Boston North Shore Exclusive Buyer Agent vs. a Buyer Agent

It is more than semantics that differentiates a Boston North Shore exclusive buyer agent from any other kind of North Shore buyer agent.  When home buyers know the difference they almost always, without exception, choose to work with an agent who could and would be loyal only to them and never change their relationship with them. The only form of agency that meets those criteria is exclusive buyer representation.

Boston North Shore Real Estate is not just a Buyer’s Agent (like some real estate firms are), we are EXCLUSIVE Buyer’s Agents. There is a difference.

The Problem of Dual Agency
Agents who call themselves Buyer’s Agents but who work in a company that takes listings and represents sellers are put in an awkward position when a buyer shows interest in one of the company’s listings. In this case, under common law, the Buyer’s Agent could no longer TRULY represent the buyer without posing a conflict of interest.

The result is that the Buyer’s Agent will need to either change his or her relationship with the buyer or refer the buyer to an agent with another company. The only situation under this approach where an agent can genuinely represent the buyer’s interest fully is when they are considering a property that no agents of their company had yet entered or when dealing directly with a For Sale by Owner. And that doesn’t happen very often. Presented with this dilemma, a company must either claim to serve both seller and buyer or lose half the commission.

The Different Kinds of Buyer Agents

Boston North Shore Exclusive Buyer Agent ServicesTo preserve the double commission, more and more real estate companies decided that dual agency was worth the risk. The law allowed it, but only with full disclosure and written informed consent.

Disclosed Dual Agents
Some companies choose to work under a rule called Disclosed Dual Agency. Disclosed Dual Agents are supposedly able to represent both parties best interests but aren’t allowed to counsel or advise either buyer or seller if it might affect the other. In other words, dual agents are not allowed to negotiate for either side, but they do know all of the financial information and motives of both sides. Although this method of working does offer more protection to a buyer than the old approach of working only for sellers and leaving the buyers to fend for themselves, it is definitely not an arrangement with which we at Boston North Shore Real Estate are comfortable.

Designated Buyer Agents
The real estate industry was concerned about the liability of Disclosed Dual Agency which was especially troublesome in larger offices.  Even the name dual agency made them shudder. They lobbied for a new approach for in-house transactions whereby the individual agent would represent the buyer (as a Designated Buyer’s Agent) while the broker would admit to being a Dual Agent because the company was also representing the seller. Of course the more a buyer pays for the property the better it is for the company and agent financially, which is an inherent conflict. If the Designated Buyer Agent represents the buyer in the purchase of another company’s listing that conflict is reduced but not removed. Most North Shore Buyer Agents are Designated Buyer Agents. 

As one of the few exclusive buyer’s representatives in the area, we have no allegiance to any sellers, and never become the sub-agent to any listing broker. We feel any potential  Dual Agency approach is unsatisfactory when you’re buying the biggest investment of your life.  It is an inherent conflict when the same company represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction.

Single Agents
An office practicing single agency can take listings and represent buyers but never both in the same transaction. This is a much cleaner approach in that the agent never tries to represent both sides of the transaction, but it is troublesome in that the buyer must be referred out of the office if they are interested in one of the company’s listings.

Most buyers feel an attachment to their buyer’s agent at that point and don’t want to have to give up their agent. The likelihood of buyer satisfaction, however, is much greater in a single agency office than a seller’s office or a dual agency office.

Exclusive Buyer’s Agent
We find that consumers sometimes have difficulty differentiating between true single agency and dual agency. Which is why we are an Exclusive Buyer Agency which is a branch of Single Agency. While a single agent works for either buyer or seller but never both, an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent works always and only for buyers.

 No agent working with Boston North Shore Real Estate takes any listings. That way there can be no conflict of interest.

How a Boston North Shore Exclusive Buyer Agent Works

Boston North Shore Exclusive Buyer Agent Services

  • Why should home buyers take a chance at getting the short end of the stick?
  • Why should they spend time developing a relationship with an agent who may need or want to change that relationship?
  • Why should they pay an agent for services not rendered?
  • Why should they enter a relationship with an agent that limits the number of homes they can choose from?
  • Why should they choose an agency relationship that will take away any liability on the part of their agent?

They shouldn’t ! !

The best protection for the home buyer is Exclusive Buyer Agency. It avoids the above problems and eliminates the inherent conflict of interest. An exclusive buyer’s agent will:

  • Always remain loyal to the buyer and the buyer’s best interests.
  • Never accept listings
  • Determine a property’s true market value and inform the buyer of a home’s weaknesses and strengths, allowing the buyer to make an informed purchase decision.
  • Negotiate to get the lowest price and best terms for buyers.
  • Keep all buyer information, financial status and negotiating strategies confidential.
  •  Show all homes that fit the buyer’s needs.  This includes homes from the Multiple Listing Service, For Sale by Owner, Bank Owned, and homes not on the market.
  • Investigate the neighborhood, the seller’s motives and additional pertinent information to assist the buyer in negotiations.

Why Don’t Home Buyers Know About These Issues?
We have had this conversation with a good number of consumers, and one of the answers is that  there are not yet enough people telling the story.  Buyers who have been properly represented are thrilled with the process and can’t stop talking about it. But sadly for now, there are too few exclusive buyer agents out there to significantly impact the industry.

Boston North Shore Real Estate hopes the day is coming when there will be exclusive seller companies and exclusive buyer companies. Some additionally interesting things are happening within the industry to hasten it. Some companies, out of loyalty to their seller clients, have already eliminated subagency as an option for their office. Once a seller understands the liability issues of subagency they are eager to avoid it.

As buyers become more aware they will demand full fiduciary services as well. It is surprising the number of buyers who call our office and ask if we take listings. It is obvious they see the conflict.

Why Do Buyers Still Use a Seller’s Agents to Assist Them?
For some it hinges on  having a friend or relative who is in real estate. The danger with this is that the agent’s loyalty may be illegally misplaced with the buyer. In this case the seller gets the short end of the stick, and the buyer is vulnerable to the possibility of the seller discovering it. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. And while consumer education in agency is on the upswing,  many consumers fear that buyer agency will be costly for them. The truth is that it should cost no more and usually costs less than using a traditional seller’s agent. The buyer agent’s compensation usually comes from the transaction the same as any cooperating broker fee. Most listing companies have already agreed through Multiple Listing Services that they will grant the same compensation to Exclusive Buyer Agents as they would any other cooperating agent. Add to that the likelihood that having an agent negotiating on the buyer’s behalf will enable the buyer to do better than they would have done with an agent representing the other side.

Save Money Using a Boston North Shore Exclusive Buyer Agent

A 1992 US SPRINT survey concluded that its relocating employees who worked with an exclusive buyer broker saved an average of 9% off the asking price of their homes. While this survey offers no guarantees for the represented home buyer, it certainly tips the scales on the buyer’s behalf. We all know that a home will only sell for what a ready, willing and able buyer will pay without being under duress. Obviously both seller and buyer have to agree on the final purchase price. A well represented buyer will know what that price should be.

The Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents (MABA) is a single agency organization made up of Exclusive Buyer Agents and single agents. However, MABA offers support, assistance and education to all real estate agents who want to provide client level services to buyers. This includes Designated Agents, Disclosed Dual Agents, Single Agents and Exclusive Buyer Agents.

Boston North Shore Real Estate genuinely wishes them all well because any buyer agency relationship provides so much more for the buyer than was available in the past. At the same time our bias is clear. We like working one side of the street.

If you’d like more information about Boston North Shore exclusive buyer agent services, contact our office here or give us a call at 1-978-219-4928.