Steps on How to Buy a Home -step 3

You might choose to use a real estate agent, even if you plan to buy a for sale by owner (FSBO) home. Sometimes agents can recover fees from a FSBO seller, but when they can't they will expect you to pay a commission.

Agent Loyalties

An agent can represent you or the seller, but loyalties to each party differ depending on which party the agent represents. You must understand the differences between a buyer's agent and a seller's agent before you talk to anyone about your real estate needs (references below).

The Myth

Have you heard that you can "get a better deal" by contacting a home's listing agent? Not necessarily so. That person represents the seller and is contractually bound to get the best deal for the seller. It doesn't mean the agent can't work with you in a fair and professional manner, but it does mean there could be a conflict of interests.

Finding An Agent

Ask friends for agent recommendations.

Talk with several agents if necessary to find one you feel comfortable with. Do not sign a contract with any agent until you are sure that agent is the one you wish to represent you.

The busiest agent in town isn't necessarily the best choice. The goal is to find someone who you feel is ethical, someone who will keep your needs in mind on a daily basis. That can be any agent, seasoned or brand new to the field.

You don't have to work with just one agent, but it's often in your best interests to do so. An agent who knows you are working exclusively with her is more likely to remember you and watch for listings.

If you live in a small town, agents will most likely have access to the same properties. If you live in a large city, you may need multiple agents to get the best coverage of separate neighborhoods or subdivisions.