What is the role of a real estate agent during a home buying transaction? If you ask a hundred different agents this question, you will likely get just as many different answers.

In truth, the primary role of a real estate agent when working with buyers is a simple one. Your agent’s primary obligation is to help you find a home that meets your needs, and to help facilitate the purchase. In exchange for this service, the real estate agent is paid a commission.

The Commission Earned

Traditionally, real estate agents have earned a ten-percent commission for services rendered. The commission is typically split evenly, with 5 percent going to both the buyer’s and seller’s agent. The commission is usually paid by the seller involved in the transition.

These days, some real estate companies offer “stripped down” services at a reduced commission. For instance, they might only help with the paperwork and closing process, once you have already found a home. They charge a lower commission rate because they offer fewer services than what you would get from a traditional agent relationship.

The Duties Performed

The roles and duties performed may also vary depending on the agent. Some consider themselves selling agents, concentrating their efforts on assisting home sellers. Others consider themselves buying agents and focus their efforts on helping buyers primarily. The majority of real estate professionals assist both buyers and sellers (though usually not within the same transaction).

In the early stages of buying a home, the agent plays an important role. This person will (or should) serve as your guide on the quest to find a new home. He or she should listen to your needs and ask questions in order to determine what is the right kind of home for you, and where to find them.

Your agent should be able to compile a list of potential homes that may suit you. This list will point you in the right direction when you start the house hunting process. Once you find the home you are interested in buying, your agent will help negotiate the deal between you and the seller, serving as a go-between to make offers and counter-offers until an agreement is made.

The Process Delivered

Your agent should also keep the communication flowing and the process moving. This will be done through follow-up phone calls and emails, keeping tabs on paperwork, etc. He or she should keep you updated on a regular basis, and should keep an open line of communication with you.

During the pre-closing inspection (a.k.a. final walk-through), your agent should be with you in case you find any issues that need to be addressed, such as scheduled repairs that were never made. In these cases, your agent will attempt to negotiate some type of agreement regarding the damage.

Depending on the state where you live, your agent may also play an active role in the closing / settlement, or they may not be involved much at all. Either way, it’s helpful to have a professional on hand who is familiar with the transaction from start to finish, just in case additional information or negotiations are needed.

The role of the buyer’s real estate agent is an important one. For this reason, it’s important that you meet with prospective representatives and choose one you are comfortable with. You should be equally confident in their professional abilities and their communication skills. After all, the person you choose will be your direct representative through the entire home buying process.