A real estate agent holding an iPad standing in front of a house possibly advertising it for sale.

What Does A Buyer’s Agent Do?

Mar 25, 2024



From house hunting to closing, the home buying process may not always be entirely straightforward. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or looking to find your forever home, a buyer’s agent to help you navigate the ins and outs of buying a home can help.

Let’s take a closer look at what a buyer’s agent is, what they do and how to decide if you should work with one.

What Is A Buyer’s Agent?

A buyer’s agent is a licensed real estate professional who represents the buyer during the home buying process. A real estate agent or REALTOR® can be either the buyer’s agent (sometimes known as the buying agent) or the listing agent depending on the transaction.

Keep in mind that real estate agents can represent more than one client at the same time. So you may encounter a buyer’s agent who’s also representing a seller as their listing agent. This could take place at the same time they’re working with you.

Buyer’s agents are legally obligated to protect their client's best interests. They should exhaust every effort to find homes for you to view, submit offers to listing agents and negotiate the most favorable purchase contracts.

Exclusive Vs. Dual Representation

When it comes to real estate transactions, there’s a big difference between having an exclusive agent versus dual representation. With an exclusive agency, your real estate agent works only for you in the real estate transaction. Their one job is to look out for your best interests.

Dual agency, or dual representation, is when a single real estate agent works for both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. Though not unheard of, dual agency is more unusual.

Some people worry that dual representation can potentially lead to a conflict of interest. This is because the agent must work to balance the needs of both the buyer and the seller at the same time. Due to possible issues with conflict of interest, dual agency is actually illegal in some states.

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How Is A Buyer’s Agent Different From A Listing Agent?

A buyer’s agent differs from a listing agent in significant ways. While both are real estate professionals who are heavily involved in completing real estate transactions, a buyer’s agent represents the buyer and their best interests while the listing agent represents the seller and their best interests.

A listing agent works for the seller to minimize contingencies and maximize profit from the sale. While the buyer’s agent negotiates the best deal on the home and ensures that the contract contains protections for the buyer.

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How Can A Buyer’s Agent Help In The Home Buying Process?

When you enlist the help of a buyer’s agent, you can expect them to assist with several aspects of the home buying process. Next up are several items that should be on your buyer’s agent’s to-do list.

Find Properties To View

Your buyer’s agent can help direct you to properties that may be a good fit for your needs. They’ll ask you questions to get a good sense of what you’re looking for then help ensure you don’t miss any properties that may be a good match. Your real estate agent can also give you access to the MLS database, which contains all the homes for sale in a given area.

Schedule Viewings

Once you find homes you’d like to see, your buyer’s agent can schedule viewings with different listing agents. They’ll also inform you of any open houses that may be worth attending.

Submit Offers

When you find a property you want to purchase, your buyer’s agent can help by writing and submitting offers on your behalf. This step in the home buying process involves a lot of paperwork and legal jargon, so having an experienced professional on your side can be a big asset.

Negotiate With The Listing Agent

Often an offer from a buyer is met with a counteroffer from the seller. In this case, your buyer’s agent can negotiate the sales price and any contingencies or other terms in the contract. You should be able to count on your buyer’s agent to have your best interest in mind and give you their honest advice and opinions on your offer and any counteroffers you receive.

Manage Your Paperwork

Buying a home means keeping track of a lot of important documents. Your buyer’s agent should stay on top of your paperwork so nothing important gets overlooked. This paperwork can include your:

Make Recommendations For Other Real Estate Professionals

Before you can close on your new home, you’ll need to hire other real estate professionals. Your agent can put you in touch with people in their network including home inspectors, real estate attorneys and movers. If your buyer’s agent is experienced, they should be able to recommend professionals they know to be reputable so you can be sure you're working with people you can trust.

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How Does A Buyer’s Agents Get Paid?

The buyer agent’s fee, or commission, is typically paid by the seller out of the proceeds from the home sale. This benefits home buyers because they’re able to work with a buyer’s agent without being responsible for their commission.

Unless the sales contract states otherwise, sellers typically pay 6% of their home’s sales price toward agent commissions, which are divided among the buyer’s agent, the listing agent and the brokerage that each is representing.

Pros And Cons Of Working With A Buyer’s Agent

Before you decide whether to work with a buyer’s agent, it’s important to understand the advantages and potential disadvantages.


Let’s take a look at some of the potential pros of working with a buyer's agent.

  • They represent your best interests. A buyer’s agent should have your best interests at heart through every step of your home purchase process. They work on your behalf to get you the best deal on your home and educate you on every aspect of purchasing a home so you can make fully informed decisions.

  • They are real estate experts. Buying a house might seem a little overwhelming, especially as a first-time home buyer. Having a real estate expert on your side to answer your questions can lower any stress you as the buyer might feel.

  • They can help to spot potential issues. A good buyer’s agent will raise any red flags they spot during the home buying Agents are there to help with everything from troubling language in a seller’s counteroffer or an issue cited in the home inspection report.


  • You could be locked into a buyer’s agency agreement. Some buyer’s agents will require you to sign a buyer’s agency agreement before working with you. This agreement is intended to ensure you work exclusively with one agent. This is because buyer’s agents don’t earn their commission until the real estate transaction is completed.

  • You may have trouble finding the right agent. Before you begin working with a buyer’s agent, it’s a good idea to be sure they fit your needs and personality. It can be discouraging if you have trouble finding an agent you can trust to guide you through the process.

How To Find A Buyer’s Agent

Now that you know what a buyer’s agent is and how they can help you, how do you find one? Here are some tips on finding a real estate agent in your area.

Ask For Referrals

Word of mouth can be especially helpful during your search for a buyer’s agent. Ask friends and family members who they used in the past to help narrow your search. Personal referrals can give you a better chance of finding an agent who meets your needs.

Search Online

A simple online search can turn up countless buyer’s agents in your area. To be sure your online search only generates reputable results. You may want to consider using a verified service, like those available with Rocket HomesSM. If you find your agent online make sure to ask for references and follow up to hear about real home buyers’ experiences working with your potential REALTOR®.

Questions To Ask When Searching For A Buyer’s Agent

Once you find a potential buyer’s agent, you should do your due diligence to ensure they’ll be a good fit for your needs. Consider asking the buyer’s agent some of these questions to evaluate their experience and expertise:

  • How long have you been a real estate agent?
  • What’s your schedule and availability?
  • How many clients are you currently working with?
  • Do you have any areas you specialize in?
  • How well do you know the neighborhood I’m looking to buy in?
  • What’s your list-to-sales price ratio?

These questions are a great starting point. The agent’s work might speak for itself and asking these questions will help you evaluate how well you communicate with a potential agent.

FAQs About Buyer’s Agents

Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about buyer’s agents.

Can I stop working with my buyer’s agent?

If you determine that your buyer’s real estate agent isn’t meeting your needs, you may be able to end your professional relationship with them in favor of another agent. However, before you do, make sure you aren’t not violating the terms of any buyer’s agency agreement you’ve signed.

What is a buyer’s agent fee?

A buyer’s agent fee is the commission a buyer’s agent makes when they help someone purchase a home. This compensation is typically split between the buyer’s agent and their real estate broker.

Can a seller refuse to pay a buyer’s agent?

When you buy or sell a home, the purchase agreement outlines who’s responsible for paying agent commissions. In most instances, this responsibility falls on the seller. Once the agreement is signed, the seller is legally obligated to pay the commission of the buyer’s agent.

Are buyer’s agents worth it?

As with anything, working with a buyer’s agent has benefits and drawbacks. In most cases, using a buyer’s agent has more pros than cons for home buyers.

The Bottom Line

A buyer’s agent is a real estate agent who represents a buyer during the home buying process. Buyer’s agents can assist with several aspects of the home buying process – from finding houses to view, to scheduling viewings, to submitting offers and negotiating with the listing agent.

Working with a buyer’s agent can be beneficial for home buyers because these experts are highly knowledgeable in real estate, and their job is to look out for your best interests throughout the home buying process.

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Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.