Should I Use a Buyer's Agent When Buying a Home in Charleston, SC

Why you need a Buyer's Agent when buying a home:

Recently there have been a lot of headlines about who should pay the buyer's agent as part of a real estate transaction. Should a buyer's agent be paid by the seller, factoring it into the listing and sales price, or should a buyer pay their own agent, factoring it into the offer.

Traditionally, when a seller lists their home for sale with an agent, there is an agreed upon commission between the seller and the listing agent which is paid at closing. This commission is and always has been negotiable. The buyer's agent's commission is then paid out of the total commission that the seller pays the listing agent. Typically it is split 50/50, with the listing agent getting 50% of the total commission and the buyer's agent getting 50% of the total commission at closing. This buyer's agent commission offering acts as an incentive for buyer's agents to show and sell the property. The way that the total commission is split between listing agent and buyer's agent is outlined in the listing agreement between the seller and the listing agent up front when the listing paperwork is signed.

Remember that most of the time it is a buyer's agent that brings the buyer that ultimately closes on the home, not the listing agent. The listing agent's job is not only to market the home to their buyer's list and try and find the buyer, but their job is also to expose the home to as many qualified buyers and agents in the market place as humanly possible to ensure the home is sold. Another entire post could be written on the listing agent's duties to the seller, but this post is about why you should use a buyer's agent and we will dive into that now.

The vital role that the buyer's agent plays in a real estate transaction has been overlooked. Buying a house can be one of the most difficult, complicated, and financially significant purchases that many people will ever make. Not only is it most people's largest single purchase, but the ins and outs of real estate trasactions can be confusing for someone who doesn't work directly in the field. Add in the emotional aspect, and the fact that no two pieces of real estate are identical, and you start to understand why the process is so difficult. This is why 89% of homebuyers used a real estate agent in their home purchase according to the National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in 2023. 

A buyer's agent is a real estate professional who works specifically for the buyer in a real estate transaction. The role of the buyer's agent is to represent the buyer's interests, in searching for and evaluating properties, on and off the market, using their professional knowledge and skills to assist in negotiations on behalf of the buyer, and providing technical guidance through all aspects of the real estate transaction. 

Among other duties, a buyer's agent will:

  • Help you assess what you're looking for in a home.
  • Assist you in your search for homes, both on and off market.
  • Arrange visits to see properties.
  • Help you get pre-approved with a lender for a mortgage.
  • Advise you on price to offer based on comparables and market conditions.
  • Handle all of the offer paperwork and disclosures.
  • Negotiate with the seller and/or seller's agent to help you get the best terms, including price, closing costs, seller paid concessions, closing date, contingencies, etc.
  • Assist in setting up inspections and negotiating necessary repairs and/or seller credits.
  • Coordinate with closing attorney so that the proper paperwork can be prepared for the closing.
  • Make sure all contract deadlines are met.
  • Help you understand the closing process from beginning to end so that it is a smooth process.

Buying a home is such a personal and complicated process that it pays to have a trusted advisor there who can advise and help you navigate all the hurdles that will inevitably pop up. As a Carolina One Real Estate team, our goal, whether on the listing or buyer side, is to use the expertise and resources at our disposal to help you achieve your individual real estate goals.

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