Many people find little reason to work with an agent when looking for a home. Why bother with a real estate agent following you around a house when you can find the homes on the internet yourself and just work with the Selling agent? Is internet access to homes just the same as having an agent with MLS access? Why bother using a Realtor?
#1: It is free to you as the buyer. Typically the commission on a home sale is 5 - 6% and this amount is usually split 50/50 between the buyer's agent and the seller's agent. This amount is paid for by the seller. Therefore, you don't pay anything to your agent and yet you now have someone representing you that has a fiduciary responsibility to you.
#2: Fiduciary Responsibility: What is that? Direct from Wikipedia, it is "a legal or ethical relationship of confidence or trust between two or more parties". In other words, the agent representing you as the buyer must legally look out for your best interests. If you chose to work directly with the agent representing the seller, how is it possible for the agent to represent your best interests as well as the seller's? It is not possible, yet it happens quite often. Kate McCaffrey is one of the very few agents in Alameda that WILL NOT represent both parties in a transaction!
#3: Strategy: Any agent can put in offers for you on properties but it takes a skilled agent to help you understand how you are going to get your offer accepted. You need to understand how to have your "ducks in a row" so that when you are ready to make an offer on a house you get that house and don't waste your time and energy putting in offers that aren't going to go anywhere.
#4: Understanding What To Do: Working with a buyer's agent allows you to have someone there to explain to you the many costs involved in the transaction that may not be obvious to you. They can also get the right people in (home inspectors, pest inspectors, etc.) to ensure that the home is in fact what you expect and to negotiate on your behalf if the home turns out to not be what you expect. They work for you and for you ONLY!
#5: Peace of mind: Buying a home is a very emotional and stressful process. Your Realtor's job should be to make this process as streamlined and stress free as possible. Having someone in your corner, watching out for you can make the entire process far more enjoyable and easier to navigate through.
Why choose Kate vs. another Realtor?
Kate started her career in real estate after graduating with a degree in Communications from UCSB. She started in commercial real estate working for CBRE, the World's largest commercial real estate firm and worked as the Marketing Specialist and then as a Broker Associate with one of the top producers nationwide in the retail sector.
Having purchased three homes of her own, Kate fully understands and is aware of how intimidating and stressful the process can be. Her experiences in purchasing her own properties have shaped how she works as a Realtor.
Kate values and is committed to having a plan of action in place. Kate works with her buyers to understand their budget, get them pre-qualified if necessary and take any and all necessary measures to put her buyers in a place where they are ready to make an offer when the right home comes along. A strong offer with all your paperwork in hand presented by a strong and reputable agent says to the buyer's agent that you are serious and that you mean business.
Kate works with her buyers once their offer is accepted to guide them through the entire process and to help them make smart decisions based on the facts, not on their emotions. When buying a home, emotions can often get in the way of business and it is important to have an agent that can help you to stay focused and assist you in making a smart real estate investment.
A fifth generation Alamedan, Kate lives and works in Alameda and has chosen to focus exclusively on the Alameda real estate market. She therefore has a strong and up to date sense of the current market as well as a strong sense of how the local Alameda Realtors work and what is expected of her and her buyers when making an offer.
Working with a local agent in the community you are buying a home in is one of the smartest things you can do. These local agents have formed relationships and trust with each other and this trust will ensure that your offer will be chosen over an out of town agent who does not have a local reputation. There are also many subtle nuances to each town and how they do real estate that out of town agents are unaware of. For instance, it is customary in Alameda real estate transactions that the buyer and seller split the City and County transfer taxes. In many other areas throughout the greater Bay Area, the buyer pays for these. If your agent does not know what is customary in an offer in the Alameda real estate market, it could cost you...literally.
If you are looking in an area outside of Alameda and would like a reference to a top agent in that area, Kate can refer you as well.