Today I want to share a story of something that recently happened to me with some of my good friends. Now, before I begin, this is not a story about me complaining about losing money, but more so a story I share to try & help others who are looking to buy a home in Myrtle Beach, SC or basically anywhere else in South Carolina. I cannot speak that this is the same case for anywhere else in the country as I am only licensed for this state.
About two years ago, one of my good friends came to me & stated that he & his wife were thinking about buying a home and putting down some roots here in Myrtle Beach. We began the process of looking at homes online, emailing back and forth questions about the properties and even taking a few trips out to view some of the properties. In fact, we found a property that we loved and wrote up an offer at that time. Unfortunately, that offer didn’t work out and so we went back to searching for more homes. We had found another home, but they required us to show a pre-approval before submitting an offer. So, we called one of my local lenders and he began the process of obtaining a mortgage.
As we began the mortgage process, we quickly learned that some items that had been on his credit needed to be taken care of before he could go about trying to buy a home. We got connected up with a credit service to assist him in the process of repairing his credit to a good standing. The service told me it could take a good 6-9 months to get everything handled and get them in a position to be able to buy a house. I left our buyers agency agreement expire and continued to keep in touch with them over the next 2 years answering questions they had & helping with whatever I could.
Fast forward to this past week when I saw my friends again and he mentioned to me that he had found a house. I told him that was great and to let me know when they wanted to go and see the home. He said “No, we already have a house under contract.” My heart sunk as I asked who did he contact to do so. He explained to me that they represented themself as customers to purchase a home because they didn’t want to have to pay more for the house if I represented them.
A “friend” of theirs had told them that if they used an agent to buy a home, it would cost them an additional $7,000+ that gets used to pay the agent. I’m not really sure where they got that information, but it’s the main reason they never called me this time to buy a house. They thought it would cost them much more money to do so. When in actuality, they probably lost more money by not having an agent work on their behalf that would do a full market analysis and negotiate on their behalf with the selling agent. We do this stuff every day and know what the laws are.
Below I’ve placed a portion of the South Carolina Buyer Agency Contract that goes through how an agent get paid.
As you can see, while there are several options out there where you might have to pay an agent, there are also options that gets an agent working on your behalf without you having to pay. I could work with people buying a home in Myrtle Beach on a retainer fee. In this situation, you pay an agent a non refundable amount of money that they will or will not credit against a brokerage fee at the time of closing depending on what the agent decides. This money you pay whether you buy a home or don’t.
The second option would be to hire an agent on a Service fee. In this instance, you pay a predetermined amount of money to the agency on a specific date whether you have found a home or not. You can still end up having the agent collect a brokerage fee at a later time, but that service fee comes out of your pocket on a specific date determined by the agent when buying a home no matter what else happens.
The third & fourth options are the ways that most agents here in Horry County run their businesses. In option 3, the agent gets paid out of the brokerage fee. When someone lists their home for sale, they have agreed to allow the listing agent to give a portion of the commission to the agent that brings the buyer to the property. The buyers do not pay out of their pocket to have an agent work on their behalf in the buying process and the buyers agent gets paid by the seller.
The only exception to the rule is when the buyer purchases a For Sale By Owner and the seller will not pay the agent a commission for assisting with the sale. In this situation, you the buyer would be responsible for payment to the agent. But the amount of times this happens is virtually never. I’ve been in this business now for over 15 years and never once ran into this situation. Usually the sellers are willing to work with an agent if they can get their home sold. Option D, Brokerage Fee works almost exactly the same.
So as you can see, the cost to have a REALTOR® assist you in buying a home in Myrtle Beach is zero. It doesn’t cost any more to have someone represent you and help you through the process. I highly recommend that wherever you are buying a property, you get an agent to work on your behalf. We do this every day and have much more experience handling all the things that come up in the buying process. It will definitely save you time, money, and headaches having a REALTOR® represent you when buying a home.