Working with a Buyer's Agent

General Information

A Buyer’s agent represents the interests of the buyer in a real estate transaction. The Buyer’s agent’s responsibilties to the buyer are: undivided loyalty, obedience, diligence, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable skill and care. All duties are fiduciary -- they are owed exclusively to the buyer – NOT to the seller.

  • Ask for recommendations from people who have just bought or sold a home in your area.
  • Call a local real estate office and ask the manager to recommend an agent who specializes in the type of property and/or community you are interested in.
  • Visit a few real estate offices.The office itself can tell a lot about the agents you may end up working with. Is it attractive and organized? Is it easily accessible and open 7 days a week? Is the agency a member of a multiple-listing service -- that is, are the listings of all other agents available to you? 
  • Interview several prospects. Choose an agent who offers you the services you need, and with whom you feel comfortable.In general, more experienced agents will have knowledge and tools to help you find and buy the house that's right for you.
  • Discuss and be clear about what is expected of you and what is expected of the agent as you begin the joint process of finding and buying a home. Get everything in writing! 

During the search process, the Buyer's agent:

  • Arranges property showings that meet the buyer’s needs
  • Provides information that the buyer requests about the home or property, community, taxes, utilities and zoning, or refers the buyer to appropriate information sources 
  • Discloses any material facts about the property of which the agent has knowledge.
During the offering process, the Buyer's agent:
  • Prepares a competitive market analysis of the property for the buyer
  • Counsels the buyer on what price to offer to the seller
  • Shows what other buyers are paying for property in the area.
  • Assists in writing an offer with the buyer’s interest in mind
  • Negotiates the best price and terms for the buyer
  • Keeps the price capabilities and objectives of the buyer confidential, and maintains anonymity if desired.

During the closing process, the Buyer's agent:

  • Assists with the loan application process
  • Monitors all dates, events and requirements for the buyer
  • Should attend the closing with the buyer.
Important Things to Know While Working with a Buyer's Agent
  • When you hire an agent to help you buy a home, the agent must be working for you -- and only for you.
  • Every real estate agent’s commission is negotiable.There is no set percentage or commission to which an agent is entitled. Before signing the contract, you can ask the agent to take a smaller commission than what he or she proposed.The agent is free to accept or decline your offer.
  • The duration of your agreement with the agent is also negotiable.
  • Whatever terms you settle on, be sure you understand exactly what you'll be getting in return for that commission. If you negotiate a lower commission than the agent proposed, the agent may then want to exclude some services that he or she would normally provide. Make sure you'll be entitled to the all of the services that are most important to you and get these in writing.
  • Before signing, get answers to all your questions. Be sure you're comfortable with the agent and that you understand and agree with all the terms of your contract agreement. 
  • The contract must have a beginning date, an ending date, and be signed by all parties to the contract. 
  • IMPORTANT! A contract signed between you and the agent is legal and binding on all parties. There is no 3-Day cancellation of the contract once it is signed. You must receive a copy at the time that you sign.
  • Don't sign any blank documents or papers that you don't understand. Contact an attorney for assistance.
  • Once your contract is signed, your real estate agency may show you some homes of sellers that they represent. If you choose to buy a home from a seller who also happens to be a client of your agency, the agency is obligated to provide both you and the seller with a "Dual Agency Consent Agreement" form for you to sign. By signing this form, you agree that your real estate agency is free to represent both you AND the seller in the deal. The form outlines the process to be followed to ensure complete fairness to both seller AND buyer. You don't have to agree to Dual Agency if you feel it's not in your best interest. Don't sign the consent form in advance; wait until you have a serious interest in a home that is represented by your agency.
  • Having an attorney oversee your paperwork and advise you on all legal aspects of the deal is advisable. Real estate agents and brokers are prohibited from engaging in the practice of law and must not give legal advice.
  • If English is your second language and you're unclear about the terms of the contract, have an interpreter assist you before signing.
  • Have a professional home inspection done on any property that you are seriously considering. The home inspector should be someone you choose yourself, not someone chosen by an agent. You want a completely unbiased, independent review of the property.
  • If the home inspection reveals that some repairs are needed, your agent will communicate this in writing to the seller, who may then choose to give you, the buyer, a credit at closing or fix the problems. Be sure that any home improvement contractor, electrician or plumber hired by the seller is appropriately registered or licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection as required by law. Ask for a Connecticut license number and verify the license  and its complaint history before the work is started. Learn more about home improvement
  • There is no rule that the seller must accept your offer, nor are there requirements as to which offer or counter-offer the seller must accept. Sellers have the right not to sell if they choose, as long as their intent is not to promote discriminatory practices.
  • Once you place a deposit on a property, those funds must be held in a separate escrow account by your agent, and must not be co-mingled with the agent’s other business or personal accounts. Your check and/or money order should be made payable to the brokerage company -- not to an agent or any agency employee.
  • Remember, you have the final word on any decision. Don't let an agent pressure or hurry you into making a choice that you're not sure about.