Q: Lisa Willmon of Lufkin asks, “We are looking for a home and are afraid to call a realtor because we are trying to stick to a budget. But many of the homes we want t see have real estate signs in the yard. How much more would it cost us if we used a Realtor to find a home?”
A: So glad you asked this question, Lisa, because many people don’t realize that the services of a Realtor are usually FREE to the buyer. Here’s how it works: the seller signs a listing agreement with a real estate company to help them sell their home. In that contract, the seller agrees to pay a commission once the property closes. That commission amount is based on a percentage of the total sales price (in our area it varies but is most often 6% of the sales price). That commission pays the Realtors involved in the transaction for both the seller and the buyer. So with the seller paying all the commission for the Realtors, buyers get all their help for free!
As for those signs in the yard, before you call that number keep in mind that they represent the seller, not you. It’s that company’s job to get the seller the most money possible for their property. While the seller’s agent will most likely be very polite and be glad to assist you, that agent does not represent you. To have someone help you negotiate so you can get the best deal on the property, you want to have your own Realtor, or “Buyer’s Agent.” As long as your buyer’s agent is part of the local multiple listing service, he or she can show you all the properties available in your price range, help you negotiate the deal, draft the contact, guide you through the inspections, and be your advocate and adviser throughout the whole buying process. And again, all that will cost you nothing since the seller pays all the commissions!
Have no hesitation when it comes to calling on a Realtor to assist you in the home buying process. You will have someone in your corner who will undoubtedly save you money and not even cost you a dime!