You have made the choice between buy and rent and are on this site, so you have decided to buy a house or condo in Sonoma County. You’ve talked with your lender and have figured out a house budget you can afford. You have probably checked hundreds of web sites including the State of California Department of Real Estate. Congratulations. At this point, you’re a qualified buyer ready to start a serious property search. I have one very strong piece of advice for you.
Choose one Sonoma County real estate agent you will work with until you own your home.
The key word in that sentence is “one”. Obviously, I would love it if you would choose me as your buyer’s agent. However, that’s not why I urge you to choose one agent that will stay with you through your search. I would be pleased if you chose any competent professional to advise you, help you with details, provide a shoulder to lean (or cry) on, and to keep you engaged with the buying process.
I want you to have the help of someone who knows how this business works, who can pick up the phone or send an email at the right time, and who can negotiate effectively on your behalf. A house or land purchase isn’t necessarily complicated, but it’s a big investment and you need to make sure you have someone on your side. What makes this such a sweet deal for you is that all this assistance and professional advice is paid for by the seller.
That’s right. I want you to absorb this key message:
The Seller Pays For Your Agent!
It’s the best deal going, and it’s only for buyers. Real estate common practice today is that the seller pays all the commission on a real estate transaction. The two sides of the purchase split the commission, normally 50-50, and the buyer pays nothing. So why wouldn’t you want to have someone on your side. Someone whose only job is to protect your interests and work hard on your behalf. You would want that professional working for you, of course, and that person is a buyer’s agent. Your agent.
This system where the seller pays all the commission is great for listing agents who get paid no matter who buys. It’s even better for them if they represent both the buyer and seller, a situation known as dual agency. It’s legal in California as long as the relationships are fully disclosed to all parties, and I have seen it work well. On the other hand, if you have representation just for you with a buyer’s agent,there is no question about where the agent’s loyalties lie.
The point I made earlier about choosing just one Sonoma County real estate agent to work with and sticking with that agent really comes into play when you find a house and are trying to negotiate. Your agent has already been working hard showing you properties and getting to know your likes and dislikes. At the negotiation and contract phase they will work their tail off to make sure you get the house you want because your successful purchase of the home is the culmination of weeks or months of work on their part. It’s their only payday. So find someone you like who has great references from past clients and stick with that agent.