Purchasing a new home is a real estate transaction filled with many complexities. Some of which can have legal ramifications. A competent, experienced New Jersey Buyer’s Agent can be invaluable. Or a buyer’s agent in any state for that matter.
Many buyers believe an agent finds them a new home. But finding homes is the easy part and anybody can do that. Just use Zillow or any of the other popular websites (like this one).
However, a real estate agent representing you helps to identify good buying opportunities. A good buyer’s agent can and will perform a multitude of time and money-saving activities besides unlocking the doors for you (which is also important).
Before starting your “home search” do yourself a favor and read The Buying Process in New Jersey. One of the bigger mistakes a home buyer can make misunderstanding the capacity in which a real estate agent works for them.
What is a Buyer’s Agent?
A buyer’s agent works with a potential buyer through the process of purchasing a home. The buyer’s agent is legally bound to the home buyer having a fiduciary responsibility to act in their best interest. Buyer’s agents are paid by the Seller, making them a free representation service to buyers.
Using the Seller’s (Listing) Agent Instead
Some homebuyers choose to work with the seller’s agent of a home. Thinking they might get an inside track or some special deal by using their agent. The truth is the listing agent’s fiduciary responsibility is to the seller, and at every possible opportunity they will give them the advantage. Their job is to get the highest sales price and tell the seller about you, the buyer. Real Estate Agents are bound by law to this fiduciary responsibility.
Going to the listing agent, is like being in court as the defendant and letting the plaintiff’s attorney (also) represent you. It sounds crazy just saying it. (for the possibility of saving a few dollars?!?!)
A Buyer’s Agent has a Legal Responsibility to You
A buyer’s agent is in a legal relationship with you (buyer) and they are bound by New Jersey Real Estate Law to act in your best interest. It would be foolish to expect the listing agent to work towards your best interest.
Here is a list of the basic responsibilities of a buyer’s agent.
- Obedience: Your real estate agent should act according to your instructions. They must do as you say.
- Loyalty: Your best interest should come first, even before their own.
- Disclosure: They must share everything they know with you about the property, the neighborhood, the seller, etc…
- Confidentiality: Everything you share with your Buyer’s Agent is confidential… during the transaction as well as beyond. A buyer’s agent is bound to keep your information private.
- Accountability: A buyer’s agent must always give you an accounting of the transaction.
- Reasonable Care: A buyer’s agent is to use their skills to guide you through the process.
A good buyer’s agent does not necessarily sell you a home, anyone (or website) can do that. They advise you so you can make good decisions and advocate for you, on your behalf, during the entire transaction process.
Buying a home should be fun, exciting, and not to stressful.
A Buyer’s Agent
- Educates You About Local Market Conditions
- Prepares you for the Purchase
- Finds Homes Within Your Search Criteria
- Narrows the Search to Find Target Properties
- Helps Choose a Home that Fits Your Needs
- Identifies Market Value of the Property
- Helps with Preparing an Offer
- Negotiates the Offer in a Timely Manner
- Coordinates the Closing Between All Parties Involved
- Checks in with you after the Purchase is Completed.
After you close on your home a buyer’s agent is always available to answer questions.
The true role of a buyer’s agent in New Jersey can be described as a consultant. You (buyer) are always in control, but it is their job to help you in a manner that suits your needs and wants. A lot of what they do is listen, educate, and present options that might be best for your situation.
In the end, the decisions are yours.
The last part of their job is official. Real Estate Licenses are issued by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. They track dates, contracts, and contingencies, making sure contractual obligations are kept on track. You worry about finding a home that you like (Zillow, Trulia, JeffreyPosner.com, etc.…), and your buyer’s agent will take care of the essentials. A missed date in a contract could cost you your good faith deposit.