A buyer's agent can be a big help if you are buying in an area that's new to you, and you're pressed for time. I bought a second home in a rural area about 3 hours from my home. It was difficult to get to know the different areas I might be interested in, "get the lay of the land," etc. I could have done it on my own, but it would have taken longer and I'm not sure I would have done better financially.I bought my dream house after three weekend trips, seeing about 20 houses. My agent saw very quickly what I was looking for and narrowed things down. I paid him 4% of the purchase price, since it was a FSBO. (The owner had just agreed to list the house, but my agent had done his legwork, had made contact with her and had me listed as an exclusion. I would not have found out about the house if not for my agent.) If I had bought a house on the MLS, the commission would have been the 6% split between my agent and the seller's agent.
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