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
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
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
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.
are the benefits of working with a Buyer's Agent versus a traditional
The obvious, of course, is that
I represent, you, the Buyer, and not the Seller. But there are
a number of other advantages.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Discover Real Estate.
To view my
Copyright © TALKCalgary
2000 - 2010
writing by Steve Kelly or as credited.
Calgary Real Estate consultant Diane Kelly, Discover Real Estate Ltd,