Do You Need a Buyer's Agent When You Buy a Home?

Kristie Lorette McCauley
Couple with real estate agent

When you are ready to embark on buying a home, it can leave you questioning whether you need to work with a buyer's agent or not. The short answer is that it is not necessary to work with a buyer's agent. The long answer, however, contains information that may leave you wanting to work with a buyer's agent.

Buyer's Agent Defined

According to Realtor.com, a buyer's agent is a real estate agent that works with potential buyers. The agent assists the buyer in finding homes that meet the buyer's needs. The agent also negotiates the purchase price of the home on behalf of the buyer.

The Pros

Working with a real estate agent to buy your home can bring you several benefits. The biggest reason that MSN Real Estate cites to work with a buyer's agent is that it is a professional to help you through the process of buying a home that doesn't cost you anything.

Their Expertise

One of the primary benefits of working with a buyer's agent is that they are professionals when it comes to real estate. While it can be your first or fifth time buying a home, a real estate agent has likely gone through the process dozens or hundreds of times before.

Experience

Real estate agents have experience in working through the buying process. From helping to find homes that meet a buyer's needs to establishing the financing for buying the home, real estate agents can help you maneuver through the process to help avoid problems, or to provide solutions when problems arise.

Advisor

Real estate agents tend to specialize in specific types of homes or neighborhoods. They often work in the neighborhoods where they live, work and play with their own families. They can provide advice on the neighborhoods and homes where you are looking to buy.

Negotiation

The buying process involves negotiating the price of the home and the terms and conditions of the purchase with the seller. While a buyer might not possess these skills, a buyer's agent uses their negotiation skills on a daily basis. Each deal requires an art of negotiating that makes both parties feel as if they have mutually benefited from the sale and purchase.

The Cons

It can seem like working with a buyer's agent is a no brainer - all that help at no cost to you. According to Smart Asset, however, there are disadvantages you can experience from working with an agent.

Cost

While a buyer's agent doesn't charge a buyer for their services, Smart Asset says working with a real estate agent can adversely affect the purchase price of the home. Since the seller is responsible for covering the commissions for the buyer and the seller's agents, they can set the sales price higher to cover these costs. Some buyers can even negotiate a lower price directly with a seller in situations where agents are not involved in the transaction.

Bad Representation

Not all agents are created equal. Some are highly professional and knowledgeable. Others can end up costing you more time and money than they are worth. If an agent is not attuned to what you're looking for, you might end up looking at homes that do not meet your needs and wants.

Going Professional or Going It Alone

Deciding to work with a buyer's agent comes down to your personal comfort level. If you feel confident in locating properties and negotiating directly with the seller, then it might not be necessary for you to work with an agent. If you like the idea of working with a professional that can help guide you through the process, then ask friends, family members and co-workers for the names of agents they worked with on their recent purchases. You can also consult with the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents to find an agent in your area.

Do You Need a Buyer's Agent When You Buy a Home?