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Using An Accredited Charleston Real Estate Buyer's Representative | Metro Homes

Debbie Wall- Smith  ABR ALHS, Broker, ABR, ALHS, Realtor

Buying a house is nothing like the real estate TV shows

Typically, buyers look at about 10 houses before making a decision—not three. More importantly, there are a myriad of issues that pop up along the way.

It would help to have someone you can trust to help navigate the process. An Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®) is your ace in the hole when buying a home.

An ABR® is not just a REALTOR® with a group of letters behind the name: An ABR® is a specialized practitioner who has demonstrated a commitment to working with buyers.

To become an ABR®, a REALTOR® must first show successful completion of five transactions representing the buyer. A REALTOR® also must complete a series of courses, including “Offers, Counter-Offers and Negotiations” and “Bringing the Transaction to a Successful Close.”

ABRs® are trained to work as hard for the buyer as the listing agent does for the seller. When every dollar of a purchase price counts, it pays to have someone trained to negotiate the price, terms and conditions to your advantage: Only a buyer’s agent can do that for you.

As a home buyer, you should be represented. A buyer’s agent, particularly an ABR®, forms a contractual relationship with a client; the same relationship that a seller has when they sign a listing agreement with their agent. Just as the listing agent can’t disclose her seller’s bottom line, an ABR® cannot disclose her client’s maximum.

That means an ABR® works to keep your information confidential and provides counseling that works to your advantage—not the seller’s. Unless you sign a buyer agency agreement, you are at the mercy of the seller.

While any agent can represent a buyer, not all buyer’s agents have the experience and dedication of an ABR®. There are many benefits to establishing a written relationship with your ABR®. With a signed buyer agency agreement, you become a client, therefore, you have certain rights:

  • An ABR® must tell you all they know about the seller.
  • An ABR® must keep your information confidential.
  • An ABR® must negotiate on your behalf.
  • An ABR® must attempt to solve problems to your advantage and satisfaction.
  • An ABR® must pay full attention to your needs and focus housing choices to your specifications.

If you are a general customer (someone who has no written agency relationship), your interests are subordinate to the sellers. In this circumstance, the seller comes first:

  • The agent can tell the seller all that they know about you, including how much you are pre-approved for, why you are moving and any other information that puts the seller in a stronger negotiating position.
  • The agent will keep all information they know about the seller confidential because the seller has a written agreement and the agent owes them a fiduciary responsibility.
  • The agent will only provide price information that supports the seller’s listing price.
  • The agent will negotiate on behalf of the seller.
  • The agent will attempt to solve problems to the agent’s satisfaction. Their job is to protect the seller.

Every state has different laws pertaining to agency relationships. It’s best to have a meeting with your agent to ask questions about your rights and your agent’s role in the buying process.

The best way to be certain your interests are represented is to sign a buyer agency agreement with a trained buyer’s rep: an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR®).