Home Buying in Valley Stream>Question Details

Rainbow, Home Buyer in Valley Stream, NY

Directly contacting seller's agent vs. hiring buyers agent?

Asked by Rainbow, Valley Stream, NY Tue Feb 1, 2011

I think I found the neighborhood where I want to buy my home but the question is do I look for the houses for-sale on sites like trulia etc... and contact the real estate agent listed or do I hire an agent who will liaise with the other agent in buying process?

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Answers

37
Ellen & Doc Stephens’ answer
Hi, Rainbow,

See http://www.trulia.com/blog/ellen_doc_stephens_realtors/2010/… for the complete answer. Think about the difference between walking into a car dealership to buy a car, and dealing with their top sales person, or walking in with their ex-sales manager on your arm, and letting that pro negotiate the deal for you. Which way do you think you will come out best?

Doc
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 28, 2011
Wow, this question popped up again....

Rainbow, you need your own agent. There is a fee in that transaction, any transaction, and it will likely not go down if you have your own agent, your own "representation." I would never, ever recommend buying directly from the seller's agent. You are not protected and the sellers agent is looking out for the seller. A true buyer's agent, or exclusive buyer's agent, will save you more in many ways that they will "cost" you. If you want more info google "dual agency problems" and go to http://www.NAEBA.org. You will understand if you do this, I promise. BTW, if you were getting sued you wouldn't use the attorney of the person suing you, would you? Same idea.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hi, Rainbow,

All good answers. Lawyers have a saying, "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client." Also true in Real Estate. Here's why.

Having a second set of experienced eyes and ears helps you to avoid serious mistakes. Your agent should be your trusted counselor. He or she should know the neighborhoods you like, know REAL values there, know what to ask for, Negotiate the best price and terms for you, protect you from problems, etc. You wouldn't do your own surgery, would you? Buying a home is a huge investment and requires all the help you can get.

See my blog entry for a complete discussion: http://www.trulia.com/blog/ellen_doc_stephens_realtors/2010/…

Good luck,

Doc Stephens, REALTOR
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 8, 2011
I would strongly recommend having your own Buyer's agent representing your own interests.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
Contact
Rainbow, I would recommend two things, first of all, talk to a few agents and see who you would like to work with. Although most agents do like to have you sign a buyer's broker agreement, it is not as common here as in other parts of the country because we use attorneys to negotiate contracts, the realtors don't do it. Most agents are happy to work with you without a signed agreement, but to do the right thing, you should be loyal to whoever you choose. You can also look at homes on the public mls website for Long Island, http://www.mlsli.com. Everything on that is accurate, or as accurate as can be, and you won't be looking at homes that are no longer on the market but are still listed.
Most importantly, although you may not be, I assume you are a first time home buyer and will be looking to take out a mortgage. What you need to do at this stage is also to find a loan officer you like to work with, and guide you through the process. First, you want to make sure you are in the right price range, and that you can qualify for what you want to buy. I would be happy to do that for you. I can be contacted through my profile here, or by phone at 516-972-1687. I am familiar with all areas of Long Island, and can help you out with many things along the way. Good luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Commission is negotiated by the seller and his/her agent, if two agents are involved in the transaction, the commission is shared and paid at closing out of the proceeds of the sale--if you have an agreement with your agent to pay above what the seller is already offering then you pay the difference...if you do sign an agreement, it can be short term and renewable as you go along--but first and foremost make sure you like each other, as you will be spending some time together...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hi Rainbow,
There are many reasons to get your own agent, number one can be the hassle factor.

Every time you call a different listing agent, having to explain your prreapproval or cash situation, asking about the pretty to see if it fits your needs, you get the idea.

With a buyers agent, you explain this ONCE.

As a buyers agent, I view homes even when don't have a client in tow. I view homes every week of every month. I do this full time. When a buyer comes up, I am confident of the homes in the area, I have seen them, and they will only see the homes they WANT to see.

If they are out of state, I take photos of my walk thrus for them if the online photos are lacking...these are things a buyers agent can do for you.

Handy, right?

Good luck, hope this helps!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Hi Rainbow,

Many people do contact the listing agent to show them individual homes to buy. However, not only are you working with many different agents, the listing agent has both a fiduciary and confidentiality duty to tthe seller, not the buyer - specifically, this agent's main job is to sell the home for the MOST money to the BEST buyer with terms that are in the Sellers best interest!

A Buyer Representative (commonly called a Buyer Broker) works for YOU! You would work with 1 agent who will show you homes that match your criteria. Her/his job is to negotiate the best deal, which includes price and terms, for YOU and present you as a buyer in the best possible light to the seller! Additionally, the Buyer Broker will research homes that may not be available on the MLS for you and will also answer many of your questions regarding the condition of the home, even if it is not in the seller's best interest. In all but the most rare situations, the commission is paid from the transaction, as it is when dealing with the listing broker, so it won't cost you additional money and, in fact, the negotiations on your behalf could save you thousands of dollars. Think of it this way, if you could buy a Chevy or a Lexus for the same money - which would you chose?

If you would like additional information about the many other services that a Buyer Broker provides, please contact me. As a Certified Buyer Representative, I work in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties and am both educated and qualified to answer your questions.

Regards,
Arlynn

Arlynn B. Palmer, ESQ, SRES, CBR, CMS, CNS
Associate Broker, REALTOR
CERTIFIED BUYER REPRESENTATIVE
Coldwell Banker Claire Sobel

Direct: (516)410-3594
Email: Arlynn@ArlynnPalmer.com
Web Reference: http://www.ArlynnPalmer.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
The listing agent (Seller's agent) has a professional, ethical, financial and moral obligation to represent the seller.

By all means, have a Realtor represent YOU!
Web Reference: http://gailgladstone.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Rainbow
There's nothing wrong with contacting the selling agent. But you must realize that he/she represents the seller and is trying to get the highest price when negotiating. If you hire a buyers agent that agent represents your interests and will try to negotiate the lowest possible price for you. He/she will also keep you informed with any information about the property or transaction, again with the intention of fostering your interests. In fact I just recently worked with a buyer who found me here on Trulia. I became their buyer agent and we soon found a home they liked and will be purchasing. If you need any additional information please contact me. If you are ready to find your home I can be your buyer agent also. I work in Queens and Nassau counties. I am also a Certified Residential Appraiser. Good luck on your journey. I hope you find your pot of gold(home) at the end of your rainbow.
Allen Bauman
Century21 Yve R.E.
Licensed R. E. Agent
NYS Certified Residential Appraiser
516-791-3846
allen.bauman@gmail.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Why not consider interviewing a few agents, or as many as needed, from different realty companies, then choose the one you like best--ask about scheduling around your needs, who will choose the properties to be seen, can you expect updates on new listings and recently sold properties, and how often will communication occur, etc; ask about current sales in your areas of interest, etc. Be aware that a mortgage pre-approval letter is required in order to determine your price range and for any offers to be taken seriously.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
I would definitely suggest hiring a buyer's agent for yourself. I'm not sure of the laws in NY, but in Massachusetts, if you elect to use a dual agent, he/she basically has to become neutral in the transaction. So, you really have no representation. The seller's agent is normally not able to run comparisons for you to help you write an offer, etc. Also, much to many people's surprise, you most likely won't get a better deal on the property. The seller normally signs a contract for a certain percentage commission regardless of whether there is one or two agents involved. At times, agents will have in the contract a reduced commission if they act as the only agent, but I still don't believe it will result in a better price. Hiring your own representation is normally free to you, so I would highly recommend you do so.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Hello,
We have a law in Colorado that allows an agent to become a transaction broker, representing both. Without getting into the details, it is possible for an agent to represent both sides. It can be tricky. For a first-time buyer, I generally wouldn't recommend it. A purchase from a builder often is done without a buyer's agent and I have less of a problem with contractors. In that case, the builder has a reputation on the line. If you know the housing industry, you know it is very competitive and an unsatisfied customer can be very destructive to a reputation.

Hiring someone who will be in your corner makes sense for reasons already stated. The agent often brings valuable experience to the picture - and it is important that the agent is working for you when you come up against the inevitable issue that has to be resolved.

Best,
Suz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 13, 2012
Rainbow,
You've gotten good advice, and I will add to it with similar advice. You want an agent who will be objective in your purchase, and while agents are capable of being dual agents it is often recommended that buyers have their own representation. As was mentioned I would recommend interviewing several agents and seeing who you mesh with best, that agent will be able to show you other homes that are on the market.

Best of luck to you in your purchase!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 28, 2011
In New York when you work with a real estate agent you have two options available to you. You can select the agency relationship that you are most comfortable with in regards to purchasing a home. Both options will allow you to purchase a home and both are often used.

It is all based on New York State agency relationship. The agent can work with you as a Sellers Agent or they can work with you as a Buyers Agent. The real estate agent is required to review this form with you at the first point of contact. On that form it describes the differences in the relationship duties offered to you by the agent according to New York License Law. Both Seller Agency and Buyer Agency describes in whose best interest the agent is working for, either the seller of the buyer.

As a Sellers Agent the real estate agent is working for the sellers best interest and is working fairly and honestly with the buyer. As a Buyers Agent the real estate agent is working in the buyers best interest and is working fairly and honestly with the seller. Speak with a knowledgeable agent who works as a Buyers Agent and Sellers Agent and they can review the details and that information will help you decide with relationship is best for you. I have buyers who choose both and they are always for personal reasons that they feel most comfortable with. The choice is yours!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 28, 2011
Hi Rainbow,
Definately you should work with a Buyers Agent who will represent you & guide you through the entire process. If you choose to have the listing agent represent you & the seller in the same transaction that is called "Dual Agency" & both parties must agree to this arrangement. Throughout the transaction the dual agent 's position must be one of neutrality: which means the agent cannot favor one party over the other, cannot offer negotiation assistance, and cannot disclose the confidential & personal information of either party to the other. A buyer's agent Works Only For The Buyer & will help you get the best deal & avoid costly mistakes. Also, the beauty of working with a Buyers Agent is that the seller still pays the commission. You will have full representation & it won't cost you a cent.

Alice Fuller
Long & Foster
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 20, 2011
You should hire an agent to work for you, the same way a seller hires a realtor to work for the. Everyone should have their own representation and a good buyers agent will be able to help you as well as explain the whole process to you.

Good Luck
Stacy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
Hi Rainbow,

It's crucial that you have your own agent because on some short sales the listing agent cannot be compensated for representing both the seller and buyer. Loss mitigators/negotiators for banks want to see two different realtors on a short sale deal.

Also bank owned listing agents often get bombarded with buyers who are not working with a Realtor and by the time they call you back the best deals will already be under contract by a buyer loyally working with their own agent.

Good luck on your search!

All my best,
Alma
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 9, 2011
Rainbow,

Find a buyer's agent, tell them what neighborhood you like, have them set up showings for you and take you to them, then have them research the neighborhood and prices in the neighborhood. Use them, abuse them, and let them work for you to help you get the best deal and to help you through the process. If you have questions before you've even looked at a home, you'll have many many more after you have.

Remember:

Your Buyers agent works for YOU, represents YOU, and YOUR best interest.

The Sellers agent works for the SELLER, represents the SELLER, and the SELLER'S best interest.

Marcin Talaga
Marcin@Conlonrealestate.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hello Rainbow,

It sounds as if you are starting the process of possibly becoming a first time home buyer.....so first off Congratulations! It appears you have narrowed down some of your options concerning neighborhoods, however to answer your question. It would be in your best interest to "hire" or really, seek the advice and guidance of a buyer's agent. That persons primary job is to inform, advise, consult and share all of your options with you. They also have your best interest at heart while they interact with the agent on the other side (who has the seller's best interest at heart).

Protect yourself as you embark on one of the most important decision some of us make in our lives.

Anita L. Cox
REALTOR
William E. Wood & Associates
(757) 268-8856
anitalcox@yahoo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 8, 2011
Hi Rainbow,

Congratulations on your decision to buy a home. Buying a home is a huge purchase so you want to make sure you are properly represented in the transaction, especially if you are a first time buyer. Even if you find the home or the neighborhood you want on your own, it is always a good idea to hire a buyers agent to negotiate on your behalf. This doesn't stop you from looking for houses on Trulia and other sites. The agent can take you on neighborhhood and town tours. They can educate you about pricing trends in the town, transportation, available services, etc. If you have already started visiting open houses, talk to agents sitting at the open house and see if you like any of those agents.

I work in Rockland County NY, but if you have any additional questions about the sales process feel free to contact me for advice.

Maureen McEnroe
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Prudential Joyce Realty
914-588-1873
mmcenroe@prudentialjoyce.com



Maur
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 6, 2011
Rainbow, regarding your question on 02-04.....

1) Find an agent who doesn't take ANY listings....yes they exist, I am one.

or

2) Find an agent who takes few listings but works with a lot of buyers.

or

3) Find and agent who does NOT list in that area and/or one who is affiliated with a smaller brokerage that doesn't have a lot of listings in that area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 4, 2011
Hi Rainbow

I'm not going to go into detail concerning the scenario you presented because that will be even more confusing than the previous discussion. My question to you is this: since you perceive a conflict of interest working with a buyers agent from the same office why would you consider hiring an agent from that office? Speak to buyer agents from non-affiliated offices and choose the one you are most comfortable with(that would probably be me!).
Allen Bauman
Century21 Yve Realty
Licensed R.E. Agent
NYS Certified Residential Appraiser
516-791-3846
allen.bauman@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 4, 2011
Also, how do I know if the buyer's agent I hire is going to be working for my best interest when he/she might be affiliated with the same real estate company to which seller's agent is affiliated?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 4, 2011
>>There's nothing wrong with contacting the selling agent. But you must realize that he/she represents the seller and is trying to get the highest price when negotiating.

Uh, Allen, you just contradicted yourself. Sounds like there's everything wrong with contacting the seller's agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hi Rainbow,

Yes - this can get confusing! Again, in general, the commission is paid out of the transaction. Even when hiring a Buyer Broker and signing a contract it is the extremely RARE situation where a buyer will pay the commission separately. I do not know what transpired between your friend and her/his broker nor what was in the contract that they signed. Why don't you contact me and let's discuss this at length. I can certainly understand how concerned you are about this concept. Of course, there is no obligation on your part - I would just like the opportunity to educate you so that you can then make an informed decision about which direction to take as you start this exciting process of purchasing your home.

Regards,
Arlynn

Arlynn B. Palmer, ESQ, SRES, CBR, CMS, CNS
Associate Broker, REALTOR
CERTIFIED BUYER REPRESENTATIVE
Coldwell Banker Claire Sobel

Direct: (516)410-3594
Email: Arlynn@ArlynnPalmer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Thanks Anna, that's helpful info.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hi Rainbow
I'm sorry my previous answer was not clear enough. Your friends experience will not necessarily be your experience. Each journey is different for each buyer. But let me be clear, if you don't sign the buyer agency agreement then you do not technically have a buyer agent. The agent has to represent someone or both of you. If you do not sign the buyer agency agreement then the agent will represent the seller. He can choose seller agency or broker agency(no need to explain it's just a technicality since they are both a form of seller representation). As I wrote in the previous answer, New York State has a mandatory form which you will initial that is an acknowledgment by you that the agent has explained the different types of agency to you and whether he represents you or the seller. I don't know what happened with your friend but it is very rare that an additional commission is paid separately. Most of the time the entire commission is added to the sales price and disbursed by the lender at the closing to the agents.
If this is still not clear please call me so we can discuss this or any other questions directly without waiting in this forum for answers and questions to be posted.
Allen Bauman
Century21 Yve Realty
Licensed R.E. Agent
NYS Certified Residential Appraiser
516-791-3846
allen.bauman@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hi Arlynn,

I saw your response last night as well where you mentioned:
"It is an extremely rare occassion (which I have never experienced) where the commission is not paid from the transaction and is paid out of the buyer's pocket"

I had a chat with a friend who bought a house recently (first time) who didn't have very good experience with his buyers agent and ended up paying the agent from his pocket. He advised not to sign ANY contract with the agent based on his experience.

When I asked how does the commission work, I meant to understand from transaction stand point. for example, I buy a house for $300k, this would be the purchase price the other cost that adds would be the closing cost about 3-5% (right?). Now, do I pay additional agent commission as part of the transaction or is it included in the purchase price?

Sorry but I'm again getting mixed message when I read Allen's response and would like to hear from as many professionals here to understand the process before contacting an individual buyer's agent to help me find a house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hi Rainbow,

I know that how an agent gets paid from the transaction can be confusing. In general all agents are paid from the transaction - that means that whether you work with a listing agent or a buyer broker, the commission is paid by the buyer as part of the sales price. The reason that a buyer would want to work with his/her own agent is that one of the ways in which the agent will work for the buyer is by negotiating a lower total price and better terms for the purchase on behalf of that buyer. The agent and buyer do sign a contract which lists the commission that the buyer will pay - and, in it's most simplistic terms, it is the agent's job to negotiate that commission as part of the purchase price. It is an extremely rare occassion (which I have never experienced) where the commission is not paid from the transaction and is paid out of the buyer's pocket.

Again, let me stress, that a Buyer Broker works for YOU the buyer and a listing agent works for the seller. Since you will pay the commission in the purchase price either way, isn't it better to have the agent working with your best interests in mind?

There are so many more questions involved with Buyer Brokerage that I would enjoy discussing with you. Please contact me for the answers!

Regards,
Arlynn

Arlynn B. Palmer, ESQ, SRES, CBR, CMS, CNS
Associate Broker, REALTOR
CERTIFIED BUYER REPRESENTATIVE
Coldwell Banker Claire Sobel

Direct: (516)410-3594
Email: Arlynn@ArlynnPalmer.com
Web Reference: http://www.mlsstratus.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Can I ask how does the fee or commission for buyer's agent work?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 2, 2011
Hello again Rainbow,
Your question is very reminiscent of the conversation many agents had when buyer agency started to become more popular here in New York many years ago. Most of us were confused in the same way. But essentially this is how it works. You must sign an exclusive Buyer Agency agreement to establish your relationship with the office you are working with. The agent must explain to you the difference in types of agency established(buyer, seller, dual). You will then sign an agency disclosure form which is required by the State of New York.
Some of the previous answers may be a little misleading. You are responsible for paying the commission. You may even be asked to pay a small up front fee to the office. But as for the commission, the mechanism for payment is that the dollar amount of the commission is established by the buyer agent and the buyer and this amount is added to the price and paid to the buyer agents office by the bank at the time of closing. Sometime the seller agents office limits the amount of the commission that may be added to an amount less than the seller agent is getting or less than the buyer agent is willing to work for. In that case the buyer will be asked to authorize payment of the difference and pay it separately.
This may all sound confusing so just remember that in a buyer agency the buyer is responsible for paying the buyer agent/broker the commission whether or not it is added to the price of the home. Once again, good luck.
P.S.: I just noticed that your profile indicates home buyer, Queens. The question indicates 'Home buying in Valley Stream'. Which neighborhood are you buying in? As I indicated before I sell in Nassau and Queens counties. I live in Valley Stream. If that is where you are buying call me to ask any questions.
Allen Bauman
Century21 Yve R.E.
Licensed R.E. Agent
NYS Certified Residential Appraiser
516-791-3846
allen.bauman@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Thanks All, I really see some excellent points being mentioned by several of the professionals here. I'm quite convinced in working with a buyer's agent who can do the legwork for me however it's not really clear who pays this buyer's agent?

It might sound silly but... if the buyer's agent gets his/her commission from the sale of a house by working out with the seller's agent than how will this buyer's agent represent buyer's interest and not his/her own when he/she is not really getting anything from the buyer but instead from seller's agent or seller may be?

Also, is it required to sign a contract with the buyer's agent in New York?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Hi Rainbow-
The seller's agent works in the best interests of the seller, a buyer's agent works for the buyer. Effective 1.1.11, revised NY State law allows agents to now work as dual agents, with the agent being a somewhat neutral party. That's really oversimplifying it, but by finding an agent to you're comfortable working with, he can do all the legwork for you. That's one reason you use an agent.

Good Luck!
William Hartmann
Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate
516.327.6203
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Rainbow;
The agent on the listing is representing the owner.
You should have representation when purchasing your home; and, in almost all cases, there is no charge for the service (The owner pays the entire commission to the listing and the selling agent).
Find a local Real Estate agent that you feel comfortable working with and good luck.
Web Reference: http://www.321property.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Rainbow:

I feel that an experienced buyer's agent will make you money and save your time. I recommend interviewing and hiring an exclusive rep. You can still look for yourself and then have your agent make the appointment. The agent in today's world does more than just find the property. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
Hi Rainbow!

You should most definitely get a Realtor to represent you. It's FREE to you, the seller pays the buyers agent. Within the next day or so there will be plenty of great agents to assist you right here on Trulia. Don't worry, you don't have to look for them, they will find you!


Best of luck!


Jonas Mancuso
Remax / Lakeland
http://www.talktohouston.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 1, 2011
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