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Old 10-03-2009, 03:41 PM
 
146 posts, read 837,771 times
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My husband and I have been looking for our first home and were working with an agent that we thought was great. She then tried to act as a dual agent by trying to sell us a home that she was listing. When we told her that we were not comfortable with a dual agency situation, she told us that she no longer wanted to be our realtor since she felt we didn't trust her.

We would like to continue our home search but do not have a new agent yet.

How difficult is it to purchase a home without an agent? Will we be able to set up showings of homes by contacting the seller's agent? How would we go about writing up an offer, making an earnest deposit, etc?
Are seller's more likely to negotiate on the price if they do not have to pay a commission for a buyer's agent?
We would of course have any paperwork or contracts reviewed by a real estate attorney.

Any input/advice?
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Old 10-03-2009, 04:32 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 79,924,751 times
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I think you did the right thing. Not every dual-agency situation is fraught with problems, but when you express some reservations of having the agent know all the details of what you can spend and being paid by the seller they need to respond with a very firm and clear cut statement of how they can overcome this objection. If given the chance, smart agents that HAVE successfully been able to get the sellers and buyers to the "win-win" where both feel that they got the best value will hit the ball out of the park -- unfortunately too few agents can honestly say they do this. It is very very very difficult to successfully advocate for the seller's interests when the amount of one's income is directly tied to extracting the highest price from the buyer. Of course any agent that cannot successfully relate to both sellers and buyers is at a huge disadavantage, and at time like this, when sales volume is way off, many agents are extremely frustrated that they are working harder for less income... I can understand how the agent told you that she did not want to work with you, but ultimately such a decision will push them to be a different kind of agent.

I strongly recommend against directly contacting the seller's agent. In states that allow dual agents this is a recipe for exactly the kind of disaster you encountered, and even where that practice is prohibited and the sellers agent 'recommends' another agent to represent you the strong bias is for those agents to share info that will generally result in the buyer's information being disclosing to their disadvantage.

The presence of a buyers's agent DOES NOT INCREASE THE COST TO THE SELLER ONE BIT!
The seller pays the SAME commission and when a buyer's agent is involves the seller's agent splits the commission, this is fair, just and right as the seller's agent is SPLITTING the work in such a situation. By having real estates representing BOTH sides the odds of emotions staying in check are much better and the agents can each provide the analysis that helpd seller and buyer feel confident that the best deal that could be agreed to was reached.

By the time you get to the stage of contract review the crucial details of price and terms have already been set -- the attorney will NOT help to get a better value!

If you do not have any friends that have used a good buyers agent as referrals are far and away THE best way to get a strong buyer's agent working for you...) I strongly suggest that you interview a buyers agent the way you would an other person you might hire to work with you. An excellent place to meet folks that make good buyer's agents is an Open House, often the listing agent is NOT baby sitting their listing and in such cases the agents that are baby sitting are sorta shopping for buyers...

Another possible source of motivated buyers agent is simply visiting a midsized real estate office in a retail area -- of course the folks sitting in the office might just be slackers, and you need to be able to strike up a quite conversation to assess their willingness to actually WORK for you. A potential buyer that starts a conversation with something that shows THEY have done some homework is often helpful. Thus before you visit the office in person it makes sense to go on-line and scout some of the listings for that office. You can then drop by and start with "Hello, I saw the on-line listing for 333 Halfway Ln. It might be in my price range, but I from just the on-line info I can't really tell if it will meet my needs. It seemed like there might be listings form Other Guys Realty that might be more of a value. Can you provide some guidance?" Such an opener lets the agent know that a) you have a price in mind, b) you are seriously looking at multiple house c) you want to advice of an agent that is not afraid to look at listings in their own office and others.

If this sounds like a lot of leg work, it is. The purchase of a home is still the single most costly and complex transaction that any person is likely to be involved in. If you do not put effort into you will lose out...
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:08 PM
 
Location: DFW - Coppell / Las Colinas
39,289 posts, read 44,335,089 times
Reputation: 49860
Find a good buyers agent that likes working with 1st time buyers, they can be worth their weight in gold for you.

I can't believe the other agent told you she didn't want your business, that's not smart. First time buyers eventually resell and move up several times in their lives and the agent just lost several sales and a ton of good referrals.

It's not the way to build a good real estate career.
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Old 10-04-2009, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Pike County, PA
1,161 posts, read 2,825,022 times
Reputation: 629
Actually you may very well be able to negotiate a better deal for yourself if the seller only has to pay commission to one office. Some agents/brokers are willing to take a little less on a commission if they don't have to pay a buyer's agent. So a seller who would not accept say $165,000 when he was paying full commission might very well accept it if he's paying a lesser commission amount.

That said, I don't understand your reasoning....you said you didn't WANT to do dual agency with your agent...

The agent who dropped you because of this was certainly not acting with the keenest business sense...never take things personally...but I find it curious that you would consider doing this with other agents, whom you do not know... after you refused to consider dual agency with her, whom you have worked with....
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Martinsville, NJ
6,165 posts, read 12,285,223 times
Reputation: 3982
Quote:
Originally Posted by wcaamyg View Post
How difficult is it to purchase a home without an agent? Will we be able to set up showings of homes by contacting the seller's agent?
Setting up showings with the sellers agent will be an easy thing; listing agents are in the business of showing their clients homes, so they can be sold.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wcaamyg View Post
How would we go about writing up an offer, making an earnest deposit, etc?
You can try to figure it out yoruself. You can pay someone to help you with it. A real estate attorney, perhaps. Or the listing agent can help you with the process, even if he offers no advice or opinion regarding price or negotiating stategy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcaamyg View Post
Are seller's more likely to negotiate on the price if they do not have to pay a commission for a buyer's agent?
What makes you think they don't have to pay that buyers agent commission? The way commission works in MOST cases is that the listing agent and the seller agree to a total commission to be paid to the listing agent. The listing agent then offers a portion of that commission to any agent who brings in the buyer of the house. Although the split is DISCLOSED to the seller, it's not a seperate fee. So in reality, you would have to convince the AGENT that he should take less, and reduce his total commission from the seller, becasue he will be keeping it himself without having to share it with a buyers agent. Many are quite willing to do this, to get the place sold, but others are not, as they understand the additional work they will be doing and the additional risk they will be assuming.

Any input/advice?[/quote]
My advice is to hire a buyers agent. Although some people are knowledgable and experienced enough to go through the process without one, but the nature of your questions suggests to me that you are not part of that group.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
40,179 posts, read 69,519,098 times
Reputation: 41552
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Keegan View Post
Setting up showings with the sellers agent will be an easy thing; listing agents are in the business of showing their clients homes, so they can be sold.

You can try to figure it out yoruself. You can pay someone to help you with it. A real estate attorney, perhaps. Or the listing agent can help you with the process, even if he offers no advice or opinion regarding price or negotiating stategy.

What makes you think they don't have to pay that buyers agent commission? The way commission works in MOST cases is that the listing agent and the seller agree to a total commission to be paid to the listing agent. The listing agent then offers a portion of that commission to any agent who brings in the buyer of the house. Although the split is DISCLOSED to the seller, it's not a seperate fee. So in reality, you would have to convince the AGENT that he should take less, and reduce his total commission from the seller, becasue he will be keeping it himself without having to share it with a buyers agent. Many are quite willing to do this, to get the place sold, but others are not, as they understand the additional work they will be doing and the additional risk they will be assuming.

My advice is to hire a buyers agent. Although some people are knowledgable and experienced enough to go through the process without one, but the nature of your questions suggests to me that you are not part of that group.
Mostly great points.

But, one worthy of further discussion, I think...
In NC, when the listing agent offers material assistance, a dual agency relationship may be created and that must be disclosed and approved by both parties.
I would not provide the NCAR/NC Bar Offer to Purchase and Contract, etc, to a buyer unless I was their agent.
An unrepresented buyer should present an offer for consideration, including any state-mandated forms such as signed property disclosures.

I would expect an unrepresented principal on either side of the transaction to handle their responsibilities themselves, hire an attorney, or choose an agent.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
44,672 posts, read 55,659,781 times
Reputation: 80179
We will be looking in a state which is new to us, so we need the guidance of an agent to stear us away from undesireable areas.
Also, an agent can line up a string of showings and take us to them.
She can also more easily research comps when we are ready to make an offer, and also deal with the paperwork.
Since, as others have said, it will not cost us any more to have one, I see the only pitfall to be finding an agent who we work well with, and who will help us find all suitable listings, not only those of her company.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Martinsville, NJ
6,165 posts, read 12,285,223 times
Reputation: 3982
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
Mostly great points.

But, one worthy of further discussion, I think...
In NC, when the listing agent offers material assistance, a dual agency relationship may be created and that must be disclosed and approved by both parties.
I would not provide the NCAR/NC Bar Offer to Purchase and Contract, etc, to a buyer unless I was their agent.
An unrepresented buyer should present an offer for consideration, including any state-mandated forms such as signed property disclosures.

I would expect an unrepresented principal on either side of the transaction to handle their responsibilities themselves, hire an attorney, or choose an agent.
When you say material assistance, are you referring to assistance with materials like forms and lists of service providers? OR do you mean significant assistance including opinions or recommendations?

I would give forms to an unrepresented buyer who wanted to purchase a property I had listed. I would help them fill out the forms, even point out tho them the process, how it works, what they are typically supposed to do. But I would do everything possible to be sure that they understood that I represented the seller, and not them.
Your situation of creating a dual agency agreement is what I refer to when I say that the listing agent is taking on additional risk. Even if they are properly informed that the agent does not represent them, buyers will sometimes try to claim, after the fact, that they relied upon the information from that listing agent to make their decisions. This is one of the significant reasons that many listing agents, myself included, will often not agree to a reduction in commission if the buyer is unrepresented.
A listing agent SHOULD disclose right up front that they represent the seller of the property and cannot effectively represent the buyer of the same property. As such, they can work with that buyer as an unrepresented buyer, or they can perhaps refer them to another agent, who does not know the details of the sellers situation. If it's an agent in their own company (as would be likely) they would still be dual agents - so long as buyer & seller understood that and were amenable - but each would have no details about the confidential situation of the other.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,963 posts, read 41,943,862 times
Reputation: 24641
Since you are first time homebuyers, definitely have an agent to represent your interests. If you use the seller's agent, you are simply stepping into the situation that you said you were uncomfortable with with your first buyer's agent (and here in Texas, a buyer or seller can opt out of intermediary, which is what we have here when a buyer wants to buy a listing that is with the broker - not necessarily the specific agent, since all listing and buyer's contracts are with the broker, not the agent). Granted, your buyer's agent was unprofessional if the only reason she didn't wish to work with you was that you didn't want dual agency. If you told her that you wanted to buy that house but did not want dual agency, you put her in a position where her only option would be to decline to work with you further, because she already represents the seller, and in that case she wouldn't be being unprofessional at all (except for commenting that you didn't trust her, which is).

But, whatever happened in that situation, you DO need your own representation to protect your interests and guide you through the maze that is home buying.

If you were experienced at buying homes, had two or three deals under your belt, I might say that you could get along with a real estate attorney to advise you on the legalities, but not for a first time home buyer. Too many things can go wrong along the way that you wouldn't recognize until after they bit you.

As for the commission, if the house you want to buy is listed with an agent, then what's been said above applies - the listing agent's commission is already agreed upon with the seller. Another thing to consider is that if there is not a buyer's agent to pay, and the commission is cut due to that even though the listing agent is taking on the buyer's agent's side of the work and risk, the buyer is not necessarily going to be the one to get that money - the seller may very well consider that the savings should be theirs (this frequently happens in FSBO situations where both parties think, if there's no agent involved, that THEY should be the one to benefit).

Bottom line, this time around, get your own buyer's agent. Later, after you've done this a few times, the answer might be different, depending on the circumstances.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Central Virginia
4 posts, read 9,827 times
Reputation: 12
Default First home without an agent

Be VERY aware and educated about what you agree to. Just helped a client unwind a very one sided contract that would have had him paying for and maintaining by himself the road through the entire subdivision because his home was the last one on the road. Sellers theory was that since this parcel used the road the most (greatest distance traveled) it should be that owners sole responsibility.
Be very, very careful if you choose to go it alone.
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