Home Buying in Kenmore>Question Details

Karen Yan, Home Buyer in Tampa, FL

Benefit of working with a realtor to buy.

Asked by Karen Yan, Tampa, FL Tue Mar 10, 2009

I would be intersted in any & all feedback on this. We're relocating to the Buffalo area in the summer and plan to purchase a house. What is the benefit of working with a realtor now, as opposed to just looking myself & calling the listing agent when we see something we're very interested in?
I mean, the way I see it, we can just look at the MLS listings online, take our time, not waste anyone else's time, and then call the listing agent when we're very interested in a house. I would think that the realtor would be even more motivated to negotiate our offer with the sellers as they would not have to share the commision. Plus we would be buying the house outright, (no mortgage).
Thank you. Karen, Tampa, Florida

Help the community by answering this question:


One thing I will add is that you should consider buyer's agency. In order for your realtor to truely work in your best interest is to have him or her represent you. New York State law says that a realtor must disclose and may work with a buyer as a customer or client. As a customer, the agent owes you fair dealings, but his fiduciary is to the home owner. In other words, he works for the home owner as does the listing agent. The other option, and best in my opinion is for you to be the client of the agent. That we he or she owes their fiduciary to you and will work in your best interest for the best terms and conditions.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Three reasons, to pick a single agent and work with him/her. First, it is convient to you, everytime you have a question you know who to contact, you know who you are dealing with, and have a single source to contact to see anyhome, it will get tiring to call multiple agents to see mulitple homes. Secondly you can get proper professional representation finding a buyers agent who knows the market can educate you on market conditions average values, standard inspections and processes is a big advantage to you as a buyer.
Thirdly you will be dealing with someone you know, like, and trust . I don't know about you but most people prefer to buy something that significant from someone who they feel knows a little about them and cares about the result, Dealing with 1 agent that you know, like and trust, will take away any chance you are dealing with a lisitng agent who does not work for your interest but the sellers, and not be as helpful to you as you would like.
Web Reference: http://www.c21jerry.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
that's if they call you back
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 8, 2010
Hello Karen...Have you made the move yet
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 8, 2010
good luck feel free to contact me if you want to sit down and dicuss what you are doing next time your in the area, no obligation, no costs,
Web Reference: http://www.c21jerry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Karen: I understand your frustration as I went through the same thing when I purchased property in Florida. I discovered that it varies from county to county but many brokers will only be a Transaction Broker which means they don't represent the seller nor the buyer. I fired a few before I found one who wanted to work the way I wanted them to. New York State is more strict than many other states in looking out for the consumer. If you don't sign a buyer agency agreement you can dump them if you are not satisfied.
Moving is stressful enough and buying a home should be exciting and a happy experience. If you are unsure, rent for a time while you check out some agents and have them show you some properties. You don't have to be obligated to any one agent if you do not sign an agreement. Give it some though.
Joe Sorrentino
Associate Real Estate Broker
MJ Peterson Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Thank you all very much for all of your opinions, insights, etc. It has given me a lot of food for thought.
Patrick, in Bufffalo I don't think many realtors are going to be making tens of thousands of dollars, unless they sell a house on the short strip of Millionaire's Row. From my research, I can get a very decent house in the Kenmore/Buffalo area for about 100-130K.
Regarding an attorney, it's my understanding that we must hire an attorney when purchasing a house in NY, and that they do the same job that title companies do in Florida.

Now the reason I'm hesitant to work with a realtor right away. Yes, there are plenty of educated and professional realtors, but I'm sure many realtors on the board would agree that there are others that just do it for a hobby, or don't listen to the client, thus making the profession less than it is. Our past experiences have been with the latter. I cannot believe that the realtors that we've worked with in past purchases have had our best interest at heart.
We've had a realtor initiate a very ignorant debate with the home inspector as the inspector was pointing out to us any issues of the house. Another realtor we asked repeatedly not to call during the day as husband works nights and sleeps. (this was over 10 years ago before cell phones were common.) He kept calling daily for trivial issues that could have waited. When we were adamant about a tile roof vs. shingle, he told us, a shingle roof is just fine.

Jerry, it would be nice, but we would be naive to automatically like & trust a realtor (or anyone) right off the bat. That great rapport would have to be built. By no means am I saying that we would look at the realtor as an adversary. We would definitely give the benefit of the doubt with some caution.
Another reason I'm hesitant to work with a realtor right now. I would feel bad if the realtor put some time/effort into researching for us, and then we ended up finding a house For Sale By Owner on Craig's List or somewhere. That would have really wasted their time.

One more thing I want to mention for what it's worth.
We spend most of the Summer in Upstate NY, so the last 3 years we've been scoping out the neighborhoods. A year and a half ago,,,,,,,,,, we found, "the perfect house" on Argonne in Kenmore. The listing agent showed it. We told her that we are very interested in the house, and that we will put our Florida house on the market ASAP I asked her twice that if the house is sold / contract pending, to please just give me a call, so we know, can accept it and relax. We returned to Florida early, worked diligently on expediting fixups and getting the house listed. Our plan was to rent it out until Summer 2009. 3 weeks after we met with her, we had the house listed and we called her to make a contingency offer. She hesitated and then said, "The house is now sold, but if there's anything else I can do for you.........." If she would have taken 3 minutes to give us a courtesy call, so we could stop rushing.....then we would be working with her right now. Because she listened to us.

Thank you again for all of your feedback on this. I have just found this board and appreciate the great advice that realtors are taking the time to give to everyone.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Karen. I would advise you to have a qualified realtor assist you in your move to Buffalo. No one is telling you lies. You should always be careful of anyone you hire, including attorneys. You will find that an experienced well educated realtor who lives and works in your area of interst will be able to help you secure the property you are looking for. You can also find a qualified attorney to work with you to handle the contract. I am not sure what realtors are doing in Washington state, but here in New York, you will find Realtors who are educated and professional. It is also not common to get a discount on commission. The home owner lists at a certain commission percent and signs an agreement with the listing agent that shows what percentage from the total gets paid out to the agent that delivers the buyer. It is also highly unlikely that a New York attorney is going to give anyone money back. New York relies heavily on the multiple listing service, so you can get started searching on your own. A qualified realtor should live and work in the town you are interested in and know the inventory as well as the community. You can pull homes and get a feeling of what you are looking for first, get yourself pre-approved for a loan so you can shop with confidence and be ready to make a qualified offer. Finally, I suggest that you interview a few NY realtors and verify their credentials. Florida does not have buyer and seller agency as in New York. The realtors and attorneys work closely together here. A good realtor should help you to locate the most desirable property type and location for you in you price range. They should be able to pull comparative sales for the area to help you negotiate the best price and terms. They should then deliver the offering to your attorney with all of this in writing so that the attorney can work the contract to bring the deal to closing. The realtor should not charge you. He or she should be paid from the total commission as is customary here. The attorney usually charges a flat fee with possible minor charges for over night mail and such.
Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009

while it is aprreciated that a number folks like patrick, are making statements about agents ethics and what is right or wrong it should be noted that perhaps they should consult the local standards and practices of the board of realtors and perhaps even the westen new york bar association if they are going to try and tell you what is correct and not correct here in Western New York,

standards and laws as well as the roles of attorneys and brokers vary throughout the country, many of the answers you are seeing are from local agents who know this market and practices here, it may be differnt where Patrick lives,
Web Reference: http://www.c21jerry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Thank you Patrick for documenting your response. I hope you are licensed in NY. If so, you just violated the NAR code of ethics and if you are NOT licensed in New York State, you just violated NYS Real Property Law by practicing real estate without a license.

Karen: if you would like some straight, legal answers go to: http://www.dos.state.ny.us/ This is the NY State department that governs real estate licensing and practitioners.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Hi Karen: I will try to answer this question as simply as possible and I am sure other real estate agents will be responding to your question as well.
The most important thing is this: Do you want someone looking out for YOUR best interests or the sellers?
A listing agent or seller's agent has loyalty and confidentiality to the seller. A buyer agent has loyalty and a Fiduciary Obligation to the buyer. A dual agent has to remain neutral. A dual agent with designated agency means that the broker represents both parties (one is the listing, one is the buyer agent, not the same agent however) but each agent is specifically appointed to represent either the buyer or the seller.
Looking on your own? You have access to homes that are posted on the internet on various consumer-based web sites. Realtors have up to the minute information in the Multiple Listing System which means that you many not have access to the newest listings and there also may be properties on the web sites that are sold and still showing up for sale on the internet sites.
You are assuming that there would be a negotiable fee. That is up to the listing broker. Finally, are you getting a relocation package? If there has to be a third party relocation company involved, they will refer you to a broker or at least require you to have a buyer agent represent you and, that broker has to pay a referral fee to the relocation company. So, the idea of reducing the commission may not be an option.
If you have any specific questions you may e-mail me direct at joe@joesorrentino.com

Joe Sorrentino
MJ Peterson Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Hi Karen
Let me preface this by saying I am a mortgage banker not a realtor. So I'm hoping a little outside perspective (but with inside knowledge) can help you.

First off, actual MLS listings are not all online. What I mean by that is that to have full access to MLS listings you have to be a realtor, so what you see online is probably not a full representation of what is available.

Second, dealing with a single agent who is focused on your wants and needs will make it easier on you and they can do the work of weeding out homes that don't meet your criteria so you are not wasting time.

And last and most important, you want someone representing YOU in the transaction. The listing agent's obligation is first and foremost to the seller and the listing agent is looking out for the seller's best interest, not yours. Just because they don't have to split the commission does not mean they are going to reduce it or get it knocked off the price. While an agent may salivate over the thought of "double-dipping" a commission, that particular interest may not necessarily result in the type of "motivation" you think it will. Look at it this way, if you were getting a divorce would both of you use the same divorce attorney? No way! My point is you want representation and someone who will look out for YOUR best interests.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 10, 2009
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer