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Navigating the Home Buying Process: Customer vs Client

Thursday, March 9, 2023   /   by Kat Shannon

Navigating the Home Buying Process: Customer vs Client

Something I’ve noticed when speaking to various home buyers is that the agents they are connecting with are not taking the time to explain what a customer is, and why they should consider becoming a client if they trust that agent and value working with them. You might see a few homes together, hear back a few times - and then eventually you lose touch. This might leave you feeling overwhelmed and defeated…but there is a solution! This post will help you understand what it means to be a customer, and why you should commit to an agent you enjoy working with as a client! 

The first thing you need to know the difference between a customer and a client. Simply put: when you are a buyer customer to an agent, the agent is operating in the best interest of the seller. They are only able to perform what we call ‘ministerial acts’ such as providing and filling out contracts, writing offers at the direction of the buyer, and showing property.

What is a client?

A client is someone who has committed to that agent via contract, that they will not be working with another broker or agent. They have also agreed in this contract that the agent assisting them will be paid a certain commission upon completion of your home purchase. So, we can see just one of the advantages to becoming a client - commitment from both parties to perform to their best ability, and get you through the home buying process!

Other advantages of working with an agent as a client

When you are a customer, agents can only perform acts directly related to the transaction. That doesn’t mean they are going to blow you off or not do their job properly, but it does mean that there are certain tasks they cannot help you with.

When you are my client, I am working for YOU. This means I am going to help you negotiate, I am going to call different vendors to get you the rates that fit your budget, I am going to give you my advice on a price point when you ask and research the neighborhoods you are interested in. And you can rest assured that I will do the best by you, because we have an agreement.

Broker Accountability

A broker is a step up from an agent; they are more knowledgeable of the law, ethics, and transaction process. They have taken their experience and applied it to a broker’s license which allows them to be responsible for agents performing under that license.

My broker is Janet Howard at Realty One Group Inclusion in Savannah. When you are my client, you are also Janet’s client. You can trust that I have received proper training, education and that at the end of the day I am performing to her standards.

This also means that if you ever have any concerns extending beyond me, Janet will step in to handle them. She keeps me accountable to you. Broker’s are also amazing resources for agents, answering questions and helping them expand their knowledge and professionalism!

Fiduciary Duties

 A fiduciary relationships is one based on trust and confidence, where you are required to act in the best interest of your client. National Association of Realtors has broken down these duties into six categories.

    • Loyalty - a duty to act in the best interest of our clients and remain loyal to them.
    • Confidentiality - an obligation to safeguard the client’s confidential information and secrets.
    • Disclosure - think of this as an open door policy which insures that you will have all necessary information disclosed to you.
    • Obedience - we are obligated to perform promptly and efficiently all requests  of the client. Barring, of course, legal repercussions - but we are obligated to explain to you why something cannot be done.
    • Reasonable care and diligence - This means an obligation to act professionally in any and all matters of the business. That means only performing within your area of knowledge and expertise!
    • Accounting - agents are required to account for all money and property entrusted to them by the client.

How do I become a client?

By signing an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement. During my buyer consult, I will walk you through the contract, answer any questions and concerns, and provide brochures explaining agency and various aspects of the home buying process.Click here to view an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Engagement form!

If you’d like to schedule your buyer consult, email me at katshannon.homes@gmail.com!


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Realty One Group Inclusion
7025 Hodgson Memorial Dr, Unit A
Savannah, GA 31406

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