Home Buying in Staten Island>Question Details

Jim Jones, Home Buyer in Brooklyn, NY

How do I find an agent that will not scam my family, that will work for me and not the seller? I am afraid of getting scammed. Thank You....

Asked by Jim Jones, Brooklyn, NY Wed Feb 23, 2011

Trustworthy Agent

Help the community by answering this question:


First of all, I'm sorry that you're concerned about getting "scammed". Most real estate agents are honest and ethical and do their jobs with great pride. Even seller's agents - even though they work for the seller - are bound by ethics to treat the public fairly and honestly. However, I would suggest working with either a Certified Buyer Representative (CBR) or Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). Both of these designations are acquired by taking the requisite education. If you are concerned that about the costs, in most cases, any agent -either buyer's agent or broker's agent - is usually compensated by the seller according to the terms of the listing agreement between the listing company and the owner and is paid at the closing out of the proceeds. You should interview a few agents and ask them to provide you with references from previous buyer clients. If you are looking to purchase in Brooklyn, Queens, or Long Island, I would be able to assist you. Good luck!
Ralph Windschuh
Associate Broker
Certified Buyer Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Princeton Proprties
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
Anywhere in New York State, finding an agent working for you, and only for you, is easy.

Just tell the agent up front that you want her or him to sign the official NYS Agency Disclosure Form that says that they are *your* BUYER'S AGENT. You don't pay anything for this, it's not a contract, it's a government form, but it does put everybody on notice that this particular agent represents the best interests of you, the buyer. It doesn't even obligate you to work with that agent at all, or ever again; it's just a clarifying document.

In fact, by law agents are supposed to present this form--which declares exactly who the agent is working for-- to you at first substantive contact.

When you meet an agent holding an open house, that agent is working for the seller of that house, obviously, not for you. Nothing wrong with that, but if you confide in that agent, did you know that this agent actually has a legal obligation to take your information back to the seller? It's not a scam, really it's not, but it can sure feel very disloyal if you as a buyer are affected by this.

A common example is when a buyer tells a seller's agent, "I am offering $X, but I really want this place, and I can go higher than that." If you tell that to a seller's agent, well, let's just say that your odds of paying only $X are pretty small!

By contrast, your buyer's agent must hold your information confidential. So you can tell your agent you know you're getting a huge bonus next month, and the agent will not tell this to the seller of the place you've fallen in love with.

Any agent who wants to work with you, as your buyer's agent, is free to do so. My advice would be to find an agent near where you are looking, and meet with a couple of them to see if there's a fit. Then you both sign the Agency Disclosure Form. THEN you can go out and start looking!

Please visit my blog for more information on buying in New York City:


Karla Harby, VP
Rutenberg Realty NYC
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
Consider interviewing in person a few agents, or as many as needed from different realty companies, then choose the one you like best and who has the most to offer; there are many good agents out there, therefore choose your agent with care. You can ask to see their license, also 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, negotiating strategies, 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 Wed Feb 23, 2011
When you decide to work with a real estate agent make sure he or she is a Realtor. The first thing he or she should provide for you is the NYS disclosure form for Buyer and Seller that will establish your relationship. In your case, Buyer's agent will be checked off, and that agent is then engaged to represent your best interests, negotiating terms that are acceptable to you and that you thoroughly understand.
If you engage an agent in your service and you feel that an agent has acted unethically you can go to the Board of Realtors and request a review and/or file a complaint. Hopefully, knowing this, you can feel more at ease in selecting a realtor. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 9, 2011
1/ Interview more than one agent
2/ Get a referral from someone who like, trust and respect
3/ Ask the agent for referrals and if a new agent, speak to their broker
4/ Be aware that an agent can have more than one allegience 1/ to seller, 2/ to buyer, 3/ to both. Either way the information MUST not be shared.
5/ Due diligence - search around for yourself to get familiar with what is in the neighborhood in which you are interested. This will be your home an agent is a facilitator.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 5, 2011
"Selecting a Real Estate Agent Tips" is a short article I have provided on my website. Under "my pages", simply click on this link to learn of these suggestions. If you move to the Richmond, VA area, I will support your real estate requirements. Happy trails.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
When you hire an agent you need to interview a few of us. Ask questions. Most importantly ask for references. You need to hire an agent that is familiar with a buyer agency. This means they work in the best interest of the buyer and not the seller.
Pamela Akmal
Gillani Homes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Hi Jim,
Take the same approach the home sellers use when they are looking for an agent to sell their house. Review the agents working in your area and start to create a list of agents to meet and create a list of questions. Find agents the are a CBR Certified Buyers Representative or ABR Accredited Buyers Representative. Those two designations are featuring agents who specialize in working with buyers and in the buyers best interest. Ask these agents to review the completed home purchases they have completed with other home buyers. Ask the agents if they can arrange a conversation between you and their past clients. Ask the agents to review the process of how they work and what they are going to do to help you purchase a home. Do they have a team of attorneys, home inspectors, mortgage representatives established to guide you to the correct professionals needed to fit your requirements the best. After speaking to a couple of agents, you will find from the conversation and answers they provide to your questions who is the right agent for you. Just a litte bit of legwork will pay off with a great relationship and home purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
All the Agents here bring up the right responses. As a whole we are an honest industry. We have a License and tak an Oath to serve. From what I gather the immediate areas of NYC may not use the MLS as exclusively as the suburbs. Try to find out if your Agent is taking you to see ALL the listings, not just their Company's. It is important that you see ALL of the marketplace! Best of Luck!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 24, 2011
I would recommend that you interview at least 3 agents and if you want to avoid working with an agent that may also be representing the seller of a house you are interested in buyer, then consider working with a buyer only agent. Questions to ask would be how many homes have they sold in the last year, do they have clients reviews that you can look at or past clients that you can talk to directly. You want an agent that is a skilled negotiator and one who know the market so look for an agent active in the areas you are considering as well ask family and friends for referrals.

Best of Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 23, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer