As a seasoned real estate professional with decades of experience representing both residential buyers and sellers, I’ve always believed that all parties benefit when buyers are represented. The financial and emotional stakes are too high for a buyer to proceed pro se. And true "dual agency", where the broker represents both buyer and seller in the same transaction, is impossible - IMHO. How can someone represent two principals, simultaneously providing undivided loyalty, allegiance and confidentially?
The recent verdict in the Sitzer | Burnett class action lawsuit provides reason to highlight the significant value buyer agents bring to real estate transactions. Here are my Top 10:
1. Experienced agents prefer to do business with other experienced real estate professionals as opposed to working directly with unrepresented buyers. When each side has its own fiduciary representation, the likelihood is greater that the deal will proceed smoothly and with fewer hiccups.
2. Experienced agents provide the necessary perspective to evaluate and interpret market data.
3. Savvy brokers validate their clients' perceptions.
4. Buyer brokers help clients prioritize their needs and either expand or narrow the search criteria.
5. They provide the distance needed during the emotional give and take of bargaining. Without the buffer of a buyer broker, egos can get in the way.
6. Experienced agents understand the importance of momentum during a negotiation. They know when to step up or slow down the process and how to identify areas for flexibility and compromise.
7. Buyer brokers are well-versed in the psychology of buying and can ease stress and provide emotional support.
8. It takes a seasoned real estate professional to address the complexities of the co-op board application process.
9. Real estate professionals are adept at anticipating and overcoming obstacles, and ensuring all parties communicate and work well together.
10. They pay close attention to dates, keeping everyone and everything on track.
As a result of Sitzer | Burnett, commissions to buyer brokers and seller brokers will be decoupled. Offers of compensation to buy side agents will originate with the seller, and Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreements will become commonplace.
Absent a buyer broker, pressures can mount, negotiations can be compromised, time can be wasted, and opportunities can be missed. Buyers absolutely should be represented. Just as sellers interview agents to choose who will best represent their interests, buyers should do the same.