An ABR® is not just a REALTOR® with a group of letters behind the name: An ABR® is a specialized practitioner who has demonstrated acommitment to working with buyers.
To become an ABR®, a REALTOR® must first show successful completion of five transactions representing the buyer. A REALTOR® also must complete two courses, including the designation’s core course which teaches agents buyer representation, negotiation strategies, and best practices and procedures between contract and closing.
ABRs® are trained to work as hard for the buyer as thelisting agentdoes for the seller. When every dollar of a purchase price counts, it pays to have someone trained to negotiate the price, terms and conditions to your advantage: Only a buyer’s agent can do that for you.
As a home buyer, you should be represented. A buyer’s agent, particularly an ABR®, forms a contractual relationship with a client; it’s the same relationship that a seller has when signing a listing agreement with an agent. Just as the listing agent can’t disclose her seller’s bottom line, an ABR® cannot disclose her client’s maximum.
That means an ABR® works to keep your information confidential and provides counseling that works to your advantage—not the seller’s. Unless you sign a buyer agency agreement, you are at the mercy of the seller.
While any agent can represent a buyer, not all buyer’s agents have the experience and dedication of an ABR®. There are many benefits to establishing a written relationship with your ABR®. With a signed buyer agency agreement, you become a client and therefore have certain rights:
An ABR® must tell you all she knows about the seller.
An ABR® must keep your information confidential.
An ABR® must negotiate on your behalf.
An ABR® must attempt to solve problems to your advantage and satisfaction.
An ABR® must pay full attention to your needs and focus housing choices to your specifications.
If you are a general customer (someone who has no written agency relationship), your interests are subordinate to the seller’s. In this circumstance, the seller comes first:
The agent can tell the seller all that she knows about you, including how much you are pre-approved for, why you are moving and any other information that puts the seller in a stronger negotiating position.
The agent will keep all information she knows about the seller confidential, because the seller has a written agreement and the agent owes the seller a fiduciary responsibility.
The agent will provide only price information that supports the seller’s listing price.
The agent will negotiate on behalf of the seller.
The agent will attempt to solve problems to the seller’s satisfaction. Her job is to protect the seller.
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