Home Buying in Buffalo State>Question Details

dashuka, Home Buyer in Millerton, NY

Is it best to go directly to the listing agent directly or use an agent as a Buyer Representative?

Asked by dashuka, Millerton, NY Tue Feb 14, 2012

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Also, Joe Suppa, you're completely wrong. My realtor in the first situation I mentioned was AWESOME - she was a hardworking, friendly lady who had the smarts to know that her services are more necessary for someone who does not want to take the time and effort to do their own research and legwork. I did not have a "bad taste in my mouth" from her whatsoever. I have found from much research, personal experience and witnessing other people's homebuying in the area that many agents are really unncessary if you are smart enough to do real research and put the time in. It's ridiculous to think that bringing in another person over and above the seller, possibly their agent, the buyer, the bank and the lawyer is going to save the buyer time or money - that agent is going to get their cut just like everyone else, even if it seems hidden in the cost of your house already. Also, the buyer has to wait everytime they want to know something from another party for their agent to contact said party and then get back to the buyer when the buyer could have just contacted the party on their own. The lawyer I used was extremely hands on, reviewed my house contract personally and was always available to speak with - as you stated you have to do research into who you work with; obviously YOU have a bad taste from working with a lawyer who was not well chosen. The lawyer's paralegals only did the grunt work; another partner (a lawyer, not a paralegal) within their office handled all the serious issues. A realty agent is not going to determine the legality of items in a contract like a lawyer will nor will they strike fear into the heart of a seller who tries to screw you over like a lawyer will. A lawyer also stands to gain significantly less money than your agent for the same amount of work (lawyer's fee for my experience $300, agent's commission had I had one at 3% - $1680).
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 19, 2012
Likening yourself to a lawyer in court? RIDICULOUS. I can learn 90% of what there is to know about buying a home online in a week or two - I know complete morons with no education who go into being realty agents because it is an easy, quick buck. I am not saying the people below are morons - I am sure many are hardworking, competent people. But to liken your profession to that of a lawyer, who goes to school for nearly a decade and has hundreds of thousands of legal intricacies to navigate through is absurd.

Also, don't listen to these people who say having an agent will cost you nothing - their agency will often charge you fees. More importantly whoever you are buying the house from is NOT going to pay the agent's commission out of their profit. They are going to consider what they really want to make for the house and then add funds on top of that to go toward your agent and, if they have one, their agent. It is NOT at no cost to you. That is a ridiculous statement - if these people made no money off the transaction over and above what the seller was going to make anyway they wouldn't be here. They would be on a job search website trying to find some real employment because no seller would accept an agent hacking into their profits. For instance, if a seller really wants to make $52k on a house they may actually charge you closer to $57k as both agents are going to take a percentage cut out of what you are paying before the seller gets paid.

Just because the seller has an agent and you don't does NOT mean that agent has to represent you, so you don't have to hire your own agent to prevent this. You can make it clear to them you do not want to have an agent represent you and that you wish to do your own work and research - in this instance ensure you are clearing all contracts with your lawyer and get any promises the seller's agent makes you in writing for your lawyer to review. If you do not make it clear that you do not want the seller's agent to represent you as well they will take both the commission usually due to them AND the commission your agent would have took had you hired one - thus making your cost for the house just as high as if you hired your own agent. This person does not give a crap about you if they are representing the seller as well- they are in an ideal situation to push though the sale of the house at the maximum money so that they make a buck. They're not going to advise you well. They can't legally force you to have them represent you - if they claim you must don't do business with them. Like I said before, dealing directly with a seller and not agents is the way to go and you should lean heavily on a well-respected lawyer for good advice.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 19, 2012
Don't listen to these people who are only trying to make their industry money (though I understand their need for self-preservation). I went through the process of buying my first home with an agent, and it fell through due to the seller not upkeeping the property before I took possession of the house (they left the heat off and the pipes exploded, ruining the kitchen, and they were unwilling to fix it). When I started looking again I called my former agent, a very nice, helpful woman and said "can you make a case to me for why I should hire you? Is there anything you do I can't do myself or have the lawyer, who I have to hire for the closing anyway, do?" She couldn't think of any sort of realistic argument that swayed me as to why I needed her, unless I found a house where the seller/seller's agent refused to show it themselves and wanted me to have an agent to let me in - if they can't take the time to meet me or have their agent meet me I don't want to look at the house anyway. The gentleman selling the house I ended up buying is an old pro at buying and selling and didn't use an agent so I skipped using one as well. I did all my research online and made sure to ask a lot of questions at the bank. Anything that seemed unusual at all I had my lawyer review. It went VERY smoothly and the lawyer didn't charge me a dime extra for the things they did in place of the realtor than they would have if her company had done some of the work. Had the seller and I both used agents I would have paid the lawyer AND the agent's company's fees AND had to add a commission to the price of the house for both agents. Plus you are juggling information transactions between a LOT more people. It's totally not worth it unless you aren't willing to put in the time researching, asking questions, making phone calls and ensuring everyone is on the same page all on your own. It will save you a ton of cash and all the time of dealing with middle-men. Also in my experience, and that of friends and family, agents really push you to take a house if they have put in any time with the process even when there are problems that arise - they want their commission and don't have to live there or deal with any financial concerns based around the transaction when it's over. DON'T FEEL BAD IF YOU TAKE AN AGENT AND THEN BACK OUT OF BUYING A HOUSE DUE TO FINANCIAL ISSUES OR THE SELLER NOT KEEPING UP THEIR END OF THE BARGAIN. Realtors do VERY well for themselves and are not going to lose their proverbial shirt because you back out of one deal - they may act like you are the most important client in the world but really they have their fingers in many other pies at the same time and will get by just fine without your money. If you do take my advice and avoid using an agent, and you are having trouble getting a seller's agent to call you back, move on to another house. That agent has too much on their plate and the transaction will be marked with their lack of attention to the situation, OR they know the house is a dud, and aren't making it a priority. They are not usually ignoring you because you are calling directly instead of using an agent - it's because that person either doesn't want to do their job (i.e. they are making enough dough elsewhere to no longer be concerned with professionalism in every case), they've overloaded themselves or they don't feel they are going to make a big enough commission to put effort into that property over showing something else that will make them more cash. Any of these things are a negative and will cause delays in the home buying process - don't bother. Take your business to a seller/seller's agent who is serious about selling the home. If you can deal directly with the owner and avoid agents all together that is best IMO so long as you are getting strong legal advice to ensure you are not being fleeced or missing anything important. Agents are a convenience, not a necessity.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 19, 2012
Consider interviewing in person a few local agents from different realty companies, then choose and work with, the one you like best--see link regarding agency disclosure...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012
Great question... agency representation varies from state to state, and I can only speak for NY, but as a buyer, its always a good idea to have your own independent representation, after all you are in reality paying for it,...the commission the seller pays, comes from you the buyers check, right? Many people think by going through the listing agent, you will get a better deal?, not necessary true! Remember one thing, the seller and the listing agent want to make the sale..and the seller is paying out 6% no matter what the sale price is, and whether 1 or 2 agents are involved, all your doing is giving the listing agent more money..The listing's agent first obligation is to the seller, no matter what anyone says, not to say they can't be fair to all, but why take the chance and not have your own independent representing to make sure your interest is completely protected? With the right agent, you may end up paying LESS for the property, with less chance of manipulation by the listing agent. When looking for a buyers agent, look for an agent that has an A.B.R. designation ( Accredited Buyers Representation ) these agents have completed an extensive training course that deals with representing a buyer, and thier best interest when purchasing a home. Joseph Suppa A.B.R jpsuppa@yahoo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012

If you were going to court would you feel comfortable being defended by the prosecuting attorney? The answer in this case is very clear....so to should it be clear with real estate. Buyers should always seek their own personal representaion and avoid the possibility of a conflict of interest when dealing with an agent that is also the listing agent.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012
Fiduciary responsibility belongs to the seller in New York even if you use another agent from another agency to show you the home. This means we all work for the seller even if we are not the listing agent.

If you have a buyer's agent, the fiduciary responsibility belongs to you. A sellers agent can be a buyers agent at anytime so if you have an agent you like to work with, you can sign a contract with them for buyers agency.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012
A listing agent works for the seller, a buyer's agent would be working for you. It should cost you nothing to work with a buyer's agent and they will be able to advise you and negotiate for you. There is no downside to having a buyer's agent representing you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012
Thge listing agent owes duty to their seller first. A buyers agent can be an independent 2nd party to the transaction, working solely in your interest. Dual agency is legal in New York and can work in everyones favor with full disclosure and understanding.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012

Get a Buyers Agent. The sellers agent is not your friend.

Fran and Mark Redding
Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors
1010 stonyhill Road
Yardley, PA 19067
215-321-3307 Direct
215-208-7169 Cell
Web Reference: http://www.franandmark.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 14, 2012
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