What is Buyer’s Representation?

December 10, 2018

A real estate buyer's representative represents the buyer who is purchasing property in a real estate transaction.  Research by the National Association of REALTORS has shown that when a buyer's representative is used, the prospective buyer found a home one week faster and examined three more properties than consumers who did not use a buyer's representative.

The buyer's representative works for, and owes fiduciary responsibility to the real estate buyer and has the buyer's best interests in mind throughout the entire real estate process.  A buyer's representative will:

  • Evaluate the specific needs and wants of the buyer and locate properties that fit those specifications. 
  • Assist the buyer in determining the amount that they can afford (pre-qualify), and show properties in that price range and locale. 
  • Assist in viewing properties -- accompany the buyer on the showings, or preview the properties on behalf of the buyer to insure that the identified specifications are met. 
  • Research the selected properties to identify any problems or issues to help the buyer make an informed decision prior to making an offer to purchase the property. 
  • Advise the buyer on structuring an appropriate offer to purchase the selected property. 
  • Present the offer to the seller's agent and the seller on the buyer's behalf. 
  • Negotiate on behalf of the buyer to help obtain the identified property -- keeping the buyer's best interests in mind. 
  • Assist in securing appropriate financing for the selected property. 
  • Provide a list of potential qualified vendors (e.g. movers, attorneys, carpenters, etc.) if these services are needed. 
  • Most importantly, fully-represent the buyer throughout the real estate transaction. 

If the Broker Represents the Buyer

The broker becomes the buyer's agent by entering into an agreement to represent the buyer, usually through a written buyer representation agreement. A buyer's agent can assist the homeowner but does not represent the homeowner and must place the interests of the buyer first. The homeowner should not tell a buyer's agent anything they would not want the buyer to know because a buyer's agent must disclose to the buyer any material information known to the agent.

The Buyer Representation Agreement

It is important for the buyer to discuss the buyer's representative's compensation in the initial interview.  In many cases it is recommended that the buyer and the buyer's representative agree to the terms of compensation prior to viewing properties, and sign a written agreement based on those terms. The agreement should spell out the responsibilities of both parties throughout the real estate process.

About the author 

Jennifer Sims

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