You’re thoroughly searching for homes and a listing finally jumps out at you. You want immediate information and notice a listing agent’s photo with a phone number. You make a call and he/she is very helpful. They assure you this can be your last stop for an agent. They can show you the home, be your agent through the process, and even submit your offer for you.
Now, do you:
- Accept their proposition and use them as your agent.
- Run like the wind, Bullseye!
Well, the answer is actually:
- It’s a free country and you can choose whatever agent you’d like to represent you, BUT I’m going to tell you why you DO NOT want to use the listing agent as you real estate representative.
“I can show you this house!”
Most houses that are currently for sale in our local real estate market have signs out front displaying different real estate agencies. These homes also have lock boxes on the front doors to discourage unwanted guests. Note that just because a certain agency is on that for sale sign, doesn’t mean it’s the only agency that has access to the home. Any licensed agent can show any home at any time, as long as it shows “for sale” on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Don’t take the initiative in attending open houses, or walk- throughs , or even going through “show” homes without first getting YOUR own personal agent. If you use that listing agent you may end up liable for commission payment that the seller usually ahs to pay for at the end of the home buying process. This is due to an issue called “Procuring Cause.” This is when “interactions occur between a prospective client and a real estate agent that entitles the agent to a commission percentage upon your purchase of the home.” If a buyer has worked with multiple agents during the search for a home, it can lead to disputes over which agent is ultimately responsible for helping the buyer obtain the home. Using a listing agent to show you a home that you eventually purchase (even if you don’t stick with them as your agent) almost always leads to a claim of procuring cause.
“I can represent you and start on writing an offer today!”
Ok. Um, a listing agent works for the seller first and foremost. If the agent is out to get the most money he possibly can for his seller, how is he supposed to get you an offer for the least amount of money that you want to pay out?
Simply stated, he isn’t. It’s not going to happen. It’s not even possible.
OF COURSE, they will want to represent both the buyer and the seller. Who wouldn’t want a double commission pay day? KA-CHING! Are you starting to understand better? You’d need your own representation in a court of law, and you need your own representation in the area of home buying.
There’s obviously only one option for you. Get your OWN real estate agent. The realtor you choose could even be in the same company as the listing agent, just not the exact one. (Although I don’t think I’d even be comfortable with that situation). The best thing to do is find your real estate agent before you even begin your search. Find an agent before you start looking through real estate web sites. Find an agent before you call to inquire about a for sale sign in a front yard. Find an agent before you stop and grab a flyer from the little plastic box. FIND YOUR AGENT FIRST!
It isn’t difficult to find quality representation. Agents are available in an abundance right in your own area. You can try the phone book, websites, or even a park bench. (Hey, they advertise everywhere!) Call a few you think you might like and chat with them a bit. See who you have the most chemistry with. You’ll know the real deal real estate agent when you find him or her. Let the agent work for you in guiding where you need to be. Just make sure it’s ONLY you they are representing about the home.