Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an Exclusive Buyer Agent and someone who is a “buyer agent” at a traditional real estate company or within a real estate “team”?

Exclusive Buyer Agents will never try to persuade you to buy a property. Our job is to protect the home buyer’s interest. That means we assist clients by our property research and evaluation of a property AS IF WE WERE THE BUYER. That is far different than “selling” real estate. We work as consultants and advocates of our client, the buyer. Traditional agents and “teams” within a real estate company both list properties and “represent” client buyers. There is an inherent conflict of interest in agents or “teams” representing both sellers and buyers in the same transaction. We eliminate that conflict of interest by never representing sellers of properties.

What are examples of how an Exclusive Buyer Agent can save me money and/or protect my interest?

First, we do not practice INTERMEDIARY agency which allows an agent or real estate “team” to get paid on both the buyer and seller side of a transaction. Unlike agents in an INTERMEDIARY agency relationship we can:

  • Advise our clients if a seller is willing to accept a lower price for their property
  • Provide our clients any information we discover legally about the motivation of the seller such as relocation, their purchase of another property, or financial difficulties.
  • Advise our clients about any facts about the property that we discover which might discourage our buyer client from purchasing.
How do I know if an agent that I am interviewing to represent me, will truly represent me with 100% loyalty as a client?

First make sure that neither the agent nor their “team” or company lists property. Remember that Exclusive buyer agents who are 100% committed to the best interests of clients DO NOT list property in order to avoid conflicts of interest. Don’t accept the statement that …” it has never been a problem.” We have prepared questions that WE would ask if we were consumers interviewing agents claiming to be buyer agents. Ask us for that set of questions to review before interviewing agents.

Are you licensed like other traditional agents?

Yes. We are members of the Houston Association of Realtors, the Texas Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. In addition, we have chosen to be members of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents who are agents committed to representing only ONE party in a real estate transaction: the buyer.

How do we get paid?

For properties listed through the Houston Association of Realtors (which is probably 99+ percent of transactions) the commission paid to the buyer’s agent is built into the sales price. The buyer, therefore, is ultimately paying for the commission to the seller’s agent and to the buyer’s agent because that cost to the seller is built into the price of the house.

Why would an Exclusive Buyer Agent work for a better price for the buyer if the agent is working on commission?

If we can negotiate to reduce the cost of a purchase for you by $1,000 on a $200,000 transaction it reduces our commission approximately $30. Let’s say that we were able to negotiate a price reduction of $10,000 on that same property. We benefit much more by receiving future referrals from clients than our commission being reduced $30 to $300 in a transaction. As a result, our business focus is on doing the best possible job for our clients in order to get future referrals rather than being focused on making a few extra dollars on a transaction.

Should we be pre-approved for financing before looking inside homes?

Yes. That’s the best way to avoid what otherwise might be a major disappointment. More important, we may be able to negotiate the best price and terms as though you were "cash" buyers. We also recommend being pre-approved for another reason. The process of applying for a mortgage loan can be an excellent counseling value. Most buyers qualify for a much higher mortgage than they want or need. Knowing your comfort zone for financing PLUS the other costs of home ownership including taxes, and insurance is important before making an offer on a property. A good mortgage counselor can help you determine what price range to be considering in order avoiding buying too much house.

Can an Exclusive Buyer Agent save us money?

"If you have ever doubted the value of real estate agents who work solely for home buyers (as opposed to traditional agents who report to sellers), consider this: a recent study by U.S. Sprint found that 233 relocating Sprint employees who hired buyer brokers paid on average of 91% of a home’s list price. People who use traditional agents typically pay about 96%. On a house priced at $150,000, that’s a difference of $7,500." Money Magazine.

Can you represent me in the purchase of a new-construction house?

Yes. In order for a real estate agent to represent you with a new-construction purchase, the buyers and the real estate agent must show up together at the first meeting with the builder’s sales representative at a model home. There will be a “registration” form which tells the builder that this particular customer is represented by a real estate agent. Without that registration at the first meeting it may be difficult for the real estate agent to be involved in the transaction. Some builders pay their sales representatives more commission when a real estate agent is NOT involved in a new-home purchase.

Will you represent me in the purchase of a FSBO property?

Yes. The procedure is more complicated than for a property listed through the Houston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service so we have a FSBO policy that we can provide.