For 42% of recent buyers, the very first step they took to buying a home was searching for properties online. An additional number took to searching online after first getting pre-approved. With these kinds of numbers and the numerous portals for gathering information about homes, it’s expected that a buyer will at some point come in contact with a listing agent. They may even be tempted to purchase a home straight through the listing agent to try and cut commission costs. It’s natural for a buyer to want to save money. However, buyers should know that using a listing agent does not guarantee they’ll be saving money.
The root of this discussion always leads back to who pays who. Sellers pay the commission for the listing agent and the selling agent (buyer’s agent). When homeowners sign a listing agreement, they agree to pay a certain amount to commissions. 6% is standard in the Wilmington area, and that is usually split between the two agents. The listing agent is paid to market the home to get the highest price possible and to advise the sellers on how to protect their best interests. The selling agent is paid for bringing a buyer and facilitating the sale (acting in the best interests of the buyer). The buyer does not pay their agent unless they wish to purchase a FSBO that will not pay a selling agent commission. This rarely happens.
If a listing agent is contacted by an unrepresented buyer who wants to purchase the home, the listing agent can take the full commission amount, because they are then doing the work of two people. Sometimes, a listing agent will agree to take a lower commission if they handle both sides, but that percentage is usually agreed upon prior to the home going on the market and included in the original listing agreement. The savings are rarely passed on to the buyer in the form of a lower purchase price.
In conclusion, it really doesn’t save the buyer any money to skip using a buyer’s agent…and why would they want to? A buyer’s agent is there to protect their best interests, a listing agent is not. When making a large investment, it’s always nice to have someone with experience and professional training to share their knowledge of the process. Not having your own real estate agent is like playing in a basketball game without a coach. You can do your best to get the ball to the hoop, but it really helps to have someone there who knows the whole picture and can see how all of the players work together, including those on the other team.
If you have any questions about buying real estate in the Wilmington area, give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our contact page. We’re always happy to help!