Home Buying in 94558>Question Details

Susanne, Both Buyer and Seller in San Francisco, CA

A property 2 B sold at Sheriff's auct. in SF Bay Area is on MLS. Is it wrong 2 have list. agent show you home if they won't get a

Asked by Susanne, San Francisco, CA Tue Nov 16, 2010

commission on sale? Is it improper to complete a showing with the listing agent under these circumstances? The home is scheduled for sale by the county Sheriff soon. My husband and I are seriously considering making a bid at that time; the hope being that we might buy under market.
We understand it is our responsibility to conduct our due diligence, so we want to see inside the property to make certain there are no costly issues awaiting a new owner. But, it doesn't seem right to misrepresent our intentions and take the listing realtor's time if we have no intention of buying in a way that earns them a commission. Could we agree to pay a fee? How do auction bidders generally handle this delicate property access issue?
Also, any referrals for Northern California realtors experienced with buying on the courthouse steps greatly appreciated! Even better if the individual is an attorney as well. Course, we would pay this professional for their time and assistance as they bill.

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Richard Littlefield’s answer
All things are negotiable, if the agent is willing to do that for free, they are big enough to know what they are doing. As long you are upfront, it is only wrong if you use the agents time and services and secretly plan on using and paying another agent. Yes you can pay them for their time as well.

Do your homework on what the rules of the autcions are, when can you inspect the home, when can you back out if you find something going on that is not acceptable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
I recently took a client (mid Oct ) to the Courthouse steps and helped her with the process and she made the winning bid on a large property. She had signed a separate agreement regarding a Commission that only involved this property and we were very pleased with the results. I had previously let her preview the property ( my listing ) and obtained disclosures that helped make her decision. I would be glad to do the same if the situation exists.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 17, 2010
It certainly seems unfair to use an agent's time if you have no intention of using their services so they get paid.

Just because the home is scheduled to go to auction, doesn't mean that it will. So if you really want the property you should work with the agent (or one of your own choosing) so you have access to the property; so you know what you are buying; so he/she can represent your interests in the purchas; and so you can have inspections to discover exactly what conditions exist.

Auctions are for the professional investor, not the uninitiated. You should be smart here--find an agent to represent you and make an offer that your are comfortable with. If your offer fails, you can always try again at the auction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
I admire your ethics--your concern about the commission.

First, with whomever you deal with, be absolutely honest. Explain what your strategy is. It's entirely possible you'll get an agent to show you the property anyway. They'll figure, perhaps correctly, that you might like the home so much that you're willing to make an offer on it now. Or that you won't succeed at auction, but will be interested in using their services for another property.

As for whether to make that request of the listing agent . . . I'd advise against it. The listing agent represents the seller, not you. In many areas of the country (I don't know about California) it's entirely legal for an agent to represent both parties. And, with full disclosure, it's perfectly ethical. Still, as a practical matter, it doesn't serve your interests as well as having your own agent.

As for paying a fee: Sure, that's a possibility. Whatever agreement you and the agent agree to should work.

Bottom line: As your instincts suggest, don't mislead the agent. Be absolutely honest. But I'm sure that you'll be able to work something out.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
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