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  • Writer's pictureKira Witherwax

Every Member of Your Team Counts

Who do you work for? It's probably the question I get asked the least, but really should get asked the most. My experience has been that many buyers are unaware of how real estate professionals get paid and who they work for.


Real estate professionals are licensed by the state of New York and while we are associated with a broker, each real estate professional is an independent contractor. Meaning we are self-employed, and we only get paid when we sell something. Most (but not all) licensees (those licensed by the state of NY to sell real estate) in our area are REALTOR®s. This means we are members of the National Association of REALTOR®s (and the state and local associations).


This is the largest trade association in the US. The Multi-Listing Service (MLS) system was implemented by local REALTOR® associations across the United States to better serve the public by having a centralized system for all buyers to have equal access to available houses and all sellers have their property marketed to the largest pool of buyers.


Interviewing To Find The Best Fit


I highly recommend if you are thinking about purchasing a house, that you choose to work with one real estate professional instead of seeing multiple houses with multiple agents. If you choose to work with a buyer's agent, they owe you a fiduciary responsibility and confidentiality for life, amongst other things.


An agent that works for you gets to know your wants and needs during the process. They can represent you and walk you through the process. Finding the right fit isn't always easy, but you can do this by interviewing a few different agents and see who is the best fit for you. It is never a waste of time to ask an agent for a buyer consult and let them know you are interviewing a few people.


Most agents will have nothing but respect for this type of request. Why? Because this is the best way to know early into the process if the relationship between client and agent are a good fit. Certainly, if you already know who you want to work with that's great! I still recommend you ask for a buyer consult with them. It is a great opportunity for them to overview the process, answer any questions and learn about you and your individual situation.


Know Your Representation


Many buyers I meet don't realize that I can show them any houses that are for sale through the MLS. This is because brokers (and therefore their agents) that are REALTOR®s are members of the MLS and have agreed to cooperation. Meaning, allowing buyer's agents to show and sell their listings. Typically, the buyer's broker is paid for their services via the seller's broker. NYS stipulates that we only be paid by our own broker for real estate services. That is why clients (usually sellers) pay their broker and then the agents get a portion of that. This co-brokering, or sharing of compensation, allows for buyers to have representation without having to come up with money out of pocket to pay for it.


In the end, this is all just a very long way to say; be informed, ask questions when you don't know and actively choose who you hire to represent you. Having representation is important; buying a house is often the largest financial transaction a person is involved with in their life. Who is on your team matters.

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