COGnitions

3 June
2024
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Should I still use a Buyer’s Agent for my Home Search in 2024? | By Rachel Bakish

The decades-old model for real estate has been evolving the past 10 years. The realtors who represent buyers and sellers (or both) in various transactions have had to continue to become more savvy to keep up with the market. 

For buyers, the services were always a little unpredictable. Some clients take years to find a property, while others take only a few weeks. As technology has rapidly evolved it has made information more accessible online, giving homebuyers access to listings at earlier stages of the buying process and empowering them to conduct their own searches and analyses. However, using an agent to navigate this process was still always seen as a critical step to buying a home.

Now, in the wake of the recent NAR ( National Association of Realtors) lawsuit settlement, the public presents a perception shift in this need for buyer representation. The lawsuit brought attention to the transparency and fairness of real estate commissions and practices, leading to increased scrutiny of the traditional agent-client relationship.

The settlement has prompted a push for greater transparency in real estate transactions, including clear disclosure of agent commissions and their roles – particularly on the buy-side. Buyers are now more aware of how agents are compensated and may question whether the services provided justify the costs. This is giving rise to alternative real estate models, such as flat-fee services, discount brokerages, and DIY platforms. These approaches promise buyers cost savings and streamlined processes, challenging the traditional buyer-agent model.

In many cases, however, these “cost savings” that buyers might believe they can negotiate are, at best, exaggerated. Skilled agents can often negotiate better terms and prices, leveraging their market knowledge, experience and, most importantly, relationships!. Not to mention, by working intimately in their markets day in and day out agents may know if a particular listing has been on the market before and not worth face-value. Or if there is a comparable “pocket listing” that is not yet available online and might be a better fit for you. 

Every year we see many transactions that “don’t make sense.” Like any market, the real estate market is not “perfect.” On occasion, buyers pay much more than we believe they should for property. At other times, sellers end up taking much less than we think they deserve. There are a variety of reasons for this but as avid market observers, this empirical evidence can be quite beneficial to our clients who likely don’t follow the markets as closely as we do.

When embarking on the journey to find your dream home, especially in a competitive market like Boston, having the right buyer’s agent on your side can make all the difference. This is where we live, work and play. Get to know our agents and learn what value a COG Buyer’s Agent will add to Your Home Search