In the state of Connecticut buyers are able to have their own agents in a home purchase. Buyers have all sorts of different perceptions of buyer agents and this law. At the end of the day, buyer agents are what you make them.
Some see buyer agents as an unnecessary obstacle to their purchase. The buyers just want to purchase a home and feel they can manage their deal themselves. These people often end up being represented by the listing agent in a dual agency situation. They’re paying the listing agent to “help” them, but are not interested in utilizing their services. So the agent actually is an obstacle in the eyes of the buyer – just as they suspected!
Some see buyer agents as interchangeable information sources. These buyers understand that buyers and sellers can have different agents, but don’t believe they add any value to the process. So the buyers have agents compete for their attention and business. Multiple agents send them listings, and the buyers expect the agents to be available at a moment’s notice to see a home. Once again, the buyer’s expectations are met, the agent actually becomes a dumb data source.
Some see buyer agents as valuable advisors throughout the process. These buyers establish a relationship with an agent they trust and work as a team to find and evaluate interesting homes. Assuming the buyer chose a capable and dedicated agent, then they will receive the high level of service that they’re expecting, and the agent actually is a trusted adviser.
The relationship between a buyer and their agent often reflects the buyer’s attitude when they begin their search – it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. Buyers who think poorly of real estate agents will have a bad experience, while buyers who value an agent’s expertise will have a good experience.
Another dimension to all of this is that different agents run their businesses differently, so buyers do need to look around to make sure their agent is a good fit. Some agents are just looking to convert showing request “leads” into quick sales – the ultimate salespeople. They’re not really interested in building relationships and participating in extended home searches since they can be time consuming. Others are looking to build relationships and partner with clients – the trusted advisers. They believe that spending the time to do an outstanding job for a buyer is personally rewarding and good for their business. Still other agents don’t really have a plan, but we don’t have any insight into their strategies or beliefs.
Buyers sometimes do have their opinions changed by especially good (or poor) service, but only if they are honestly evaluating the situation as it unfolds. In fact, there is nothing more rewarding than showing someone who has a low opinion of real estate agents that we do add value in the home purchase process. So for those out there who think the worst of realtors, we just ask that you keep an open mind – hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised!
PS – We consider ourselves advisers when working with buyers. We prefer to spend time understanding what they are looking for in a home, and then helping them through all the different stages of a purchase to make sure they have a good experience and a positive outcome.