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calgary Real Estate

What is a buyers agent?

What is a Buyer's Agent?
By Diane Kelly - Talk Calgary

Why is it important for home buyers to use a dedicated "Buyer's Agent" when purchasing a home? 

Most likely, unless you've bought real estate south of the border, "Buyer's Agency" is a new concept for you. Buyer's Agency is common in the US, but is relatively new in Canada.

Think of me as your own personal shopper & negotiator for real estate, who can take you to virtually every "store" in the area to find you just the right place and when you find it, I negotiate hard on your behalf to get it at the best price and terms for you. Best of all, my services don't cost you a penny extra (except in a very unique instance, see How I Get Paid, below).

Below are some answers to questions typical questions people often have about Buyer's Agency

1) Are you a "regular" real estate agent. 
Yes. I am a licensed Real Estate agent in the province of Alberta, Canada. As a Realtor, I have full agent access to the MLS which means I can show and sell every property listed by other Realtors here in Alberta.

2) How do I get paid?
In most cases, I'm paid a portion of the sales commission that is paid to the listing Realtor. This forms part of the fees paid by the seller of the property

3) Is there a conflict of interest if I'm paid a straight percentage of the sales price?
No. Remember as a Buyer's Agent my legal and ethical responsibility is with you NOT THE SELLER.  At first glance however, it may appear that if I'm paid a percentage of the sales price, that would motivate me to get you to pay the highest price possible for the house. But first, consider the money involved. A 4% commission on $10,000 (the difference between, say a $170,000 sales price and a $180,000 sales price) is $400, which, in the big picture, is very little. In the long run, I'm going to make a lot more than that extra $400 if you're a happy client that refers other buyers to me.

4) What are the benefits of working with a Buyer's Agent versus a traditional seller's agent?
The obvious, of course, is that I represent, you, the Buyer, and not the Seller. But there are a number of other advantages.

  • No Property Bias. While listing agents certainly can show you anything that is Multiple Listed by other agents, there is a financial incentive to them to show you their own listings first. If they sell you one of their own listings, they earn a bigger commission. 
  • Wider Geographic Scope. Most listing agents focus on a limited geographic area. They generally know the properties for sale in their area well, but not properties across the entire Calgary area.
  • Unbiased Opinion of Properties. Listing agents are prohibited, by their fiduciary responsibilities to the seller, from telling you that they think their listing is overpriced, for example. I will. I will provide you with area pricing data, historical sales data and my professional opinions about all aspects of a property, and not only price! If I don't think a property is right for you, I'll definitely tell you.
  • Expert Price Guidance. I spend considerable time helping you shape an offer reviewing comparisons, estimating likely appraisal value and projecting future marketability with minor repairs or updating. When a seller's asking price is way above what I think a property is worth, I often prepare an extensive valuation analysis to accompany your offer.

5) Can I not work with lots of other agents as well?
No. I work with a limited number of clients at any given time, typically less than ten. I make a significant commitment to each of them to find them a house. All I ask in return is, they make a commitment to me. However, I do not ask that you make that commitment until we've spent time together and agree that there is a "fit" between us. Our first, and sometimes second, time out together is "on me", so I can get a good idea of what you're looking for, you get a better feel for the market, and we both can determine whether there's a basis for an ongoing relationship.

6) How do we start working together?
Send me an email about what you're looking for, or better yet give me a call at (403) 383-8025. If you've been searching TALKCalgary - Real Estate, send along the reference numbers of houses you've found that caught your fancy. Please include a general budget range I certainly won't hold you to it, nor only focus on properties at the upper end of your range, but knowing what price range you're thinking of helps focus my efforts. If you send an email, please include a phone number, as I'll want to spend some time with you on the phone. Over the phone, I can get a much better sense of what you're looking for and what might work for you.

From there, I'll research listings and email some on to you to take a look at. We can discuss what you like and don't like, and I can give you my opinions on them.

The next step is for us to go out together to look at houses. If you are new to Calgary it may also be a good idea to let me take you around different neighbourhoods so you can get an idea of the market, different price points, settings and styles.

At that point, we can discuss whether you want to retain me as your Buyer's Agent, the specifics of an exclusive buyer's agent relationship, and whether you prefer working with me on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis. See "Working Together."

7) Do you handle commercial real estate?
No. I realize I can't be a specialist in all segments of the market. The Calgary area is simply too large and the market too varied. If I covered everything, I'd end up not covering anything all that well. If I don't know a market segment well, I don't feel I can provide you with the guidance you need. Therefore I concentrate on Residential Real Estate.

8) What is "Dual Agency" 
This is one of the most important things a buyer should be aware of. Dual Agency occurs when the same brokerage attempts to balance their loyalties by representing both a seller and a buyer at the same time. In Alberta for Dual Agency to be allowed, it must be agreed to in writing by all parties. 

Dual agency occurring in a brokerage is bad enough, but sometimes a buyer can find themselves dealing with the actual agent who has listed the home in question. For example, a buyer could have called the name on the yard sign, in a news paper or as listed in the MLS. In that event they are directly dealing with an agent who is being paid by the seller to get them the best possible deal. 

How long the province of Alberta will allow Dual Agency to continue is debatable however, until something is done about this questionable practice my best advice is to try and avoid it as much as possible. Also, take advantage of the services of a dedicated buyers agent such as myself.


Diane Kelly
Discover Real Estate.

To view my testimonials  click here

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Photography, &  copy writing by Steve Kelly or as credited.
Calgary Real Estate consultant Diane Kelly, Discover Real Estate Ltd,
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