This book is an excellent first step in a complicated process

By Marny
5.0 out of 5 stars
March 27, 2018

Buying a home is like buying a car, on steroids. It’s the biggest investment you are likely to make so the stakes are incredibly high. I knew that having an agent represent me was a good idea. What I hadn’t grasped was how important it is to find one who is not connected with the selling side in any way—through an agency that also represents sellers, as most do, at least in Mass. In researching buyer agents, I found Tom through the Mass. Assoc. of Buyer Agents (MABA). He sent a complimentary copy of his book. We ended up hiring him and he did a great job for us—so we saw his printed words turned to action. I’m a true believer that having someone represent you who has no conflict with the selling side is an absolute must. (And vice versa, by the way, if you are selling.)

In his book, Tom breaks down the process—what questions to ask in selecting an agent, what not to do at an open house, what the different forms mean, tips for negotiating, and making sure the final contract represents you fairly.

What’s the difference between an exclusive agent, a designated agency, a dual agency, and a single-party agent? Who knew you even needed to know that? But you do. And when is an exclusive agent not an exclusive agent? What happens to all that personal information you give the agent—how much you can spend, how high you are willing to go—if they also work for a broker who represents sellers?

You don’t have to live in Mass. to benefit from this knowledge. The basics of selecting an agent, negotiating a deal, and understanding the process are transferable everywhere. You need to know who is on your side and the real estate profession does not make that transparent. If you’ve been to an open house, did you notice the disclaimer on the table where you sign in? That the agent represents the seller and not you? That anything you say can and will be used against you in negotiating? You were probably focused on that pink-tiled bathroom and ugly couch in the living room.

Of course, having an exclusive agent on your side does not magically guarantee you’ll get the house you love for a bargain price. It just means you’ll get fair representation. And knowing that makes whatever price you pay easier to accept.

There are a lot of house-buying guides out there and they’ll cover a lot of the same ground, this is no exception. But this book lays out the differences in representation and the potential pitfalls of not understanding the process.

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