Ask your real estate agent if they are working in your best interest


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Prospective home buyers tour a house for sale with their realtor in Machinaw, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Prospective home buyers tour a house for sale with their realtor in Machinaw, Illinois.

So when buying or selling your home, you need to understand the ground rules of your relationship with your realtor first.

Here’s what you should consider:

Ask “Are you working in my best interest?” Before you share the details on your home or what you’re searching for, ask your agent whether he or she will represent your interest throughout the sale.

“If the answer is ‘no’ or you get equivocation, then you need to ask a follow-up, ‘Whose interest might you be representing?'” said Brobeck.

Going it alone? Hire a lawyer: “Bring them in to advise you,” said Brobeck. Be wary of attorneys who will steer you toward their own title company as you prepare to close. That’s a conflict of interest.

Watch what you say: Buyers shouldn’t disclose to the listing agent or any other non-fiduciary the highest price they’re willing to pay. Sellers should also be guarded about the minimum sales price they’ll accept for a property.

Do your own research: You already know you should shop around for a good mortgage rate. Make sure you put the same effort into checking out attorneys, title companies, appraisers and home inspectors, too.

“Avoid inspectors who are referred to you by the realtor,” said Miller. “They will disclose issues with the property, but they won’t discourage. They won’t get in the way of the sale.”

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