A buyer's agent is a real estate professional who is legally licensed (through a signed agreement) to represent the buyer in real estate transactions.
That means that they have YOUR best interests at heart each time they show you a property. They will be able to help negotiate on your behalf and guide you through the home-buying process – from preparing an offer through completion of settlement.
The risks of not using buyer’s representation are best explained in an article by Elizabeth Weintraub for thebalance.com, excerpted below:
“Note that some homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, are wary of real estate agents. They think that real estate agents care only about closing the deal and not about them. A small percentage of real estate agents are like that, but the larger percentage care deeply about providing quality service and treating clients honestly and ethically.
If you opt to buy a home WITHOUT an agent:
You'll have to do your own negotiation. Negotiating an offer is very different than, say, buying a car, because the risks in buying a home far exceed price considerations.
You won't have a neighborhood specialist on which to rely. Agents who sell in certain areas know facts about that neighborhood that a seller might not disclose.
You might not receive all of the seller disclosures to which you are legally entitled. Sellers might not purposely withhold a disclosure, but you likely will not know what to request.
You might pay more for closing costs than is customary in your area. Sellers might make you pay for everything, and you won't know the difference.
You'll be left to decipher piles of paperwork filled with contract language. An agent can explain the difference between a disclosure and an agreement, and help you to understand what you sign.
You'll find your own mortgage. You won't know if your lender has a reputation for closing on time or whether you're getting the best rate and terms. (Your agent can offer suggestions for a lender based on their experience – ultimately it is your choice.)
You'll be on your own to determine the types of inspections you should perform. Most buyers don't know how to spot potential problems such as dry rot or wet basements or know how to determine if a sewer inspection is necessary.”
When you use a professional real estate agent as you buyer's representative, he may know of upcoming listings that you won’t find advertised or online, that could be a perfect match for you.
Note that when negotiating with the listing agent, they represent ONLY the seller. You need a trained agent on your side of the table. The Whit Harvey Team offers outstanding buyer’s representation. Call them today if you are considering buying a house in 2020.