These days, a click of the mouse can open a world of dream homes to you.

But when you’re facing down a determined seller or trying to figure out what to offer, it literally pays to have a buyer’s agent on your side.

Real estate is all about negotiation.

On one side there’s the seller and his or her listing agent, who is bound by a legal agreement to represent the seller’s interest.

On the other side is the buyer - you - who wants to walk out a winner, having paid a price you’re comfortable with for a home you love. 

To get there, you’ll need comparable sales to establish a fair price; an educated perspective on the local real estate market; connections to home inspectors, escrow officers and mortgage brokers; and someone who is bound by a legal agreement - a buyer’s agreement - to represent your interests and yours alone. 

That would be the buyer’s agent. He or she puts you on level ground with the seller. 

In tough negotiations with multiple offers, you need someone who will advise on strategy and is required by law to treat everything you share in confidence. 

In “as is” situations or home inspections that turn up expensive surprises, you need a professional to advise you. 

Even when things are going smoothly, another perspective is often important.

An agent can also negotiate unemotionally and professionally on behalf of the buyer.

Effectively, your buyer’s agent is your new best friend. Don’t leave home without one.