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If you are in the market to buy a home in Barrington Illinois, this may be a question you need the answer too. Today we’ll look at everything a buyer’s agent can do for you, the decision then should be easy. YES! If you have any questions about what we can do for you as a buyer’s agent, please ask using our easy send form at the bottom of the page. If you are buying in an area outside of Barrington we may be able to help you. It depends on the location but we do serve many of the northwest suburbs, especially Barrington’s neighbors. This often happens for relocating buyers who are not sure which community they want to live, so their search includes multiple areas.
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Who Can Be a Buyer’s Agent?
Any licensed real estate broker in Illinois can be a buyer’s agent. Whether the license is broker or managing broker it does not matter. The licensees that cannot be a buyer’s agent are those that hold a leasing license only.
Buyers Agents are Just Door Openers!
If I had a penny for every time I have heard that I would be able to pay for a vacation. It does seem for some people that’s all we are seen as. I hope this article will put that concept to bed. If you read this and still see buyers agents as door opener’s, don’t call me!
Opening doors to let buyers view homes is part of what we do, yes, no argument. Because that mindset exists, buyers who consider that is all we do likely does not have a clue about all that we have to do, has never bought real estate or has no respect for the career we chose.
Sadly your prior experience may have given you the perception that buyer’s agents do nothing but open doors. In fact some models employ agents solely to do that. For this I am sorry it has been your experience, you were not best served.
Real Estate Agents are Business Owners
Every real estate agent, aka broker in Illinois, has to hang their real estate license at a brokerage. We all have an individual license, some of us have company licenses as well. That’s me, I have my license as the managing broker but my company also has a license. This does not matter to you, it’s my personal license that allows me to sell real estate in Barrington. My company is where I have that license, I am sponsored by our corporation.
I am in effect running two businesses. One is the company, because I am the owner. The other is my real estate sales. As a buyer’s agent or broker, I am running a business that has expenses and for which I am paid a commission for my sales. Therefore it’s up to me, how I run my real estate business, as long as I obey two things. First the law and second any brokerage mandated rules.
Buyers Agents Have Expenses
My expenses include annual membership to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It’s not cheap but it is what allows me as a buyers agent to view and sell other agents listings and be paid by them to do so. Without it I cannot open those doors. My other expenses include lockbox membership. Again without it, I cannot open the doors!
All my other expenses relate to marketing myself as a buyers agent to attract buyers who want to work with a buyer’s agent specialist and who are looking for one in the areas they wish to buy. This includes this website, writing the entire content myself, answering all the questions it brings and serving my new buyer clients. Part of my marketing includes writing articles to help buyers make great choices when it’s time to buy. It also includes getting visits to this website. That’s not easy because I choose not to pay for ads but to achieve searching engine positioning with Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. Digital marketing is a full time job on it’s own but a challenge I do enjoy.
We all think we are good at what we do, that’s human nature. So I invite you to read my testimonials.
What’s a Natural Point of Aim?
All of us are better at doing some things in life than others. There are things we prefer, things we are OK with and other things we hate. In life we tend to stay away from those we hate and gravitate to those we love. It can be how we select career paths and even change them. It’s unlikely we are the best at things we hate. As time goes by these love hate relationships become more defined. Luck is truly on the side of those that find the love from the start.
My eldest son is one of them. Since early teens he has loved tinkering with cars and motorbikes. He always wanted to own his own auto shop. And that is what he does. At age 27 he is now the owner of a shop that is building and servicing performance cars; he rebuilds the motors, adds performance extras and more auto stuff that I have no clue about. It’s his natural point of aim.
My natural point of aim is and always has been one thing in my real estate career. Buyers. I did not find it before in previous jobs, they were jobs I did, some I was pretty good at, like customer service manager in a life assurance company, and mortgage underwriter before that. Retail I was average at. Even though I chose real estate as the career to follow after my kids were able to drive and get themselves dinner etc.I did not know if I would like it, any part of it, or whether I would be good at it. It did not take long for me to find my true calling, buyer agency and all that it entails, which is a lot more than opening doors.
How To Hire a Good Buyers Agent
The emotions you’ll experience when buying a home are different than selling. Yes there’s still stress but it’s for different reasons. The first thing would be to make sure you hire an agent with experience, one that preferably has a high percentage of their business in the buying arena. An 80%/20% split is a good rule of thumb. Ask all REALTORS® you interview which side they prefer or do most of their business. You don’t really want a listing focused agent.
A Good Buyers Agent is Going to Ask Questions.
We are interviewing you, as much as you us. It’s also an indication that we know our stuff. We recommend you interview 2 or 3 agents. Characters play a huge part in a great relationship, no point working with us if we just don’t like each other. We like to think our website speaks volumes about us and may help you decide whether to pick up the phone and call. Here’s some you can ask us:
Real Estate Experience
- How long have you been a licensed real estate agent?
Did you know that once an agent gets their license they are simply let loose on buyers? How would that make you feel as you are buying usually the most expensive thing in your life? Experience in the real estate industry is important. The longer we’ve been selling the more experience we have chalked up. It’s not costing you anymore so why miss out on it?
- Is real estate your full-time career or a part-time job?
It’s critical your agent is available on your schedule not theirs. If your agent is doing another job how can they show you homes when you want to see them. How can they make phone calls to follow a transaction, or deal with wants and needs of all parties; if they are unreachable until the next day. Do they have sufficient experience if they sell a home every year or so?
- How many homes did you sell as a buyer’s agent last year?
Buyers agents have totally different functions to listing agents. Make sure we are working with buyers more than 50% of the time and that we close a reasonable number with buyers every year.
- On average, how many buyers are you actively working with?
The goal here is not to find an agent with one or no active clients nor one with far too many plus listings. You need to find a happy middle ground. This allows your agent to also have personal and family time. Without it, believe me the stress of the job will get to us and that is going to affect your home purchase.
It’s not a smart decision to seek out a buyers agent who only works with one buyer at a time. This likely means they don’t have much experience or history of successful sales. Because buyers take a lot longer today to choose homes, a good buyers agent can work with several at a time and still make each feel like they are the only client.
- What experience do you have in selling homes in my target areas?
Every community has real estate trends. A great buyer’s agent will know what’s happening in their service areas. This can be vital to your success when buying.
Every buyer’s agent should be able to direct you to their testimonials. Ours are found here on this website.
- Service Recommendations
Well connected buyer’s agents can help you find the right lender for your mortgage, has inspectors names for your home inspection, as well as attorneys you can call for contract review and closing. We know local builders, handymen, appraisers and have good working relationships with the listing agents, as buyers agents we often sell their listings.
What We May Ask You
- We’ll always ask you if you’ve been working with any other agents. It’s Ethical not to step on other agents clients. That said many buyers realize their agent is not servicing them well, does not seem to care, is not available or a whole host of other reasons that causes them to look for a top buyers agent.
- We’ll ask if your financial status is sufficient to buy what you are looking for. A great buyer’s agent can pre-qualify you and refer you to a great loan officer if you have not explored your finance options. This serves both agent and buyer well. No point wasting anyone’s time looking at homes you cannot or don’t want to pay for.
- We should ask you what you current housing situation is, what your timeframe is, what you hope to buy and what’s critical in your move.
- We’ll also explain the current market and how it affects your plans. Selling and buying homes together needs a steady and firm handle on the market currently, and the viability of doing both at the same time. There’s no point leading you down a garden path to nowhere.
Where Does Corinne Guest, REALTOR® Service Buyers?
A good buyers agent can never service an entire metro area like the Chicago suburbs. A good buyers agent knows the real estate in her community, but also everything about that community. Many buyers agents profess they can easily cover all areas but it depends what you, the buyer, wants or needs! Time and again, when we ask buyers what is the number one criteria in working with a real estate agents, it is “know their community”.
So when I set about building this website it seemed only logical to me to focus it on the community I live in, Barrington. Because I was not born and raised here my prior sponsoring broker told me not to bother! He said no-one will hire you, you are not born Barrington. That was the start point of leaving that brokerage and starting my own. Too negative for me!
Not all buyers have a ready to go agent, not all buyers are local, there’s plenty of business for all, although there are a lot! Perhaps there are too many but I have not found anyone else that focuses on being a buyers agent in Barrington, which works just fine for me!
Here are the areas I work in as my primary locations as your buyers agent:
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These are the Barrington Communities, each have their own village hall and community guidelines but each have the zip code 60010. Part of Inverness is part of Palatine Township and has a zip code of 60067. They have very similar homes to Barrington and buyers include Inverness in their home search, we are happy to oblige.
As a buyers agent we find property we love to sell. For me it’s the country suburban homes on 1 or more acres. Therefore I can also help as a buyers agent in the neighbor communities of:
- Hawthorn Woods
- Long Grove
Each of these also has similar homes on acreage. They are located in the zip codes of 60047 and 60084.
Do I ever go to other areas as a buyer’s agent? Yes. Each case is considered individually. For example I listed and sold a Dundee IL horse property as a sellers agent, we closed a tough sale in 2017. My clients were moving to St Charles or Geneva. They did not want to use any other agent, they wanted me as their buyers agent. Even though it’s over an hours drive each way in rush traffic, I said yes. Sometimes it comes down to the relationship already built, sometimes it’s just not too far and I love the type of property my buyer is looking for, often it’s relocation buyers who need more guidance on community selection. This may push us away from Barrington but my buyers want to stick with one REALTOR®.
Buyers like the continuity they get from working with a buyer’s agent, no matter how far we have to go to find their dream home.
Your Benefits For Hiring Us As Your Barrington Buyer’s Agent:
- A buyer’s agent is on your side. We have zero allegiance to the home seller.
- We can assist with your finance as needed, connecting you to the right loan company.
- Our daily emails inform you of listings that match your criteria.
- We’ll show you the properties you want to see. Provide opinions if asked for, relative to your circumstances.
- Point out positive and negative aspects of each property so you can make a fully informed purchase decision. Our goal is to find you a home and protect your financial investment.
- Provide detailed analyses of prices, so you never overpay.
- Plan an offer strategy, write and present your written offer and any negotiation changes.
- We keep your negotiating and financial position confidential.
- Help you reach a successful agreement.
- Attend your home inspection.
- Monitor your purchase from start to end.
- Make sure contingency dates are met or extended.
- Answer your questions.
- Accompany you in a pre-closing house check.
- Attend your closing with you.
- Our compensation is paid by the listing broker, our service is free to you.
- Provide reliable sources of lenders, inspectors, attorneys, insurance agents, and other professionals.
- Anything else we can do to help busy professionals who have little time.
Some of that may not sound very complex or hard but there are agents and there are agents. Some will do the barest minimum in terms of service and support. A true buyers agent explores everything deeply, understand the laws of agency better.
We’ll look at some of these points in more detail later.
Do buyers really understand agency law, they really need to. It’s our job as a buyers agent to explain what we do that is under the hat of agency law. To maintain our license we must learn it, abide by it, refresh it, year in year out. Agency is the one “rule” in real estate that seems to attract the most complaints from clients. So for a quick refresher here’s what we must do for buyers (as clients). These are the most important things but it’s not the full list.
- Perform to the terms of any agreement between buyer and agent, whether it’s in writing or not.
- Always promote the best interests of the client.
- Always promote your interest first, over our own.
- Disclose any material facts known about any property, even of the seller did not.
- Exercise reasonable skill and care, at all times in the real estate transaction.
- Obey your directions!
- Keep your information confidential, forever.
This is the law but agents that are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, and can therefore refer to themselves as REALTORS®, must also abide by our Code of Ethics, which takes this one step higher.
OK enough about law and legal stuff. Well one last thing……
Dual Agency – Hiring The Seller’s Agent as a Buyer’s Agent
Dual agency is the practice of a listing agent working for the seller of a property and also the buyer for that property. Simply put, one piece of real estate, one agent, two parties. This is legal in Illinois but not all states allow it. Some states have different terminology and real estate laws, so I am always talking about IL.
In our industry dual agency creates some quite heated exchanges. For me it’s a no no. Maybe it is because I understand the laws of agency a little better, maybe I am not desperate for money, i.e. double siding. Actually it is because my firm belief is I cannot represent both a seller and buyer in the same transaction to the best of all my abilities. So I don’t practice dual agency, never have and never will.
I refer back now to the first thing on the list above; a buyer’s agent is on your side with zero allegiance to the home seller.
In dual agency that is just not possible. A better way to think of dual agency is sitting on the fence. The most essential part of buying a home is making sure you do not overpay. In dual agency, you’ll not get any guidance at all from the seller’s agent. Your best option is to have a buyer’s agent working just for you, protecting you, 100% allegiance to you!
Do Buyer’s Agents Want Written Agreements?
This is a very personal thing. There are benefits to agents to have a contract, there are benefits to a buyer to have a contract. In some markets in America these are mandatory by state law. Here in Illinois they are not, only a notice of agency is required before starting work with buyers, which can have an agreement attached or not.
I chose not to make buyers sign agreements. It’s a personal choice. I prefer to have a great relationship with buyers built on good service, I trust my buyers and buyers agent relationship to grow, over time, out of mutual respect for each other.None of know how well we’ll work with any particular client until time and service passes. If a relationship is not working, it’s best for both parties to be able to agree to walk away.
So, no I don’t want a written buyer’s agent agreement.
Showing Homes & Offering Opinions
One of my responsibilities as your buyers agents is to try to make sure you do not get buyers remorse. Working in a small area gives me the knowledge about a lot of the real estate here, and what you need to know as a buyer. It is not in my written job as an agent but for me it’s a moral obligation to do right by you.
Showing Homes First
This is the part where I open those doors. But if that’s all I did you would leave me to wait on the doorstep. To show homes I must first set up our appointments, in accordance with the listing agents instructions. There may be time constraints, notice requirements, access alarms and more I need to know about. When we are going to look at more than one property I need to create a schedule around everyone’s needs. Then we can go and I can legally open those doors. We cannot just turn up and access when we feel like it.
Turn to Me For Opinions
Some buyers may not want opinions, most do. Why? Most buyers are walking into an area either stone cold or luke warm. For me it’s a known landscape. So I will offer opinions but I won’t if you tell me not to. I have to remember that I am not buying the property and what I like and dislike is going to be different to you. That said I will point out what I know is relevant to you and your family and situation. Re-sale is something I always offer opinions on. Even if you think you’ll be there forever, experience tells me, things happen, things change. You don’t want to be stuck with a lemon if it does.
Examples: sloping floors, windows that need replacing, holes in exterior of home, stained carpets, stained ceilings, old kitchens, old bathrooms, landscaping that’s going to need effort, time and or money, proximity to busy roads and railway lines, poor layouts. Some are clearly obvious but my observation and comments on those are simply reminders.
It’s up to you to decide what you do with my opinions. They are not meant to put you off buying any property, or to persuade you to do so. They are there to educate you so you make informed decisions.
I’ll always ask buyers to check school district boundaries because details on our MLS sheets are not, yes NOT, guaranteed as accurate.
A Good Buyer’s Agent Will Dive Deep On Pricing
All buyers want to be sure they do not overpay for a home. As your buyer’s agent I’ll be diving deep into pricing if necessary. Before any buyer makes an offer on real estate of any kind, they need to know what comparable sales have sold for. In Barrington that’s never as easy as picking three homes because we do not have cookie cutter type properties.The higher the price goes up the harder it can be to establish a good price to pay.
Experience in the market plus several years experience valuing property on behalf of the banks when we had a lot of foreclosures, certainly built my experience fast! If a property is overpriced I will tell you. Sometimes that means you won’t be able to buy that home right now, usually because the seller is still fixed on his number. Many buyers walk away from overpriced homes, it’s too much of an uphill battle to have to convince the seller and his agent that we think their asking price is too high. Buyers will move on to the correctly priced homes rather than try a lower offer and hope.
That’s not to say that every home is overpriced or that buyers should lowball every home. A well priced home will sell close to asking price, our market is usually around 95% of asking. Together we’ll find a range for each property of interest, find the low and the high and you make your offer based on things that are important to you. Sometimes even then we cannot get both seller and buyer to agree terms. What we don’t want is buyers losing homes over a few hundred dollars. Common sense must prevail, it’s not a fight!
An Offer Strategy
As your real estate agent I need to understand your financial situation so I can develop an offer strategy. Each strategy is different. We’ll work together on an offer that makes sure you do not overpay but also stay within your max budget for a property. Negotiation is more strategy than anything else. Have a plan, stick to it and be prepared to walk away when things on the other side appear to not make sense to you.
Just remember the goal here is not to be a winner, it’s to buy a house! If you walk away because you want to win the competition, you actually lost. What we are trying to do is achieve a meeting of the minds on your home purchase.
Always Available to You to Answer Questions
Once an offer is accepted, the attorney review and inspections completed, it’s often a time of sit and wait. This maybe while your lender to get the mortgage approved or just the time before closing. During this time buyers and their agents don’t have a need for a lot of contact. We are there in the wings in case anything crops up and we are watching contingency dates to make sure nothing gets missed.
You may suddenly think of a question, or maybe it’s just too quiet. Whatever the reason we are always available to answer your questions, no matter how insignificant they may seem, even if you’ve asked it before. Please reach out at any time to find answers.
Buyers Agents Need Good Websites
No buyer can find a good buyers agent magically. Research is needed and often these days that research is done online. If you need a buyers agent in Barrington, that’s likely exactly what you search for, verbatim. You don’t need to worry about using words such as exclusive or dedicated. The website you land on, and hopefully it’s this one, should be able to convince you that we are the best!
A good buyers agent website will also have all the MLS listed homes for you to search through. You should be able to sign up for buyer email alerts. It’s a place which must have buyers articles, a guide, examples and testimonials. All of this you can read anonymously. Unlike some websites that want your name and email before you can read or browse, we do not ask. Not ever. You can voluntarily fill out an MLS email alert account, or one of our forms for help, but it’s your choice, no pressure selling.
Community Focused Agents
Good buyer’s agents websites focused on one community will show buyers we are dedicated to our community and to our buyer clients. That’s what we do here in Barrington. And when we go home, we live in Barrington. That’s an important factor in my book. Any agent can say they sell Barrington homes, but if they live in Chicago, they likely have very little knowledge of the community, the villages let alone the subdivisions.
We should have a blog as well, for me they are combined here together with all the listings, so you only need to bookmark one place. The blog has market reports, buying home articles and a lot more about the communities of Barrington.
Who Pays a Buyer’s Agent
Typically, a property seller agrees to pay his brokerage a compensation amount, often a percentage, at closing. The sellers brokerage in conjunction with the seller, agrees a percentage or split, that will be paid to a buyers brokerage from those funds for introducing the buyer, you. Here’s a simple example.
Seller agrees to a commission rate of 5%. He also agrees that 2.5% of that will be paid out to the buyer’s brokerage. Note that what each agent gets paid is not determined by the seller but by each brokerage. At the sale closing two checks will be deducted from proceeds and drawn, one for each brokerage. Compensation of any kind does not get paid direct to agents-aka brokers-it gets paid to the brokerage companies. The buyer’s agent gets paid from their brokerage in accordance with a contract they have between themselves.
There are however some non typical cases. For example a buyers agent may have a written agreement, or contract, with their client about how much compensation they expect to receive. Let’s use the same example except the buyer’s agent has a contract with buyer to be paid 3%, not 2.5%. That shortfall of a half percent must be paid by the buyers. The money still goes to the company, not direct to the buyer’s agent.
All contract agreements with agents and sellers or buyers are not with the agent themselves, they are with the company, who designates the agent via name to service you. That’s the law here in IL and that’s why payment goes to the company.
For Sale By Owner Homes Are Not Off Bounds to a True Buyer’s Agent
Homes that are for sale by owner are not hiring an agent to help them. They can be found on many websites looked at by buyers and somewhere in the text it will say for sale by owner. Many agents will simple not show these to their clients. A true buyer’s agent will, absolutely. A buyers agent must approach the seller but also their buyer to find out who will pay their compensation.
A buyer’s agent usually approaches the seller first and asks if they will pay their compensation at closing. We do this before introducing the buyer to the property. More than 90% of the time, the seller agrees and there’s a quick form for me to ask them to sign which gets that agreement in writing.
When a For Sale By Owner seller will not pay, a buyer’s agent can turn to the buyers contract and explain they will be paying, assuming they have one. If not it’s time to ask the buyer to agree to pay, even if it’s just for this one property. Should the buyer says no, our relationship ends.
In reality a buyer will pay and simply reduces their offer to allow for a buyers agent’s compensation. Property pricing is based on the assumption that there is a commission to be paid. If no commission gets paid at all, typically that property will sell for less.
Do Buyer’s Agents Give Rebates?
First let’s talk about legality. In the state of Illinois, rebates on real estate transaction that pay commission are legal. In other states they are not.
If you choose your agent on the basis of getting money back after closing, simply put, you do not value the service you are being provided by a specialist. I’ve never asked any of my clients to part with their salary, so why should you do the same?
We have mortgages to pay as well, mouths to feed; don’t forget the number you see is not what your agent gets, it’s what the brokerage gets. When your buyers agent gets their check it’s for less, then they have to pay all their income taxes, then marketing fees, MLS fees, gas, clothes, car loans and so on.
A final thought, if you ask your buyers agent for a rebate and they give in right off the bat, how well are they going to fight for you and how much will a reduced income effect that when other clients did not.
I certainly do not rebate part of my commission. I am a Professional operating a business not a charity shop.