Do I Need an Agent to Buy a Home in the Bay Area?

Modern savvy Bay Area home buyers are self-directing their home search.  Gone are the days when a home buyer is relying on their agent to alert them to new listings, and then touring the open home with their agent.  Websites like Redfin and Zillow make it easy for buyers to get email alerts of new MLS listings, and many buyers prefer to tour open houses on their own schedule, without the pressures and logistical complexities of their agent.

After finding their dream home and readying to submit an offer, some buyers, particularly those that have been through the buying process before, contemplate completing the purchase without an agent.  In California, there is no legal requirement that a buyer has a real estate agent, and most of the purchase documents and processes are standardized. Why should an agent make $60,000+ for submitting your offer when you’ve done all of the work?

Unfortunately, unrepresented buyers may find that trying to buy a home without an agent runs into problems.  Listing agents would rather refer unrepresented buyers to a colleague or even steer them into a dual-agency agreement whereby the listing agent represents both the buyer and seller (whose interests are they really looking out for?).  For buyers who are adamant that they don’t want a buyer’s agent, the listing agents may straight refuse to work with them, and ignore any purchase offer that they submit.

At Unlocked, we always strive to achieve the right balance between adding value as your licensed full-service agent, but ensuring you’re still in the driver’s seat throughout the process.  We’re not here to be pushy or steer you into a home that is not right for you, or to get in the way when you don’t need us. We’ve leveraged technology to deliver insight and streamline the process, to help buyers where we think we can add a lot of value (e.g., valuing a property, reviewing the disclosures and submitting a competitive offer).  We also think the buyers should keep more of their money, and so we offer 1% cash back to buyers. We like to think the result is better service, better insight, and an industry-leading 1% cash back.

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Buyers' Guide