Why should I pay a buyer’s agent 6% commission since I found a home on Zillow?

At the moment, buyers normally don’t pay commissions because the seller pays. Finding a house is just the first step in buying a home.

Now you need to:

  1. Arrange a showing
  2. Submit a legal contract offer that meets all federal and state requirements AND that has a fair price on it. So make sure you run your comps before writing the offer.
  3. Make sure your desired closing date is far enough out to allow time for all the things that must be done before closing. Same for the due diligence period.
  4. Make sure you get the signed offer back before it expires. Once it expires, neither the buyer nor the seller are bound to move forward.
  5. Did the Seller submit a counter offer? That’s got to be signed and returned to the Seller before the deadline.
  6. Open escrow
  7. Arrange for all necessary/desired inspections, review the inspections, negotiate for repairs with the seller. They’re not going to fix everything, so you need to know which items MUST be fixed and which you can do after you close. Code items MUST be fixed. But you’re up on all the local Code requirements so no problem, right?
  8. Escrow will send you the instructions for wiring your Earnest Money Deposit and then for sending the final payment. You’ll have to make sure your mortgage lender is working with them, as well.
  9. Oh crap, there’s a problem with the preliminary title report! There’s a notice that the 85-year old seller owes child support for a 10 year old in California! Hang on – the Seller will have to do an Addendum to extend escrow while they get this straightened out AND he explains to his wife why California thinks that’s his kid. (Don’t laugh – that actually happened to one of our elderly clients. Fortunately, his wife thought it was hilarious.)
  10. Don’t forget to be watching the timelines – many states have laws covering how long you have to get various things done.
  11. Did you get your HOA resale package? The Seller was supposed to order that within X days after accepting the offer (varies by state). You must be provided with ALL the HOA documents, including by-laws, financial reports, rules and regulations. I hope you remembered to split the fees for transferring membership with the seller.
  12. Have the repairs been done? Have you gotten verification of that?
  13. Did you get the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure? You should have gotten that between opening escrow and ordering the inspections
  14. OOps… your lender is dragging his feet, so you can’t meet the closing date in the original offer. Got your Addendum ready to extend escrow? Don’t forget that the Seller has to agree to the new date.
  15. Oh yay, you’ve gotten the lender problem cleared up and are ready to sign your closing documents. Make sure the escrow company sends them to you so you can read the five pages of Escrow Instructions BEFORE you in to sign. It’ll save a lot of time once you’re there.
  16. Don’t forget the final walk-through. That’s normally done up to three days before closing. That’s your last chance to stop the proceedings because something wasn’t done.
  17. Has the title company sent the package for recording? Is it done yet?

So… why should you not bother with an agent that you’re not personally paying anyway? Because otherwise you have to handle all the details and unexpected bumps in the road on your own.

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