Buyer's Guide
Lansing Area Real Estate
Working with a Realtor
Itís customary for buyers to begin the process of home shopping by searching Internet sites, scanning the newspaper, driving around neighborhoods, and
dropping in at open houses. You may be a do-it-yourselfer and are very comfortable
searching for a home this way.

As you become more serious about making a home purchase, you should begin to think about working with a Realtor. A full-time, professional Realtor is very organized and has expedient ways of keeping their clients informed about new listings as they come on the market. This is particularly important because the real estate market changes quickly and shopping for a home is very competitive. Really nice homes will receive acceptable offers within a few days of hitting the market.

In the current "buyer's market" it's important to have a knowledgeable professional help you select a home that is truly a wise purchase. Although there are an abundance of homes for sale at reasonable prices, not all are bargains.  Many have been badly cared for or need expensive updating and repairs. Your Realtor can help you determine if the condition of the home and the asking price represent a true value for the neighborhood.

Working with multiple Realtors


Some shoppers give their name to several different Realtors hoping that by working with an agent from each major Real Estate firm theyíll get better results than by working exclusively with one Realtor. This method of doing business will most likely net very poor results.

Realtors donít receive a salary and have no expense account. They are paid entirely on a commission basis when they actually sell and close on a home. This is why itís a bad idea to work with more than one agent. Each Realtor will feel that itís not financially worthwhile to spend much of their time working with you because they know that you may purchase your home through one of the other agents. You simply wonít get the dedication or service you may be expecting.

Consider thisÖthe perfect home, the one you have been searching for, has just been put on the market. Each of your selected agents will soon discover itÖbut donít expect to be called first. Your agents will make arrangements to show this home to more loyal clients before offering it to you.

Find a Realtor you can work with!
Buying a home is probably one of the most important and potentially rewarding financial transaction you'll make in your life. Because itís such an important decision, you want to be sure to choose your Realtor carefully.  
What qualities should you look for in a Realtor? 
The years of experience? The number homes sold each month? The one with the most letters following their name? Has she ever won the Nobel Prize for Real Estate? These things prove that the the person is involved in the Real Estate business, but it's not what really matters.

What you really want is the total commitment of a good, honest Realtor who is sensitive to your particular situation and will be dedicated to helping you find the right home.

How do you find such an agent? Itís like any other relationship. You can sense that thereís something about the person that works for you and you just go with it. 

Just as hard work and sensitivity to your needs inspire your confidence in a Realtor, your loyalty will inspire your Agent.  Choose your Agent carefully, then stay with him or her. 

The Listing Agent works for the seller, not for you! 

Some buyers believe that they will get the best "deal" if they work directly with the Realtor who has listed the home. Michigan law requires that the listing agent, the Realtor whose name is on the yard sign, work on behalf of the sellerís best interests at all times.
See Disclosure of Agency Relationships.

Even if you work with a Realtor who is NOT the listing agent, that Realtor still represents the seller as a subagent until you sign a Buyer's Agency Agreement asking him or her to represent your interests. 

Many buyers believe that any Realtor who shows them houses will look after their best interests. Unless you have signed a Buyer's Agency Agreement with that agent, the agent MUST put the interest of the seller first.

This means that the Realtor who is walking you through a home must present the home as positively as possible and may not mention significant flaws about the building or its location. Should you decide to make an offer on the home, the agent is required to pass along any information that might be of benefit to the sellerÖincluding, how excited you are about the home and how much you can afford to pay.

This one-sided arrangement is designed to protect the seller. Unfortunately it leaves the buyer with no representation, and that can cost you money!

Won't I get a better deal if I buy directly from the listing agent?
NOT LIKELY. The listing agent owes his or her loyalty to the seller and can NOT legally help you get a better deal. Some buyers mistakenly believe that the listing Realtor will take a lower commission because he or she doesn't have to share with another agent. Whoever started this rumor failed to consider that the listing agent will now be doing twice the work and may not be willing to sacrifice commission. More important, the listing agent's broker may not allow commission cutting.

In Michigan, you can have a
Professional Realtor work exclusively for you
Under a Buyer's Agency agreement, the Real Estate agent works for your best interests throughout the entire transaction. Just as the agent who lists the sellerís house owes the seller complete loyalty, the Buyer's Agent owes the buyer the same degree of loyalty.

All you need do is tell your selected agent that you would like fill out the agreement that will excuse your agent from working on behalf of the seller.

A Buyer's Agent is your best Real Estate "deal", because a Buyer's Agent doesn't cost you anything! The listing agent, the one working for the seller, splits his commission with your Buyerís Agent as payment for having provided a ready, willing and able buyer.
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