Why Do You Need a Buyer’s Agent?
I’ve had numerous calls from customers who are requesting that I show them my currently listed homes; they don’t want to see any other properties. I am representing the seller, and I am asked by these customers if I can only show them my listings. When I discover that the person is NOT represented by an agent, I engage them in a conversational review of the various types of agency.
MANY of them absolutely refuse to heed advice with regards to dual agency, saying that they “WANT to purchase from the listing agent so that we can SAVE MONEY!” After citing some horror stories, many look a bit worried and wind up protecting their interest (and their wallets) by seeking their own representation while others continue to “shop the listing agents!”
Buyers who fail to realize that not having their own representation can not only cost them hundreds of dollars but, hundreds of thousands of dollars! Dual agency IS legal here in North Carolina but, that doesn’t mean that you will be treated fairly.
Why is the allegiance of the listing agent inherently to the seller?
Because the listing agent either sold them the house and has been in touch with the sellers for years, they are family, friends, referrals or a simple internet lead with a relationship that has been cultivated with their real estate agent. The listing agent and the seller have typically spent a good deal of time together, getting to know one another while preparing the home for sale. A sign or internet-buyer call is an unknown customer and the agents’ relationship with the sellers have long since been established. Thinking of this from a business perspective, this is not a position I would want to find myself in–basically being the ‘third wheel’ in a business transaction is not a smart financial move.
What the buyer doesn’t realize is two-fold:
- The allegiance of the listing agent IS inherently to the seller; no matter how ‘honest’ one is, it is difficult to be 100% fair to both parties in a single-agent dual sale.
2. The listing agent’s firm has a signed listing CONTRACT with the Seller. Is THE FIRM really going to allow the listing agent to give up 1/2 of the commission in the agreed upon listing Contract?
Buyers think that they are saving a small percentage of the list price by not having their own representation. Unfortunately the buyers don’t realize that all sellers are not 100% forthcoming when it comes to property disclosures and that small percentage (of commission) saved can cost significantly more in hidden defects. Every buyer needs their OWN representation!
I have done dual agency and think that I’ve been as fair as fair can be in representing both parties but, I also have to consider the liability that I may be creating for my sellers should I choose to represent a buyer in the sale of their home. There are alot of factors to consider here and all parties need to be made aware of each and every one of them.
Just as bad as allowing dual agency with a single agent, is a firm which offers an additional bonus for their agents to sell that brokerage’s listings. This just begs for agents to push/steer clients in the direction of their own firm’s listings, not showing listings that may better suit their buyer–simply for a bonus themselves. This bonus is neither disclosed to the buyer, nor on the HUD-1. We receive calls from buyers who can’t seem to understand why their agent hasn’t shown them a particular property that they had seen online which they feel suits their needs better than the same-agency listings that they’ve been shown by their former agent. Again, a buyer needs an agent who has the buyer’s best interest at heart. Do you want to be searching for your dream home at the mercy of an agent who could very well be looking out for only themselves–procuring a bonus check?