Back in the day, you’d hire your Real Estate Agent long before you started looking for a house. These days, most people begin their home search on the internet. Once you’ve spotted a few homes you’re interested in buying, what’s the next step?
If you go to an open house, the agent you meet there is the sellers’ agent. He or she may try to talk you into using their services on the buy side as well, which is a common arrangement. If you’re the sort of person, however, who is easily persuaded that someone working two sides of a deal isn’t 100% on your side, you’ll probably be better off finding your own buyer’s agent.
But you’re saying, wait, we already found the house…what do we need an agent for? Good question.
Your real estate agent’s responsibilities don’t end when you find a house. In New Jersey, a real estate agent will perform a comparative market analysis to make sure the price you’re going to offer for the house is fair and reasonable. You don’t want to overpay.
Once you’ve decided on the right offer, your agent will prepare the offer contract and associated attachments, such as a lead paint disclosure, and various other disclosures, and will submit it along with a copy of your lender’s pre-approval to the seller’s agent. Once the seller signs, the contract will be sent by the agents to the buyers’ and sellers’ attorneys for review. During this time period, your agent will collect your first and second deposits and maintain them in their agency’s trust account until such time as they are transferred to one of the attorneys. Generally it is the seller’s attorney who holds the deposit.
After attorney review is over, your agent will work with you on setting up your home inspections, and will review the report with you and your attorney and will likely assist in the inspection negotiations with the seller’s agent.
There are a lot of times in real estate purchases where you’ll have questions that aren’t necessarily of a legal nature, and you don’t want to pay your attorney to explain them to you. That is a place where real estate agents excel.
Moreover, having an agent can be incredibly useful in the event the sellers and their attorney don’t really speak with each other very often. Sellers as well as buyers often have a more active relationship with their agent on a day-to-day basis than they do with their attorney, and agents often can get you answers faster than your attorney or the sellers’ attorney.
Finally, your agent will also be there during your final walk-through to help you make sure that the home is delivered to you in the condition that was promised.