What is a Buyer Agency Agreement?
A ‘Buyer Agency Agreement’ is a contract between a buyer and a real estate agent. Contracts can vary in length, and can include or exclude certain geographical areas. The buyer agency agreement lays out the commitments of the buyer to the agent, and of the agent to the buyer.
Is it expensive to use a Buyer's Agent?
The compensation that a buyer’s agent (also called the “Selling Agent”) receives typically comes from the Seller’s proceeds, and that information is provided in the MLS. In such a case, there is no cost for a buyer to be represented by an agent.
If a buyer is interested in purchasing a property not listed in an MLS, it is possible that the seller will not compensate the buyer’s agent. In this case, a buyer agency agreement would detail the buyer’s obligation to compensate their agent. Typically, even with unlisted properties, the Seller may compensate the buyer’s agent.
What is Dual Agency?
Dual Agency Dual Agency refers to the practice of a single agent representing both the buyer and the seller during the real estate transaction. When an agent acts in dual capacity, they owe the same fiduciary responsibility to both parties.
When an experienced, competent agent undertakes the responsibility of acting as dual agent, the agent no longer acts as an “advocate” of one party or the other. Rather, the agent becomes more of a mediator. In theory, because the agent knows the details of each party’s bottom line, the agent can negotiate a solution that will please both parties.
What is Multiple Representation?
Buyer(s) and the seller(s) are sometimes under contract with the same brokerage when properties are being shown or an offer is being contemplated. There can also be instances when there is more than one offer on a property and more than one buyer and seller are under a representation agreement with the same brokerage. This situation is referred to as multiple representation. Under the Act, the REALTORS® and their brokerage must make sure all buyers, sellers, and their REALTORS® confirm in writing that they acknowledge, understand, and consent to the situation before their offer is made. REALTORS® typically use what is called a Confirmation of Co-operation and Representation form to document this situation.
Offer negotiations may become stressful, so if you have any questions when reference is made to multiple representation or multiple offers, please ask your REALTOR® for an explanation.
What type of information will my agent need from me?
To do the best job for you, your agent will need the best information you can provide. This would include:
- preferred price range
- number of bedrooms /bathrooms
- style of home ( single detached, semi detached, town house, etc)
- size of yard
- preferred school district
- geographical areas/neighbourhood interests
- special needs / special interests which your home needs to accommodate
- your financial information to help you get pre-approved for your mortgage needs
- if you need to sell in order to buy
How can I find out about new properties?
Your agent can work with you to determine how often you want to receive up-dates on available homes, and by what method. Your agent can build a personalized portal for you to view new listings matching you criteria. If you are using emails you can receive automatic emails once new listings are entered to the MLS system.
Can my Agent provide information on properties listed with other companies?
Yes, provided your agent is a member of the MLS system where the property is listed.
What if I find a property on my own?
With the advent of internet, many buyers have begun searching for-and often finding- properties of interest while working with an agent. But don’t forget your agent had access to more and better information than public. Always contact your agent to find more information about the property. It is never appropriate for you to contact the seller of the home directly. If it is a listed property; you also should not contact the listing agent directly. You may lose your power of negotiation. Let your agent work for you towards your benefit.
Can I go to open houses without my Agent?
Yes, However, when meeting the agent hosting the open house it’s best if you immediately identify yourself as working with another agent. If you don’t, your agent might not be able to help you write an offer on that property in the future.
Can I work with more than one Agent?
Nothing is more frustrating to an agent than a buyer who is working with multiple real estate agents. Without a commitment from you to work with just one agent, it’s not likely that the agent will do their best work for you. The exception to this situation is a buyer who is looking in a large geographic area. If you are looking for property outside the market area your agent specializes in, ask them for a referral to an agent in another area(s). That way, both agents are in communication during the home search, allowing them to partner in finding you the right property.
What if I am unhappy with my agent?
Let your agent know that you’re unhappy, and the reasons why. It may be a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected. If the issues are more substantial, or the relationship simply isn’t the right fit, tell the agent you no longer wish to work with them. If you have a buyer agency agreement with your agent, you will need to provide a written cancellation of the agreement. Don’t let a less-than-perfect relationship keep you from finding another agent to work with. Buying and selling real estate are complex transactions, and it’s important that you have an agent to represent your interests.
WHEN WORKING WITH A BUYER’S AGENT, REMEMBER:
- Typically there is mostly no compensation required from you to have representation depending on the transaction type
- Your Agent can get you information/show you any listed property
- You can search for properties on your own, but you should involve your agent once you have found a property of interest
- You can attend open houses without your agent, but be sure to quickly identify that your agency relationship to the agent at the open house
- A buyer agency agreement details the working agreement between you and your buyer’s agent
‘Dual Agency’ is an option; be sure you understand the differences between traditional buyer agency and dual agency