A buyer’s agent is an agent who represents only the buyer in a real estate transaction. This means that the agent has all of the affirmative obligations of the law owed to the buyer. The terms “buyer’s agent,” “buyer’s representative” and “buyer broker” are synonymous, meaning a single agency representation for a buyer.
The fees paid to a buyer's broker are negotiable, and can be handled in several ways including being paid by the listing agent and/or the seller or by the buyer. Under recent statute changes, the payment of or source of the fee does not dictate or control an agency relationship.
The services a buyer's broker provides should include identifying and showing available properties to the buyer, helping to find financing options, preparing and negotiating offers and monitoring the time frames and deadlines of the agreement. The buyers broker should remember to be responsible to the client, not for the client. In general, the same services as in the past, but with the obligation of the highest degree of loyalty and honesty being to the buyer instead of the seller. Ask the agent to discuss the services they will provide as part of the agreement, what the fee for services is and how it can be paid.
Some buyer-broker contracts are exclusive, others are not and it is wise to check with an attorney if you have questions about the scope of representation under your contract. As a buyer, you’ll have to sign an agency disclosure agreement for first substantive contact with an agent, but this is only a disclosure agreement, not a contract. Not all real estate companies practice single agency representation. Most companies will, however, represent both buyer and seller.
If you’ve signed a contract with an agent, you will probably have to work through them if you want to pursue an offer — even if you come across the property on your own. Keep in mind, there may be a fee associated with that service.