Before Talking to a Real Estate Agent
Regarding "Buying a Home"

Indiana Agency Laws, Revised, Effective July 1, 1999

Homebuyers need to be careful when purchasing their home that they are getting the full value of having a BUYER AGENT or BUYER BROKER on their side. According to a 1983 Federal Trade Commision study, most buyers fail to understand that the agent who shows them homes is actually working on the seller's side. Consequently, buyers often reveal too much information to the real estate agent who is showing them homes. Few buyers realize that anything they say will be told directly to the seller and will be used to help the seller obtain the maximum price from the buyers. This is why it is not only vital to your position as a buyer, but it is also Indiana law that real estate agents explain agency to you before you see the very first property.
A Buyer Agent is an agent who will be working for your best interest, can and should relay any information to you regarding the sellers and their property, yet keeps any information about you confidential, unless you give permission for such information to be passed on to the seller. A Buyer Agent will help you to negotiate the best terms for your purchase. There is not an execution of a contract to employ a Buyer Agent. The seller will be responsible for the Buyer Agent's professional service fee.
According to Alice and Denise Fields, authors of Your New Home, the buyer's best protection is to hire a Buyer Broker with the use of a written contract. Most real estate experts agree. Both the Buyer Broker and the Buyer Agent can open more of the market to the buyer, including for-sale-by-owner properties and properties that are not yet listed. But, the Fields caution that buyers should be aware of "counterfeit" Buyer Brokers who say that they will offer you buyer agency and then do business the same way they always have. According to Fields, buyers should never hire a real estate agent without a written contract that spells out the details of how the broker will work. Unlike the Buyer Agent, the Buyer Broker's professional service fee can be paid by the buyer instead of the seller.
A Limited Agent is an agent that represents both the buyer and the seller, because the agent has that particular property listed. A Limited Agent is prohibited by Indiana Law from relaying information about their client which may weaken the client's negotiating power. Before an offer to purchase is presented to the seller, both the purchaser and the seller must give written permission for representation of the agent as a Limited Agent, and that each party fully understands the terminology of Limited Agency. As with a Buyer Agent, the seller is responsible for the payment of the professional service fee of the Limited Agent.
The final category of agency found in Indiana is the Seller's Agent. The seller will have their own representation, their listing agent, or their listing agent who asked and was denied permission by the seller to be a Limited Agent. Again, the seller is responsible for the payment of the professional service fee of a Seller Agent and of a Limited Agent, if applicable.

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