Agents vs. FSBOs

A real estate agent is bound by certain obligations, putting the client’s interest above anyone else’s, keeping the client’s information confidential, obeying the client’s instructions, reporting to the client anything that might be useful and accounting to the client for any money involved.

Realtors also can help walk a buyer through the process, answer questions along the way and generally provide a security blanket during a challenging time.

However, because they are professionals, real-estate agents charge for their services. Their fees can vary widely depending on a number of factors, so be sure to ask about a Realtor’s fees up front to avoid any misunderstandings later.

Buyer’s agents:
The buyer’s agent is just as it sounds, a person hired to protect the buyer’s interests. The agent will negotiate on behalf of the buyer, protect the buyer’s confidentiality and relate all information to the buyer. Likewise, a seller’s agent provides the same services to his or her client. There also are intermediary agents who work on behalf of both the buyer and seller and seek to find the best possible deal for everyone involved.

Buyer’s agents also charge for their services. Always remember who works for whom. A seller’s agent is duty-bound to pass all information along to the client, so it is wise to not discuss confidential information with the seller’s agent.

Those who list homes on their own have chosen to avoid fees associated with hiring a real estate agent or buyer’s agent. The downside is they will need to handle the work that would have been done by a third party.

Because those fees won’t be incurred, FSBO homes sometimes might be perceived to be more seller-friendly and often move quicker in the marketplace.

Important points:
Realtors are professionals who are honor-bound to work in their client’s best interest for the best possible deal.

Realtors charge fees, a percentage of the selling price, for their services.
The percentage charged can vary from Realtor to Realtor and real estate firm to firm.

Buyer’s agents (and seller’s agents) work strictly on behalf of their client.
For Sale by Owner homes might be more seller-friendly because the final price won’t include fees charged by a third party hired to help with the sale.

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