This article is brought to you in partnership with the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association.
If you’re shopping for a home in Charlotte, you’ve probably had your fair share of run-ins with real estate agents throughout the process. Whether you’re looking at older homes or brand-new houses, you need an expert on your side who has your back during the often-complicated process.
But do you know who your real estate agent is working for?
Many real estate agents represent both buyers and sellers. This is a fairly common practice. However, what’s not as common, and in many states illegal, is the practice of dual agency. That means the agent is representing both the buyer and the seller during the same transaction.
Dual agency is legal in North Carolina, which many first-time homebuyers don’t realize, said Melissa Zimmerman, a Realtor®/Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas Realty.
“Imagine you’re a first-time homebuyer. You think everyone will look out for you when you’re buying a home, but that’s not always the case,” Zimmerman said. “I always tell clients who have never bought a home in North Carolina, make sure you ask questions about the process. There’s no such thing as a dumb question.”
Zimmerman has advice for all buyers: Read everything.
Once you decide to buy property, your Realtor® will send you three important documents. These are the offer to purchase, a document containing professional services and disclosures and a document explaining the home inspection process.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to read,” she said. “Read the offer to purchase your Realtor® gives you. It’s great information, and it will set forth all your expectations as to what the North Carolina laws are and gives you a great idea of what to expect going forward.”
This is often an issue with new construction, said Lisi Ward, a Realtor®/Broker with Allen Tate in Huntersville. Because the house is brand-new, prospective buyers think it’s unnecessary to hire a real estate agent to help them.
“A good Realtor® will be able to walk buyers through some of the more complicated aspects of buying a house,” said Ward. “When meeting with a builder, having a buyer’s agent will ensure that someone is working on your behalf.”
For first-time homeowner Danielle Scesney, working with a Realtor® was crucial when she and her boyfriend bought a renovated home in the Biddleville area last October.
“In the four showings we we had with him — the fourth being the one we bought — he did research ahead of time and brought information on whether the houses had permits with renovations, what houses in the area are going for and he even talked to the neighbors while we were there to learn more,” Scesney said. “He helped us pick our offer price and negotiate with the seller and he gave recommendations on inspectors and lenders.”
Want to learn more about buying a home in North Carolina? Visit the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association website to get connected with talented Realtors® near you.