questions. Watch to see if the agent makes notes.
If the agent doesn’t broach the topic, ask for an explanation of his understanding of agency relationships and obligations to you. The law requires agents to explain whether they’ll be working for the buyer or the seller whenever they have substantive contact with a customer or prospective client. If the agent doesn’t offer you a buyer’s agency agreement, that agent is representing the seller, not you. If the agent can’t explain agency concepts to you, then move to the next agent. Be sure that the agent will be showing you all listings or properties on the market that meet your requirements, and not only listings that are handled in-house. Buyer’s agents have the legal duty to put the buyer’s needs ahead of their own. Even when an agent will be paid more for selling an in-house listing, they must inform you about other available, suitable listings and take you to see viable prospects. A good buyer’s agent will provide a home-buying education. The listing agent will point out all the features of a home; a good buyer’s agent will point to the faults — or advise when they can be overlooked. Competent buyer’s agents help their buyers to think clearly as the home-buying process unfolds. For example, if a house is a good buy, a buyer’s agent might suggest looking past the dated bathroom and kitchen and look at the space above the garage that will make the perfect art studio you desire. Likewise, a cute house with all the amenities but with knob-and-tube wiring or a 40-year- old roof might not be worth the asking price. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Home Guide, if you decide to buy with the intention of building an addition, the agent should advise you to check the zoning before making an offer.
Agree to sign a buyer’s agency agreement after you have met with
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