What Is a Buyer Specialist?

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A buyer's specialist meeting with a couple outside of an open house.
A buyer's specialist meeting with a couple outside of an open house. (Image: Eyecandy Images/Eyecandy Images/Getty Images)

A buyer's specialist, or buyer's agent or buyer's representative, is a real estate agent specializing in representing buyers rather than listing and selling homes. A buyer's agent is also occasionally referred to as a "selling agent," though listing agents are also known as selling agents in certain circumstances. More experienced real estate agents typically sell properties, while newer agents might restrict themselves to representing buyers initially. Though a buyer's agent is sometimes newer, a special skill set is still needed to represent clients.

Buyer's Agents and Commissions

In most states, real estate agents work for brokers, with homeowners contracting with brokers and their agents to list and sell their properties for a commission. Though real estate commissions vary, 6 percent of a home's sale price is common. A buyer's agent or seller's agent usually earns one-half of the commission being paid by the home's seller. Real estate agents, however, receive their commission payments from their brokers, who split earned commissions with them on an agreed-upon percentage basis.

Buyer's Agent Duties

A buyer's agent or buyer's specialist normally interviews clients about their home needs, wants, family plans and other factors impacting their buying decisions. Most buyer agents counsel home buyers about market prices and how much home they can afford given their available fiscal resources. A buyer's agent must know local housing markets that will best serve their clients' needs. A good buyer's agent also keeps up with local home values as well as the properties up for sale at any given time.

Purchase Process Management

A buyer's specialist or a buyer's agent also guides his clients through the purchase offer submission process. Also known as earnest money agreements or purchase and sale agreements, purchase offers are complex, but frequently standardized, documents in most states. Variation is frequently allowed when crafting real estate purchase offers, though. Upon purchase offer acceptance by a home seller, the buyer's specialist then guides her clients through all contractual details as well as the purchase-to-sale-closing process itself.

Real Estate Broker Opportunities

Many real estate agents begin their careers by working exclusively as buyer's specialists or agents on behalf of clients and their supervising brokers. After a time, a buyer's specialist may branch out and begin working to attract home sellers, listing their properties and working to sell them. Eventually, some real estate agents go on to become licensed brokers, though it's not required. Successful real estate agents, in fact, often prefer to concentrate on assisting their clients, forgoing the opportunity to become brokers themselves.

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