What is a buyer's agent and how do you get paid?
In my dealings with buyers for homes in NW Indiana it has become apparent that not everyone understands just how the GNIAR multiple listing service works. I am going to try and simply explain how the system works from the inside-from the agents point of view-and see if it helps buyers understand "the system" a little better.
It is not only the goal of the listing agent to bring the buyer but also to advertise the home to the public and other agents who may have a buyer for their listing. This is why the MLS was devised-to offer each available home to all buyers regardless of who offered the home for sale. Any agent within the MLS can sell any home. This system makes Century 21, Keller Williams and McColly Real Estate partners rather than competitors.
Some agencies require a buyer's contract and some do not. The reason for a buyer's contract is to see that the buyer's agent gets paid for their time. If a buyer's agent spends several weeks or months helping a client find a home and then the buyer calls the listing agent off the sign rider, or walks through an open house the buyer's agent runs the risk of not being paid.
New construction is a real challenge for the buyer's agents because most builders require preregistration before they will honor a client relationship. That means that if you visit a builder's model and sign their registration your agent cannot represent you in the sale even if you wish them to. Most buyers are not aware that their agent works for free until the closing. If you have an established relationship with an agent and want them to be rewarded for their work you must protect your agent. Most agents will ask new customers if they are working with an agent. Please let them know that you are.
It is your agents responsibility to be available to you when possible but you must realize as well that no one can be available 100% of the time. If you like to go to open houses ask your agent for a few of her business cards so you can give them to the listing agent at the open houses. The listing agent will appreciate this and will probably call your agent to ask for feed back.
Remember your agent can show you any home, not just those she or her company list.
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Marilyn S. Tolhuizen, N W Indiana Real Estate Specialist
McColly Real Estate, Realtor, GRI, ePro
Crown Point, Munster, Dyer, St. John, Schererville, Winfield, Merrillville, Hobart, Portage, Hammond, Cedar Lake, Lowell, Lake of the Four Seasons, Demotte, Hebron, Wheatfield