It is a common misconception that the real estate agents that you see on the sidebar of online listings on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com are actually agents somehow compensated from these big name websites. Actually, it is quite the opposite. When you submit an inquiry on a property you are typically connected to a Buyers Agent that is connected through paid advertising rather than the listing agent. In many ways this is beneficial to you because I always recommended being represented by a Buyer Agent rather than the Listing Agent who represents the sellers’ interests only.
While Zillow and Realtor are great sources to initially begin your home search, you will want to choose an agent that you feel comfortable with and work solely with that agent moving forward. This is important for a number of reasons:
1. Working with ONE agent allows for a more streamlined home search that is customized to your specific needs. Rather than repeating and restarting with various agents by clicking through on different properties on these sites, your dedicated agent will be able to show you any properties listed for sale and set them up in a convenient showing tour for you.
2. Having a dedicated agent ensures that you are getting all of the information that you need when you need it. The home buying process is so much more than just finding the right house. You want to make sure that you are getting accurate and timely information to help you be the strongest buyer you possibly can in these competitive real estate market.
3. Agents only get paid if they help you seal the deal and make it to the settlement table. Many people think that agents connected to big name websites get paid from the company to help buyers find homes. When you are agent hopping you don’t get the benefit of a full real estate service often having agents less vested in the process until you commit to working with them long-term. You want to make sure to interview and commit to your agent as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. By signing a buyer representation agreement the agent will then be able to legally represent and look after your fiduciary responsibilities. Technically speaking, without this in place, the agent showing you the property is in essence working for the seller.
Once you have selected an agent, that agent will be able to show you ANY property in their dedicated MLS area. In fact, many agents have their own website that you can save searches directly on their site to make it easier for you to communicate to your agent which properties that you are interested in seeing.
Make sure to protect yourself and hire one agent who will look after your interests!
Questions? Call 717.963.0016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.