Frequently Asked Questions About Using a Buyer’s Agent

What is a Buyer Agency Agreement?
A “buyer agency agreement” is a contract between a buyer and a real estate agent. The buyer agency agreement lays out the commitments of the buyer to the agent, and of the agent to the buyer.

What type of information will my agent need from me?
To do the best job for you, I will need the best, most complete information you can provide. This would include things such as:
-preferred price range
-number of bedrooms / bathrooms
-minimum square footage desired
-style of home (single-story, two-story, etc.)
-preferred school districts
-geographical areas / neighborhoods of interest
-special needs / special interests which your home needs to accommodate

Keep in mind that a very specific set of criteria may narrow your list of potential properties, while a very broad list may lead to an overwhelming number of properties to view. You’d be surprised at how specific the search criteria can be.

I will also need complete contact information from you. At the very least, your full name (spelled correctly), your phone number, e-mail address, and current address.

How can I find out about new properties?
These days, most property searches start online. There are many sites you can use such as Zillow, Trulia, and even Yahoo Homes, which are perfectly good options for searching on your own. I use the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which is the database that all of these other sites pull their information from. It’s not necessarily the most user-friendly site, but as an agent, it provides me with the most information. Some of the information I can see on the NWMLS is only available to me as a licensed broker, and will not show up on a public search that you do on your own. Additionally, I can send you regular e-mails, and even set up automatic e-mails that will send you new listings that match your criteria.

If you do like doing your own searching online, just remember to write down the 6-digit MLS numbers of the properties that you are curious about, and send them to me. I can provide more information about what you find. Of course, I will be looking for properties on your behalf, and will be sure to let you know if I find something we should go see in person.

Can my agent provide information on properties listed with other companies?
Absolutely. I work for Re/Max, but I am not just limited to Re/Max listings. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service is a combination of all the listings provided by all of the real estate firms that operate in its service area, which is pretty much all of western Washington. I can find information on, and open most of the doors to the listings in their database.

Can I go to open houses without my agent?
Yes. However, when meeting the agent hosting the open house it’s best if you immediately identify yourself as working with another agent. It’s good etiquette, and can help avoid some nasty conflicts if you decide to put an offer in on that home.

Can I work with more than one agent?
Nothing is more frustrating to an agent than a buyer who is working with multiple real estate agents. In this situation, there is no guarantee that I will be the agent that ultimately helps you write up an offer and collect the commission for my job well done. I avoid these situations because I would not, in good conscience, be able to provide you with the best quality of service if I’m not sure I will get paid to do my job. Buyer’s Agency Agreements protect both of us from this conflict.

However, there is an exception. If you are looking at properties in a geographic area that is very far from me and I have no knowledge about, then you can ask me for a referral, and I can find an agent that would be better suited to help you in that area.

What if I am unhappy with my agent?
First and foremost, let me know. It won’t hurt my feelings…unless that’s what you’re trying to do (which is not constructive). If I am not providing you with the service you expected, then tell me what else you need. Criticism is the only way I can get better, and I welcome it. If the issue with me is more substantial, and I am simply not “the right fit,” let me know and I can provide written cancellation of the buyer’s agency agreement, if we’ve signed one. However, I ask that you please be patient with me if it doesn’t initially seem to be working out. I’m flexible, and quick to adapt, but I’m also human. Sometimes it might take a few tries to narrow down your needs and start off down the right track. I want to help you find what you are looking for just as much as you do.

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