When you buy your first house, it’s common to be afraid of what you don’t know. You don’t want to make a mistake. After all, when you’re talking about houses, mistakes range from painfully expensive to devastatingly expensive.
That’s why this website exists: to help you avoid making unnecessary mistakes. You can add an additional layer of protection against mistakes by working with an Exclusive Buyers Agent (EBA).
Compare and contrast working with an EBA and a traditional agent, who is affiliated with a company that accepts listings.
|Always works on behalf of buyer’s best interests||Yes||No|
|Has no incentive to sell you an in-house listing||Yes||No|
|Always advocates for you||Yes||No|
|Can show all houses on the market without putting the buyer in a dual agency situation||Yes||No|
Exclusive Buyers Agents never take listings, so they never work on behalf of any seller.
Unlike traditional firms that frequently pay their agents more if they sell one of that company’s listings, EBA’s don’t have listings, so it’s not an issue. All of their attention is on finding you the right house – period. There’s no temptation to waste your time looking at company listings that are unlikely to be a good fit for you, but would result in a higher payday for them.
While it’s true that any agent can be a “buyer’s agent,” there’s a catch when you work with a traditional agent. In order for a traditional agent to remain a buyer’s agent and not morph into a dual agent, you must agree to not look at any of the agent’s company’s listings. Do you really want to do that when you could work with an EBA who can show you every house on the market without running the risk of becoming a dual agent?
When buyers understand these differences in traditional agents and exclusive buyer’s agents, the most common comment is, “Why would any buyer ever work with a traditional agent? Does it cost more to work with an exclusive buyer’s agent?”
No, it usually costs the same. We say “usually” because there are a few exclusive buyers agents with fees that are slightly higher than other agents. They typically save buyers enough time, money and aggravation that buyers do not object. However, the majority of exclusive buyer’s agents are paid the exact same way traditional agents are. They are paid by the listing company, which offers half of the commission it earns on a sale to the agent who brings a successful buyer.
It’s important to note that despite the compensation coming from the seller side, an exclusive buyer’s agent does not, in any way, work for or watch out for the interests of sellers.
Now that you know the best bet is to work with an exclusive buyers agent and it costs no more to do so, here is some bad news…especially if you want to purchase a home in a smaller town or city. Many areas don’t have exclusive buyer’s agents.
The real estate industry is slow to make changes and, for years, agents have been taught that the only way to be successful is to be a good listing agent. So, they don’t believe they can make a good living working “just” the buyer side. Even among agents who have a strong affinity for working with buyers, there is a fear of “giving up half of the market,” i.e. the listing side. As a result, less than 1% of companies operate as exclusive buyer agencies.
If you can’t find an EBA in the area where you are purchasing, look first for an experienced buyer specialist who works mostly with buyers, but not at the largest real estate company (where you will have a greater chance of getting stuck in a dual agency situation.) If you can’t find a buyer specialist, look for an agent who is an Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) ABR’s have at least had some training that is specific to serving buyers.
Having a difficult time finding someone you trust? Let us give you the name of someone you can count on. Odds are they’ll save you money, time, or aggravation. The best part is it won’t cost you a dime. (Click here to find an EBA!)