How to buy a house in Ma can be complicated and before buying a house you need to understand why you don’t want the listing agent be your agent.
For example, you are out looking at homes for sale on the North Shore, MA and it can be very exciting if you go to an open house and you start walking through the home and then you decide, you know what, we really want to buy this house. You start talking with the listing agent and they say, “Oh yeah, I can write the offer up for you.” The person seems very nice etc. then you start thinking if a realtor shows me the house do I have to use them? Using the listing agent as your buyer agent is a really bad idea and a red flags and bells should go off in your head. While the agent may seem nice, you want someone who is going to help you evaluate the house as a structure and help you with all the steps particularly negotiating the best price.
Buying a house is a contractual agreement, a lot of money, and a long term commitment. It’s a huge purchase. No matter what the real estate agent says in terms of, “Oh, I have a fiduciary responsibility to represent you honestly.” Whatever they say to you, it should be a signal to you to find your own representation. In other words this is when you should get a realtor and not use dual agency.
Think of it this way, If you had a conflict with someone and you had to go to court, would you let your attorney and the attorney for the person that you were upset with be the same person? You would not, and the house transaction is no different.
Buyer Agent Duties
When you are a buyer’s agent and you’re representing your buyers, the first thing you do is you go out and you look at several properties and you’re really helping the buyer identify the things that are going to make them happy, whatever that is. Whether it’s commute times or the certain size house, whatever those “home things” may be. We use a lifestyle worksheet so it saves you time when looking for a home.
Then the next step is, is that the buyer agent should prepare a Comparative Market Analysis, so you, as the buyer, know exactly how much the home is worth. The house may be on the market for far more than the house is actually worth and you as the buyer need to know tat information.
Other thing is a buyer agent, does on your behalf, a thorough review of all of the seller’s disclosures. If there are holes in the information or if those answers lead to additional questions more information must be provided. It’s hard to do that, when you’re working with the same agent (Dual Agency) . If this is your first time buying a home how will you know if you are asking the right questions? Additionally, there other things that you might want know, like how much are the utilities, the north shore buyer agent should go to Town Hall and pull the file on the house, to make sure all the permits were pulled. There are a lot of departments at Town Hall and knowing what questions to ask is key when speaking with the government (The listing agent cannot do that because she is representing or he is representing the seller and they’re not allowed to go and be digging around and finding out information for the buyer). There are a lot of steps, too, because not every situation in a town is regulated by local codes, sometimes the entity is a state or federal entity (Ie. Flood Maps)
When you have your home inspection, the home inspector is going to be analyzing the house from a structural and a safety perspective. Home inspection really isn’t the date to look at the cosmetics and see if you can negotiate a better price based on that, but it really is a day to make sure that you’re safe in the house (Here is our handy Home Inspection Checklist we give our buyer to help them be more knowledgeable). For example if you have some type of health issue that you need to make sure that the house meets. I’ve had many buyers allergic to mold. Perhaps you have young children and you want to know about Lead Paint, Radon Gas (which also can occur in water too!) A buyer agent, who cares, is going to negotiate, some of those repair items for you. That’s hard also to do when the Listing Agent is representing the seller.
Really at the end of the day, it’s a conflict of interest. We, at Hottel Real Estate only represent one side of the transaction. We represent our sellers and we represent buyers, but we don’t do it on the same transaction. It just is common sense. In some states, in the United States, you’re not allowed to practice real estate that way , but here in Massachusetts it is legal.
So, make sure that you have full representation and you know how to deal with real estate agents when buying because when you’re a first time home buyer in Massachusetts you want to be represented well, have the home buying process be smooth and exciting, be confident in the price you’re paying and the product that you’re receiving.
If you have any questions about how to buy a house in Ma or buying a house in Boston, please call me. I’m Julie Marion with Hottel Real Estate, where we buy and sell every home as it is our own. Make it a great day.