willing to have a home inspection. In the most important financial transaction of your life you need somebody who will thoroughly check out a property so that you will know what you are getting into. Wouldn’t you rather spend $400 and find a problem that allows you to legally back out of a purchase and buy a different home, rather than being stuck with a home needing costly repairs?
13. I've heard that if somebody has a home inspection that the seller is required to fix any and all problems discovered. Is this true?
No, not really. Basically, any necessary repairs can be negotiated between the Buyer and Seller. The sellers are not required to fix anything if they don’t want to. Lenders sometimes, after the appraisal, will require certain conditions to be met if they are to make the loan to the Buyer. Even in this case, the Seller doesn’t have to fix it, they just can't sell the house to that Buyer. But my skill and experience at negotiating will typically get home inspection issues resolved to my Buyer’s satisfaction. If not, we can pursue another home.
14. What if I if don't want to buy the home after the home inspection?
Our home inspection contingency clause gives you the right to withdraw you offer based on what you have discovered. At this point, you do not have to buy the property, and you will receive your earnest money back. You have no obligation to buy the property if you are not satisfied with the home inspection.
15. What if I am in contract but I cannot get the loan?
Again, there is no obligation. Our purchase contract says that you are not required to perform if you cannot get financing. However, you still must always act in "good faith."
16. What if I have a home to sell first? Can you still help me?
Yes. While it is true that we cannot “list” your home, we can recommend ethical, honest, and experienced seller’s agents (from a personal data base that we keep) to you to help you sell your current home. This way, you have a professional seller’s agent helping you sell, and you have us to help you buy. If you choose to sell as a For-Sale-By-Owner,we can provide you with comparable sales data of houses in your neighborhood and point you in the right direction. We cannot, however, provide any “client-level” services for you as a seller.
17. But that sounds more complicated than just having one agent for everything?
It might sound that way, but it’s not. What if your “one” agent selling your home was also “representing” the buyer? And then what if that agent was also representing the seller of the home that you wanted to buy? Then who’s working for whom? And how much money is that agent really making? Now that’s complicated! Think of it this way: people are relocated from out of town all the time. The always have one agent selling their old home, and one agent helping them buy their new home. It happens this way all the time. How is this any different?
18. Aren’t all Realtors “buyer’s agents” these days?
Well, other Realtors can sometimes offer the be your “buyer’s agent” but they cannot offer to be your Exclusive Buyer’s Agent. What’s the difference? If you want to look at one of their listings they must then become your “dual agent” with your consent. Does that sound like they’re still representing you? We are Exclusive, because we only work with buyers and because we can never represent you and the Seller at the same time.
19. What’s the difference between an “Exclusive Buyer’s Agent” and an “Exclusive Buyer’s Broker?”
Well, the brokerage is the company. So, in essence, someone who is an Exclusive Buyer’s Broker has agents who are Exclusive Buyer’s Agents. An agent cannot claim to be an exclusive buyer’s agent if their company takes listings. Always ask the “buyer’s agent” does their company ever represent sellers?
20. So, you fully represent my interests as a Buyer, at all times, no matter what home I want to purchase?
Yep. We say “100% Buyer Representation, 100% of the time.” We promise to get you the best price on any home out there. They can’t promise that, and they cannot deliver that. “Representation” is all about money: YOURS!
21. Can you help me buy a new-build home or a builder spec home?
Yes. The majority of new build purchases involve a Realtor.
22. What do you do for a client that wants to purchase a new-build home?
Well, the entire process building a new home is a little different than buying a resale home. In essence, We act more as “consultants” and someone to help you through the process. We will still represent your best interest, but you will have a lot of interactions with the builder. We help our clients find a reputable builder, help them find a floor plan, assist them in picking options, help them find the right subdivision and lot, and help them resolve issues and concerns that arise during the building process. See this post on my blog for more info
23. Doesn’t the builder’s model representative work for me?
No. The builder’s representative is merely a salesperson who represents the best interest of the builder. Most of them are professional, but ultimately, they are trying to sell you their product.
24. Can you get a buyer get a discount on a builder’s home if you don’t use a Realtor?
All reputable builders pay a fee to the Buyer’s agent. It is built into the price. Realtors bring them approximately 50% of their business. If word got around that they would discount the price if a buyer didn’t “need” a Realtor they would loose 50% of their business. So, builders will not “discount” their price if you do not have a Realtor they will just keep the fee that your agent would have received and make more profit on that home.
25. Are there some builders that you would recommend over others? Are their some builders you would not recommend?
There are many reputable builders in the Central Ohio area that build a quality home. We have years of experience with many of the builders and can honestly evaluate them for you.