Southport Oak Island Realty Group, Inc

Best North Carolina Buyer’s Agent

Are you hoping to purchase a North Carolina beach home soon? There’s a lot to think about, especially in today’s shifting market, and finding a perfect house that you can afford can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Luckily, you don’t have to navigate the process on your own. A local real estate agent at Southport Oak Island Realty Group who specializes in helping North Carolina buyers find the right home, often referred to as a buyer’s agent, can be a crucial help for any house hunter! However, because of the recent federal lawsuit, new rules around real estate commissions will go into effect in the summer of 2024 that will make the way buyer’s agents get paid slightly more complicated and possibly hurt home sales and buyer representation in a big way. Here’s a closer look at North Carolina buyer’s agents, what they do and why you do need one.

What does a North Carolina buyer’s agent do?

Typically, North Carolina real estate transactions involve two different real estate agents: one who represents the seller and one who represents the buyer. The role of a North Carolina buyer’s agent is to act as the home buyer’s helper and guide on their real estate journey. Their primary responsibility of a buyer’s agent at Southport Oak Island Realty Group is to help beach house hunters find the home that best suits their needs and budget, checking as many boxes as possible on their wish list for there next Southport, NC or Oak Island, NC beach home.

What does a North Carolina Buyer’s agent owe me?

In North Carolina, a buyer’s agent owes six key fiduciary duties to their client:


  • Your agent must always put your interests above all others, including their own. They are obligated to prioritize your needs and goals throughout the transaction.


  • Your agent is required to follow your lawful instructions, ensuring that they act in accordance with your wishes and directives.


  • Your agent must disclose all material facts that could potentially influence your decision-making process. This includes any information that may impact the value, desirability, or suitability of a property.


  • Your agent is obligated to keep your personal and financial information confidential, even after the transaction has closed. They must maintain the privacy of your details and not disclose them to any third parties without your explicit consent.

Reasonable Care and Diligence

  • Your agent must use their best efforts and expertise to advocate for your interests. They are expected to exercise reasonable care and diligence in all aspects of the transaction, from property search to closing.


  • Your agent is responsible for safeguarding and accounting for any money they handle on your behalf, such as earnest money deposits. They must maintain accurate records and ensure that all funds are properly managed.

Advocating for the Buyer’s Interests

  • Your buyer’s agent is your champion in the real estate arena. They leverage their market knowledge, negotiating skills, and industry connections to secure the best possible terms and outcome for you. This includes identifying properties that align with your criteria, presenting competitive offers, and negotiating favorable contract terms.

Protecting the Buyer’s Rights and Interests

  • From reviewing contracts to coordinating inspections, your agent works tirelessly to protect your rights and interests at every stage of the transaction. They help you navigate legal complexities, avoid potential pitfalls, and make informed decisions based on their expertise and guidance, sometime this involves being “the bad guy”, or course that is, on your behalf. 🙂

Providing Expert Guidance and Advice

  • Your North Carolina buyer’s agent serves as your trusted advisor, offering objective insights and recommendations based on your unique needs and goals. They help you evaluate properties, understand market conditions, and make strategic decisions that align with your short-term and long-term objectives.

A North Carolina buyer’s agent performs several other duties as well, including:

  • Conduct a thorough needs analysis to ensure fiduciary service to all buyer clients.
  • Ensure that buyer clients are pre-qualified with mortgage lender (if needed).
  • Show homes to prospective home buyer clients.
  • Identify homes to show that meet buyers’ criteria.
  • Schedule showings of homes with buyer clients, listing agents and/or home sellers.
  • Refine buyers’ criteria and select additional homes to show as necessary.
  • Write & submit all offers to purchase homes for buyer clients.
  • Negotiate offers to purchase and oversee entire negotiation process.
  • Schedule and attend on-site property inspections with clients and vendors.
  • Negotiate all inspection repairs.
  • Provide buyer clients access to homes under contract as needed for measuring, inspecting & etc.
  • Promptly return all buyer client telephone calls, texts and/or emails.
  • Gather and answer buyer questions about potential homes and local community information.
  • Provide buyer clients pricing information and market research.
  • Educate buyer clients about home buying process.
  • Regularly assure buyer clients that lead agent is involved & informed
  • Communicate diligently with administrative staff to ensure the highest level of service to buyer clients from initial contact through contract to close.
  • Attend all office training for working with buyer clients.
  • Handling required paperwork
  • Drafting and submitting offers
  • Assisting with negotiations
  • Coordinating the closing process
  • Smoothing over bumps in the road and keeping things moving

Buyer’s agent vs. listing agent

While a buyer’s agent represents a North Carolina buyer, listing agents work on the other side of the real estate transaction. They represent the seller and are responsible for listing the property for sale (hence the name) and positioning it to attract top dollar. Listing agents also host open houses, help sellers sift through offers and negotiate on the seller’s behalf.

Somewhat confusingly, the seller’s agent or listing agent is not the same thing as what’s often called a selling agent. In fact, quite the opposite: Once a property goes into contract, the buyer’s agent may now be referred to as the “selling agent.” Regardless of terminology, though, your agent is still yours, and still working on your behalf.

Do I need a North Carolina buyer’s agent to buy a house?

You are not legally required to hire a North Carolina real estate agent in order to buy a house. You always have the option to find a home and negotiate the terms of the purchase on your own. However, it’s not the preferred or recommended method for most homebuyers. According to NAR data, an overwhelming 89 percent of buyers chose to hire a real estate agent to assist with the homebuying process in 2023.

It’s in your best interest to do so for several reasons. For starters, a North Carolina real estate agent with extensive knowledge about your local area can give you a competitive advantage in finding and bidding on homes. This is especially true in areas where inventory is extremely limited, as is the case in many markets around the country and becoming more and more true in Brunswick County North Carolina.

Having an Southport Oak Island Realty Group expert on your side also provides assistance with the purchase agreement. Clauses, disclosures and contingencies can be confusing, and you’ll want someone who understands them to make sure they work in your favor. A real estate agent can also help you negotiate potential seller concessions if the inspection reveals issues with the home. Most importantly, you’ll receive professional advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Signing a contract

When you decide on a buyer’s agent to work with, they will most likely ask you to sign a contract, or exclusivity agreement, acknowledging that they are representing you for a stipulated amount of time. This is normal, so don’t be put off by it. But before signing on the dotted line to make the partnership official, review the entire contract. Ask them to address anything that’s unclear to ensure you are both on the same page. Finding a home could take some time!

How does a North Carolina buyer’s agent get paid?

Real estate commissions have historically amounted to between 5 and 6 percent of a North Carolina home’s sale price, split evenly between both agents involved in the transaction. On a $400,000 home sale, 5 percent comes to $20,000, or $10,000 for each real estate agent. Compensation for both agents has long been paid by the seller, out of their sale proceeds, meaning the buyer does not pay their agent out-of-pocket (though of course the expense is almost always “cooked into” the home’s sale price).

However, this structure is poised to change as a result of the settlement of a large federal lawsuit. Starting in July 2024, home sellers nationwide will no longer automatically be responsible for compensating the buyer’s agent in their transaction. This means each party, buyer and seller, will be responsible for paying their own agent. Although for North Carolina, unlike many other states, real estate agents have long practiced the “now required” buyer agency agreement and have always had a buyers agent fee in that contract, but of course now all will be looking at this a little harder.

How to find a North Carolina buyer’s agent

There are a lot of North Carolina real estate agents out there — NAR has more than 1.5 million members. How to find an agent who’s right for you? Asking around for recommendations is a great place to start. Look online at the local real estate companies, check out their reviews, see if they are the best fit for you! The biggest is not always the best, and the top selling agents often do not even do the actual work, you may only meet that agent once of twice if your lucky! At Southport Oak Island Realty Group, we know that and do not want that to happen, all of our associates are hands on and available for you!

It’s also important to ensure they can handle any potential issues that may arise. “Ask the agents you are interviewing to discuss some difficult situations they faced with past clients,” Shirshikov says. “If the agent responds in a positive way and puts the client first in disputes, that’s an agent to stick with. If they have never encountered tough situations or have handled them poorly, look for someone else.”

In Closing

North Carolina Buyer’s agents play an essential role in the homebuying process, especially for a novice or first-time buyer. An experienced local agent can help make finding a home, submitting offers, negotiating favorable terms and getting to the closing table a smoother experience.

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Jon Langley

Hi! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Southport and Oak Island Real Estate Blog! My name is Jon Langley, and I'm a REALTOR® in Brunswick County, NC. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in the Southport & Oak Island area. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Southport Oak Island Realty Group. Looking forward to connecting!

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