Buyer's Brokerage

Betsy A. Churgai  

Island Associates Real Estate 


A full service real estate company listing and selling finer Port

Aransas properties. We also provide superior service to buyers

who wish to be represented by a savvy, experienced buyer's broker

Betsy A. Churgai, broker

 Sales - Management - Rentals  

Buying and selling Port Aransas property since 1979

 fax: call for fax number

Click here to contact Betsy by email


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Kiplinger's Magazine  has this to say about

buying property and choosing a buyer's broker

"The last thing you want to do is walk into an open house and start blabbing how much you can afford to the agent who has listed the house.  That agent owes his or her allegiance to the seller -- and only the seller.  If you're negotiating with a pro, you ought to have a pro in your corner, too."  (That's where I come in.)

"It's commonplace now for buyers to sign up their own agents to represent their interests in a deal.  Look for a buyer's broker who will represent you -- and only you.  Most buyer's brokers also work as seller's brokers, which raises an interesting question: Who represents you in negotiations if your buyer's broker also happens to be listing the home you want?  Local practices vary in such instances, and everything is negotiable.  If you want an agent to advise you and negotiate on your behalf, regardless of which house you buy, get specific arrangements in writing.

But I can help you sell your old home while I'm searching for a new one for you. 

"The absolutely best way to select a broker is to ask for references from satisfied customers.  A broker will have substantially more knowledge and experience than an agent.  Ask how long they have been a broker in the particular geographic area you're interested in."  Selling cars is not like selling houses.  You need substantial local knowledge in order to make a good decision.  Check with the state licensing board to inquire about censures, suspensions or revocations of a real estate license.  Check everybody in the office, as this may indicate poor management at the top.

Advice from the Better Business Bureau

on selecting a real estate agent

"Whether you want to sell your house or are in the market for a new house, you're probably also in the market for a real estate agent or broker to help you with this complex transaction.

Just what is a real estate agent or broker and what can they do for you?  A real estate agent is a person licensed by the Department of Real Estate (in Texas, Texas Real Estate Commission), to handle real estate sales.  A broker, also licensed by the State, is the person who may own a real estate company or who has overall responsibility for the agent's actions.  The agent or broker will have had to take real estate courses and pass an exam before he or she could have become licensed to practice."

Note:  I'm a broker with substantially more training and education than most agents or even other brokers.  I'm an active broker, not merely an office manager.  I would love to be your Port Aransas buyer's broker and help you to find the perfect property for your home or business.

Sometimes, I help my clients look for a new place as well as sell their existing one.

"If you want to sell your home, the agent can help you determine how much your home is worth, devise a strategy to market your property, help judge whether prospective buyers are financially qualified to purchase it, and coordinate many of the financial details involved in closing the deal.  You should be honest with the agent about the condition of your home and what you will accept for a final price.  Remember that your agent represents you...  When a potential buyer makes an offer on your property, the agent will arrange to present a written offer to you and answer your questions, explaining any contingencies on the offer contract and telling you how these conditions might affect you and what is in your best interest.  The agent will offer advice on strategy and counteroffers and will communicate your counteroffer to the buyer.  If you decide to accept an offer, you should have an attorney review the purchase offer before you sign it.  Once an offer has been signed by both the buyer and the seller, it is considered ratified and binding.  Closing the deal will probably take a few weeks while the buyer secures financing.  Your real estate agent will continue to monitor the loan application process for the buyer and will coordinate appointments with home inspectors and appraisers.  The agent will also be present with you at closing when you sign the papers for the sales transaction."

Note:  In Port Aransas, many people close by mail.  I get the settlement statement ahead of time, and look over it and the papers, to make sure everything is in order.  This is just an extra service I provide at no charge.

"If you want to buy a home... If you use an agent to help you find and buy a house, a good one will ask you specific questions about your wants and needs.  The more the agent knows about your financial situation, lifestyle, and what you are looking for, the more he or she can do for you."

"The agent will conduct a financial assessment, and based on this, can help you to realistically balance what you need or want with what you can reasonably afford.  He or she may also be able to recommend lenders who can help secure a mortgage for you."

I work with several area lenders.  One has a really easy and simple "paperless loan", which relies on your credit score.  Getting a loan can be simple if your credit is good.

"Using a buyer's broker... Because some home buyers do not feel comfortable working only with an agent or broker who is receiving a commission from the seller, they hire a "buyer's broker" or "buyer's agent" to represent them.  As with the seller's agent, a buyer's agent can research the area and type of house you're interested in.  Beyond that, a buyer's agent can suggest sale prices and terms that may differ greatly from listing agreements, since he or she is obligated to represent the buyer's interest, not the seller's... Although buyer's agents are becoming more common, it may not be easy to find one in your area."  I'm one.  Click here to contact me.

A good strategy is to contact the broker's former clients and ask them the following questions.
1.  Did you feel the broker was honest?
2.  How long did it take the agent to find a house for you or sell your house?
3.  Why did you choose this broker?
4.  Would you use him again?
5.  Did the broker return your phone calls promptly
6.  Did the broker give clear answers to your questions?

The Better Business Bureau has this to say about using a dual agent:
"Suppose a real estate agent is selling a house for one party and becomes a buyer's agent for another.  What happens if the buyer wants to buy that particular seller's house?  In this case, the agent is considered a dual agent."  (In Texas, we use the term "intermediary".)  This is OK, as long as both parties agree to this in writing.  The broker must treat both parties fairly and cannot give advise to either party as to what to offer or what to counteroffer.  This is the traditional way real estate has operated for years before buyer's brokerage became popular, and many people still go this route.

Smart Money: A Personal Shopper for Your Dream House

by Pam Black

"When Sallye and Jim Ryan wanted to move from their Tampa apartment to a three-bedroom home this spring, the busy couple used a buyer broker, Beth Tansey, to help.  Within a week, they had bid on the house they now own.  Sallye liked being able to delegate the house-hunting.  "With both my husband and me working, it was a lot easier," she says.  "I don't think I would have found this house that I really love without her.  There are so many homes for sale here, I would probably still be looking."

"Because Tansey is a buyer broker, who represents the home buyer's interests, the Ryan's trusted her to find the best deal on a house that suited their needs.  By contrast, a traditional real estate broker is legally bound to work for the seller who pays the commission and therefore may be more intent on selling listed homes than finding your dream house.  Even Realtors who don't hold the listing on a given house act as subagents to the seller.  So unless a broker says that he or she is working for you -- brokers are now legally obliged to disclose who they represent -- you can assume the broker is working for the seller."

"Because these brokers are obliged to get buyers the best deal possible, they approach houses with a critical eye for apparent flaws.  You'll still need an inspector to uncover hidden defects, however."  "A well-trained, experienced buyer broker is a great asset," says Peter Miller, author of How to Sell Your Home in Any Market ($12, Harper Perennial) and other real estate guides.  "You won't do any worse, and you may do a lot better."

"Usually, the buyer broker splits the sales commission with the seller's agent, just as a subagent who didn't have the listing would with the broker who did.  So the fee still comes out of the sale price.  Some people might assume that buyers' agents have an incentive to keep the price high.  But again, the broker must get you the best deal.  "In my experience, all of them do," says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America"

Exclusive buyer's agents

by Elizabeth Razzi

"Exclusive buyer's brokers work only with buyers and don't take listings.  They're obliged to help you find the best deals and lowest price.  Unfortunately, agency standards have changed so much in the past ten years that real estate agents themselves are likely to be confused about their obligations to buyers and sellers, even though in most places they are supposed to give you a disclosure form explaining your relationship."  (I'm not confused!  Here in Texas we use a form called "Information on Brokerage Services" that simply and clearly outlines our duties.  I go over this with my clients when we first get together to eliminate any subsequent misunderstandings.)

House Hunting? Save by hiring your own broker

by Carla A. Fried

"If you ever doubted the value of real estate agents who work solely for home buyers (as opposed to traditional agents who report to sellers, consider this: A recent study by U.S. Sprint found that 232 relocating Sprint employees who hired buyer's brokers paid an average of 91% of a home's list price. People who us traditional agents typically pay about 96%.  On a house priced at $150,000, that's a difference of $7,500."