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Ask Our Broker with Peter G. Miller

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Posted On: 05/29/2013

Question:

We are now looking for a home and have asked a broker to help. We feel we are doing a lot of the work. What should the broker be doing on our behalf?

Answer:

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According to a 2012 study of buyers and sellers by the National Association of Realtors, 40 percent of all purchasers had written buyer brokerage agreements while 19 percent had oral arrangements.

The study found the following as assistance that buyers wanted from their agents:

• Help finding the right home (50 percent)

• Help negotiating the price (12 percent)

• Help negotiating terms of sale (12 percent)

Also according to NAR report, “Buyers most often noted that the benefit of having an agent was helping them understand the process (60 percent), more so for first-time buyers (78 percent). Also, more than half of buyers noted that real estate agents pointed out unnoticed features or faults with a property, while over four in 10 said real estate agents negotiated better sales contract terms, improved buyers’ knowledge of search areas, and provided a better list of service providers.”

It is important for buyers to understand the broker's role in the transaction. Is the broker representing the seller or the buyer? Is the broker a “disclosed” dual agent, someone working to bring about a mutually attractive transaction between the parties? Or, is the licensee a “designated” dual agent, a situation that can arise when one salesperson in a brokerage represents a seller and another salesperson in the same brokerage represents a purchaser.

Agency rules vary by state but one standard seems universal: Brokers must plainly disclose their agency status up-front.

Many purchasers prefer to have a written agreement with a licensee who works on their behalf as a buyer broker. A broker in such a situation can advise and advocate for purchasers regarding price and terms.

For details, speak with local professionals and ask exactly what the broker will do to advance your interests and how buyer brokerage fees are paid.

Email peter@ctwfeatures.com. Due to volume, not all questions may be answered.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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