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Why Home Buyers Should Work With an Agent

Many times in my career, I’ve worked with home buyers to help them find and buy a home.  Occasionally, a buyer that I’ve spent many hours working with finds themselves browsing an open-house and somehow ends up signing a purchase contract with the open-house listing agent.  While this is a great thing for that listing agent, it does not fully serve to benefit the buyer.  Under all circumstances, I recommend that home-buyers work exclusively with a buyer’s agent, and stick with them.  There are a number of important reasons why you should follow this practice, which I’ll go into detail here (with few to none of them intended to protect the potential earnings of that buyer’s agent).  

How Real Estate Commission Works

Many home buyers do not fully understand an important piece of the puzzle in the “for sale” listing contract for the home.  In order to understand why it’s important to stick with your buyers’ agent, let me lay a little groundwork.    

When a home is listed for sale, the seller of the home signs a listing contract with the “listing agent”.  The listing agent becomes the representative (agent) for the seller.  In the listing contract, a very important provision to understand is that there is a commission amount, pre-designated for the listing agent AND for the yet-unknown buyer’s agent.  So, for example… many homes are listed for sale with a 6% commission, where some homes are listed for less.  This means that six percent of the sales price is set aside as commission for the REALTOR(s).  Normally, the six percent commission is pre-arranged to be divided in half, with three percent being reserved for the seller’s agent and three percent being reserved for the buyer’s agent.  

Since nearly all homes listed for sale have a pre-arranged commission agreement set up for a buyer’s agent, this means to you, working with a buyer’s agent is essentially free.  Buyers do not pay the buyer’s agent, the home seller does.  So it doesn’t cost you anything to have your own personal buyer’s agent.  

Having an Agent to Represent ONLY YOU

real estate buyers agentsThe importance of having your own buyer’s agent is very simple.  The buyer’s agent represents you.  They are charged with protecting your interests first.  This is referred to in real estate and law as a “Fiduciary Responsibility”.  Your REALTOR has to make sure that everything that happens in the sales transaction is to your advantage, as much as possible.  The listing agent is also charged with protecting the seller’s interests, so when you come along and buy the home through the listing agent, by default, that listing agent MUST assume the duty of representing you, the buyer, too.  How does this complicate things?

Real Estate Can Be Litigious

real estate The example I’ve given to my clients over the years is to assume you’re being sued in court.  When you get to court and find yourself sitting there at the defendant’s table without your own lawyer, you are self-represented.  You are allowed to represent yourself in court, but not in real estate.  In real estate, if one party has representation, both parties must have representation.  So, back to my courtroom example, instead of getting your own personal attorney, what if the attorney for the plaintiff offers to represent you too?  Does that seem like a good idea?  Why would anyone being sued in court allow the plaintiff’s attorney also represent them as a defendant?  They probably would not.  So why would you let the buyer’s agent represent you when it comes time to buy a home?

The Duties of a REALTOR

realtorsMost home buyers don’t really understand all the duties and responsibilities that REALTORS have in a sales transaction.  The seller’s agent is trying to get the best deal possible for the seller.  If that REALTOR is working hard to get the best deal for the seller, how practical do you think it is that he or she will also work just as hard to make sure you get the best deal too?  Seems contradictory, right?  Well, it is.  

Buyers and sellers of real estate have different interests.  They have different objectives and goals.  They have issues that have to be negotiated to achieve common ground between both sides.  Each side needs to have their own independent representation.  The buyer’s REALTOR and the seller’s REALTOR are both trying to close the deal, but they have different clients’ needs to satisfy.  To make a political reference, this is why you don’t have Democrats who are also Republicans (or vice versa) at the same time.  It just doesn’t make sense.  To be effective for their client, REALTORs need to be on one side of the fence or the other, not both at the same time.   

Get Yourself An Agent…Its FREE 

So, in conclusion, please be sure to remember these important points.  The buyer’s agent is paid by the home seller, so there is no cost to you.  If you buy a home directly through the listing agent, you’re not going to get a discount due to having only one REALTOR because the listing agent will be obligated to represent you too… and he/she will earn both sides of the pre-arranged commission (called “double-ending” in the trade).  So, if there’s already a commission set aside for you to have your own equal, but separate, representation, my advice is to take it.  For more information about buyer’s agency, consult your local trusted REALTOR .   

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Local SEO

local seo

Local SEO

Google mobile searchLocal SEO is important for any new or existing commercial entity. Whether via client testimonials or reviews, you are able to establish a strong local presence at the grassroots level. Local SEO is designed to help with bricks and mortar style businesses which take walk-in customers.  Upon searching a term such as “Best Burrito” you will get a variety of local restaurants.  The results will usually contain a button to call the restaurant, a button to launch the navigation within your phone to get to the restaurant and any reviews that may be on Yelp or other business directory websites.  Local SEO differs from traditional Search Engine Optimization that just focuses on local businesses. For instance, if you were to Google New Orleans SEO the result for that would simply be the websites that Google feels give the best results.  The results found under that search wont have implicit directions (may not have a storefront), the wont show on the Local SEO map result either.   No matter the industry or niche, an SEO company can help enhance any geo-specific SEO or online marketing campaign. This is done via strategic plans, including content creation, blogging, social media integration, and especially mobile readiness. With Google’s recent updates and changes to algorithms, all sites must now be optimized for mobile viewing and have some type of local presence.

Citations

In many instances, Local SEO is driven by what is called “citations”.  Citations are reviews that are derived from websites that specialize in providing local reviews.  One very popular example would be Yelp.  That being said, if you have many great reviews on Yelp, it will substantially help your Local SEO.  In addition to the directory websites, Citations from a Google+ account are extremely powerful too.  Google now has a program called Google My Business which will help you rank for Local SEO.  Upon signing up for an account, you will be mailed a postcard to insure you are the true proprietor of the storefront location you are claiming.  Claiming your Google My Business account should be the very first thing you do to start establishing a Local SEO presence.  Then you should focus on creating the citations on sites such as Yelp and Yellow Pages.

SEO Services

Local SEO services are designed to help clients establish brand recognition as well as drive direct traffic to their front door. This helps them remain competitively viable in their respective industry, while targeting niche, mass, or core audiences with relevant products and services. Geo-specific campaigns can also include traditional marketing techniques, including mailing lists and direct mail pieces. As the world’s largest and most popular search engine, Google has also become a central hub for SEO tools and services. No truer is this then when it comes to strategic keywords, promotional videos, business ads, and other vital SEO services. As part of Google’s recent changes, sites with high-quality content will be rewarded with higher visibility and page rankings. As a result, your site must be optimized for SEO, mobile readiness, and have a strong local and social media presence.

Non-Geo Specific SEO

Non-geo specific SEO services are also designed to foster brand growth and expansion. Unlike geo-specific campaigns, however, these ventures are targeted at mass audiences. In fact, they are essential in securing higher visibility on a national and international basis – whereas geo-specific SEO targets local and regional audiences. No matter which type of SEO you need, area companies will truly meet your needs within time and budget. With years of extensive industry experience, local SEO firms have the tools and expertise to achieve your desired results. This includes higher rankings on Google, along with site development, content creation, social media posts, blogging, and profiles. One phone call or e-mail is all you need to secure a complimentary consultation. This will allow them to put your ideas into fruition and propel your brand to new heights.