Buyers Agents the Best Kept Secret in Radnor Real Estate
Buyers agents are the best kept secret for home buying Radnor real estate. But what are they? Sellers of homes in Radnor or anywhere on the Main Line cannot pick up their product and take it to a retail setting to sell it. Hence, for many years the market has been manipulated by agents—“middle” men and women. And for most of history, those agents represented the sellers. Not until the advent of resources like Multiple Listing services and internet websites where everyone’s “products” were available to all potential buyers, did the concept start to make no sense. There developed then the idea of a buyer’s agent. But the concept of exclusive buyers agents—those who ONLY represent buyers and have no listings to “tout”, is a very new one in Radnor and elsewhere across the country. For many years, Sage operated as an exclusive buyers agency.
While real estate sales practices have made significant advances toward making the listings more informative and more available to the public, another area of real estate has become murkier—whose interests the agents represents during the process. As late as 1973, 71% of buyers thought the agent showing them properties was “their” agent when in fact the agent represented the seller. Outside the real estate world, agency law was quite clear—any agent owed duties of loyalty, obedience, protection from harm, confidentiality, full disclosure and accountability of funds. Other occupations operated under this system without problems. But not in real estate. It was not until 1998 that agents in Pennsylvania had to disclose to the buyers and sellers whose interests they were representing in a transaction.
Not accepting any listings at all, which is what exclusive buyers agents do, can mean loss of income. Only one-half of one percent of agents in the United State practice exclusive buyer’s agency. Almost none are practicing in the Radnor, Main Line area. Linda Walters, broker-of-record and owner of Sage Realty, was one of the only exclusive buyers agents in Radnor and the Main Line area for many years. Then clients wanted to return to Sage to buy, but needed to sell first. An increased sales force requested the ability to handle listings.
Studies have shown that people working with buyers agents see more homes, pay less and buy more quickly than those who do not have this representation.
They do this by providing all the information, not just that which will make the deal happen. So with Sage, we only represent one side, either buyer or seller, but never both.
The best buyers agents commit to agreement to be a fiduciary. They show all houses they can find, even unrepresented seller’s houses (FSBO’s). They write letters to owners in neighborhoods the buyer has identified as desirable. They point out every problem they see with houses and reasons to think twice about buying them. They educate as to comparable sales, appreciation rates, hidden loan fees, inspection issues, insurance problems and all the hazards that they have come to know about as a buyer’s advocate. They suggest alternatives. They keep their buyers’ motivations and weak negotiating positions to themselves. They continue looking even after the buyer seems interested in a particular property that they have seen. They recommend the best financial and non-financial terms in the agreement of sale that their experience tells them will be palatable to the seller and present such a well-thought-out and professionally written offer that the seller wants to sell to their buyer.