Home Buying in 90240>Question Details

Eden Lim, Real Estate Pro in La Habra, CA

Is it better to go directly to the listing agent to buy a house?

Asked by Eden Lim, La Habra, CA Sun Sep 23, 2012

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BEST ANSWER
NO, is not better. It is the same. Listing agent is an agent as any other agent and if the listing agent feels any confelect, he/she will advise buyer to get their own agent.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 23, 2012
My questions here for every one that answered this question are:
If you are the listing agent would you like :
1- Buyers to contact you directly?
2- Would you advise them to find their own agent?
3- Would you be feeling the conflect? And how would you deal with it?

Now, I wants everyone that said no to dual agency to answer.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 14, 2012
If you represent both sides, would you put seller and buyer together for better negotiation and communications?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
>>All in all I think buyers who think they will get preferential treatment by going directly to the listing agent are fooling themselves.

Thank you, Mary Beth. You made my point and this is coming from somebody (you) who practices dual agency and lists property (I do neither).

What are "Main Line" homes? Never heard that term.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 8, 2012
James, nothing personal. I'm sure you'll agree that my opinion is just as vaulable as yours. All of us are trying to answer the original question and give our reasoning. You and I just disagree on the answer. FWIW, most of the answers here disagree with you as well.

I apologize if I've been offensive or unprofessional in any way.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 6, 2012
"Yes, it works especially well for agents who like to do half the work and get double the commission"

James - come on...........not nice.............and not true.
Enough said about that comment.............

And, I will still stand behind my belief that it's the agent who gives excellent representation.... the title doesn't assure anyone of anything..........I wish I had a dollar every time a buyer's agent told me, as the listing agent, that their buyer's offer was just a "starting" number.....and that they could "get them up".
Conversely, I have had listing agents tell me they know the list price is too high and they are sure they couild get the seller's "down".

I have seen both sides (agents) in the transaction, at times, stomp all over their fiduciary responsibility and agency relationships.

So....imo.........an agent who is professional, has integrity and knowledge about agency relationships is what matters...not what they happen to call themselves during the process.

PS
Robert, I pretty much disagree with most of what you said, but then you're speaking as a mortgage broker, not an agent.........that being said........no one should have an "advantage" just because they are working with the listing agent. If you really know agents who do that, and put their offers , let me quote you........... "on top of the stack"............well then....please...report them to their Brokers.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 24, 2012
So Eden, as a Broker and the person who posted this question.......what's your opinion?

Some people answered this thinking you were really (a buyer) looking for advice, when, in fact, I guess you were just looking to start a discussion.....

So - you got your discussion.

To add my 2 cents......in NJ dual agency is legal. In fact, if one is showing, not only their own listing, but ANY company listing, they are considered to be a "disclosed dual agent".
We have to explain how dual agency works, and the buyer signs off on this, allowing us to continue working with them in that capacity should the occasion arise.

I find that in recent years many buyers like to call the lisitng agent directly.....this is how I have wound up, as a dual agent, with 3 properties currently under contract that are my own listings.........I always FULLY explain what I can and can't say and do............that I cannot put the rights of one party above that of the other party, and that I must treat all equally....never share any improper information., etc, etc.
Admittedly, it is a delicate dance, but one that can work if the agent fully understands the ramifications of being in that position.

I had one buyer tell me they started off with a buyer's agent and didn't think, they were getting top service...........they felt they could more easily "cut to the chase" by working with the listing agent.
I neither agree nor disagree............as I personally have met a number of buyers who, imo, were being poorly represented by their "buyer's" agent.

Bottom line...............the title doesn't assure anyone that they are getting excellent representation........the agent does.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 24, 2012
Yes Sheryl, you are right, I want to hear a lot more opinions on this matter.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
James, thanks. Like you said, we're all in this together. I know I can get a bit "testy" sometimes. I'm just passionate about what I do.

I like your name, too. :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 6, 2012
Not new, sorry....and this is a discussion but so far all that you have done is point out if someone contradicted themselves and used the wrong wording. I agree with disagreeing with someone and making a point that is fine we all do.

As far as you not representing both sides... that is part of Real Estate and.... Welcome to Real Estate. :-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 5, 2012
>>James James James...... is that all you do is go off what other people say to make a comment, cause you have done that several times.

James, James, James, this is, in fact, a discussion fourm. I'm offering my 2 cents like everybody else. You must be new here. Welcom to Trulia.

>>Now I will say this again and stick with it.... a buyers agent can not negotiate the same deal as a listing agent can.... Also I will say this again... as far as representation and who is better... well that would be up to the buyer to decide. If they are happy with what they received then that is all that matters.

Spoken like a true dual agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 5, 2012
James James James...... is that all you do is go off what other people say to make a comment, cause you have done that several times. If you notice I did mention about who would fight better for the buyer. Also I am pretty sure that any agent would rather make some commission off a property than none.. I just sold a house for a client and I charged her 1.5% . Why?? Well... I have refinanced her twice helped her buy an investment property and sold this home and am now helping her buy an other. Now as the listing agent only charging that much I made sure her transaction was with the highest level of service as possible.

Now maybe in Ohio you can still negotiate off the sales price ... but over here there are very few markets where buyers agent are negotiating off the sales price.

Now I will say this again and stick with it.... a buyers agent can not negotiate the same deal as a listing agent can.... Also I will say this again... as far as representation and who is better... well that would be up to the buyer to decide. If they are happy with what they received then that is all that matters.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
No one is arguing, Joe!

We're just having a conversation......sharing ideas......it's all good!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
First of all, I'm not condoning it, or saying I work with those agents, I am just stating the objective truth and not sugar coating things and saying what we would all like to hear. I do know of a lot of investors that buy lot's of properties, and have bought properties for 30 years. One of their strategies in low inventory multiple offer markets is to have the listing agent write up their offers. For them it seems to work or they wouldn't be doing it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 25, 2012
@ Joe... I didn't have to see the other replies... I can only say what I see and hear here from where I work....When a house that is in decent shape, can go FHA and priced at market value in a decent location will have 10-15 offers in 3 days all at asking and over asking. Now I didn't say that a seller would care where the offer came from, did I? No. In today's market where some agents are struggling and they finally have a listing..some, not all, throw out the morals and look only at the commission and making $15,000.00 compared to making $7,500.00 off the sale and will represent both buyer and seller, even if another offer looks better, It happens (and no, not only in California). I have been called many times from Trulia or Zillow leads asking if I was the listing agent cause they think that I am the listing agent and want to work with that agent on the property. I talk to them explaining that depending on the listing agent and where their mind is, they may not get the best deal on the property or have someone fighting for them when a problem arises. I am not saying all but some.

Whoever said that the Listing Agent / Broker didn't have a fiduciary duty to the seller? Whoever said it was good for the buyer? Who said the seller wouldn't see all offers? All I said is that some buyers do want to work with the listing agent whether it is better for them or not, that is up to them. And if you go through the MLS on closed listings you will see a lot of Brokers / agents representing both buyer and seller which shows that it does work.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 24, 2012
It's your choice. I assume that when you go direct to a listing agent, that you are doing all of the work yourself. That is a difficult way of looking for a home. Why not have an agent represent you and advise you throughout the process? There is an advantage to having a buyers agent. Some people feel that they can get a better deal by working with the listing agent only. There is no guarantee that you will or you wont. It's just a theory.


All the best,

Alex Montelongo/Broker
Coldwell Banker Star Realty
562-810-7387 Cell
BRE Lic #01456982
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 1, 2015
Not if you are an experience real estate buy/investor.
Flag Fri Mar 18, 2016
Eden,
You can but the listing agent already represents the seller. Why not hire your own agent who will represent your interests only. It normally does not cost you anything as the selling agency may be getting paid from the listing agency. Hope this helps....

All the best.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 25, 2014
Hi Eden,

Nice to meet you. In many cases when you go to the listing agent directly, you absolutely have a better chance of having your offer accepted for various reasons besides the obvious one (listing agent is receiving more commission and might be more inclined to "push" your offer).

The first reason is some agents offer the seller a dual variable commission. Which means if they represent both sides of the transaction (double end the deal) they will reduce their commission.

The second reason is a listing agent may feel that they can control the transaction better if they are the ones handling the deal.

What you should keep in mind is that acceptance of your offer is only the beginning to buying a home. We have met many buyers who have told us horror stories about working directly with the listing agent because the difficult part of the process when buying usually comes AFTER your offer gets accepted.

I will give you an example. Lets say your offer is accepted and you move on to your home inspection and appraisal. Many times, the inspector and the appraiser will call out items that need to be repaired. The appraiser might even come back and say that your offer is higher than the actual value of the home which means you will either have to pay the difference out of pocket, or cancel the transaction.

At that point, the seller needs to be presented with a request to repair the items and/or decrease the price of the home. Who do you think will be in a better position to aggressively negotiate on your behalf? An agent who works for the seller or an agent who exclusively works for you?

Hope this helps put things a little more in perspective. If I can help you in any other way, please feel free to contact me directly.

Take care!

Diana Rosero
Broker Associate
Prime Partners Realty @ KW Burbank
818.859.9930 - Direct
diana@dianarosero.com
http://www.PrimePartnersRealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2014
No, not always. The negotiation can become a little tricky for all three, Buyer seller, and of course the Realtor. Make sure the real estate agent is looking out for the best interest of both parties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 31, 2014
No not at all. It will keep you from having any negotiating power and cause the listing agent to want to sell to you as fast as they can.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 6, 2014
do you realize this question was asked 1 1/2 yrs ago?
Flag Thu Mar 6, 2014
If involved in a court room scenario would you feel comfortable being defended by the prosecuting attorney? A conflict of interest should be evident. A buyer when dealing with the listing agent is essentially giving up their ability to have their own personal representation....
Hope this helps!

Bill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 6, 2014
No way! Imagine you are being sued for the equal amount as the price of the home you are purchasing. Would you walk into court and ask the plaintiff's attorney to represent you? It's the same thing, the sellers agent has a previous relationship with the seller and so will lookout first for the sellers interest but in some cases since the agent stands to double end (represent both buyer and seller) it becomes more about the agent getting double the commission and therefore not looking for either clients best interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 5, 2014
I do not think so because in some states it is illegal for a listing agent to also represent the buyer so in most situations the buyer goes unrepresented. It is best to hire a Buyers Agent that will represent you and look after your best interests :-) Best of Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 28, 2014
Some states have buyer agents and seller agents. In New York State an agent can represent both buyer and seller. Since most brokers are on the Multiple listing Service, we all have the same merchandise to sell, and therefore there is no advantage to buying through the listing broker.
Find an agent you are comfortable with, and let him or her lead you through the buying experience.
After showing you several properties, listening to your feedback, and seeing your reaction, a good agent can hone in on what will fill your wants and needs in a home. By jumping from agent to agent,
you cannot establish any kind of relationship, and your search will often prove futile.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Hello Eden. It has been awhile since you posted your question, however, from a buyer's perspective, it would better to have the buyer represented by another agent instead of the listing agent. Even though dual agency does exist and I have seen the listing agent represent both the seller and buyer, that agent must be very familiar with fiduciary duties to each party and ensure neither party has the advantage over the other. Personally, I think it is much better for the buyer to get own agent.

I know we are bound to our R E Ethics and laws in our state, however, there are some unethical listing agents who are more interested in closing the transaction and earning a commission. Have you seen the number of Realtors and Brokers who have violated real estate laws and had their licenses restricted, suspended or revoked?

Realtors are human beings vulnerable to emotions and unfortunately in some cases, greed.

I hope this is helpful . Hope you have had a great buyer's experience and decided to retain your own agent .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 10, 2013
Eden,
A buyer needs to have a dedicated buyer's agent working for them.

Even the best realtor may have a hard time keeping the lines clear when representing both buyer and seller. Besides buying a home is too big a deal to leave anything to chance.

Get a buyer's agent, let the seller have their listing agent to themselves.

Much Success to you!!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 19, 2013
It's obvious that "bankerfelix" is neither a real estate pro, nor a banker. I wouldn't take what he says too seriously. Pay attention to the actual people who work in this business, not those with an axe to grind.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 21, 2012
yes that is 100%, otherwise, you are just wasting your time. agents are greedy and you need to play to their greedy intention and motives. you WILL get the house after you are qualified with them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 20, 2012
Joe, it's just a matter of common sense. The public gets it, that's all that matters. Agents who defend dual agency are merely chasing their tails. What's bizarre is that this question constantly pops up on Trulia, either from a Realtor or a buyer/seller and we get the same answers over and over.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
No, Morcos, it's not the same. Not even those agents who love dual agency would agree that it's the same. And about "dual agents" feeling "conflict?" It's hard to feel conflict when you get double the commission. There is ALWAYS a conflict when the buyer is using the seller's agent. Any half-engaged consumer can see that.

And how anybody can give Morcos the "best answer" is beyond me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Why agents believe that they are legal representatives, or lawyers of the buyer or seller? The seller or the buyer are not in a fight. Even some buyers and sellers have more knowledge than the agents themselves. Real Estate Agency is not a legal presentation or mediation between buyer and seller. When the real estate agents know the meaning and the limitations of their agency, then they will not feel any conflict of interest. That is why Legislators in California did not prohibit dual agency, and did not require that buyer and seller will to sign a waiver of conflict of interest. We are only required to disclose the dual agency.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Eden,

This is a very commonly misunderstood real estate issue. Simply stated, if you were going to trial and needed legal representation, would you feel comfortable being represented by toe other party's attorney?

In this case, it's easily seen that there would most assuredly be a "conflict of interest." Eventhough this type of representation is acceptable in some states, this relationship lends itself to challenging decisions and representation issues.

Most fair minded RE professionals would advise you to seek your own personal representation to be on the safe side.

Good luck,

Bill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 12, 2012
Thank you Eden for the brain storming around this Q subject.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 11, 2012
Now that you know the facts, you can make your own decision. Just remember the Sellers agent has the best interest of the Seller during the negotiations. Which would you prefer? In Michigan we can represent as Dual Agents but no fiduciary to either party and both parties must be advsed and sifn an addendum. In Florida Dual agency is against the law therefore you are only a Transaction Coordinator to handle the transaction with no fiduciary. If have a listing and a buyer comes to me, I don't have a problem taking care of both sides as long as inform them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 21, 2012
The listing agent is representing the seller - so its in the buyers best interest to seek out their own agent to represent them in the transaction.

You will benefit from a different point of view and someone who is in your corner. The list agent can legally represent both you and the seller, this is called Dual Agency - but that would sort of be like having the same attorney represent you and your spouse in a divorce settlement. At the core, there is a conflict of interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
If i'm the listing agent and that's all i did I would probably would say but the truth of the matter is it's ideal for the buyer to have their own representation. It's really difficult, if not impossible, to be totally honest and fair with both seller and buyer at the same time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
If i'm the listing agent and that's all i did I would probably would say but the truth of the matter is it's ideal for the buyer to have their own representation. It's really difficult, if not impossible, to be totally honest and fair with both seller and buyer at the same time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
Hello James, No need to apologized. I will always look and consider you a true professional in this field. This topic like many others will always have and should have different opinions, that is what makes a good topic and will get people involved. At the end of the day, we are all on the same team...maybe different companies, and we all have a passion for Real Estate and our consumer or if not we wouldn't get involved.

I look forward to the next discussion / topic with you. These are always great learning tips and ideas on how other agents are viewing and doing things. I always walk away with the other eye open. I hope you finish out 2012 with a bang and much success.

BTW .... you have a cool name.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 6, 2012
James, even though what you say is true you have to balance any "discount" from the listing agent with the lack of negotiation FOR the buyer by the listing agent. You also contradicted yourself. If a seller's agent reduces their commission, thereby giving the SELLER more money, that doesn't lower the price for the BUYER. That just gives the seller more money. Bottom line is this: any good buyer's agent can negotiate more off the price than a seller's agent can discount. Simple as that. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
@ Deborah.... I disagree... a buyer can go straight to the listing agent and get a cheaper price on the home if you are talking price. The listing agent could very easily reduce the commission the seller is paying since there is only one agent, if the agent chooses to. This could net the seller an extra few thousand dollars, and the buyer would be getting it at a cheaper price. This is not something a buyer's broker has the ability to do. I am not talking representation or who will fight better for the buyer. I am just saying a listing agent does have a little bit of an advantage on playing with the numbers to make it work.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
Most people think they can get a better deal by dealing directly with listing agent. However, the selling broker,who is not necessarily a buyer's broker, can get you the same deal. Why? Ultimately, it's the seller who accepts the offer, not his or her broker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
No had twice lost on buying a house listing agents went with their buyer, seems like listing agent has the upper hand on who buys the house because she gets all the offers, we have greedy people in this world
Flag Thu Aug 20, 2015
Debbie, fine, I'll be quiet. But you did bait the hook a little by saying:

>>I understand and agree with much of that advice (except when some try to scare people about the perils of dual agency as if it is the greatest evil in all of real estate).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
Hey, part of my answer is missing....????????? hmmmmmmm
Flag Wed Oct 3, 2012
James - I wasn't looking for reasons why people are doing what I described - we can always theorize as to why it is, or may be, happening....I was simply asking if others have seen the same "trending" that I am experiencing.

Since you don't list homes, you really can't address that from personal experience.

This wasn't meant to start a debate (certainly not about dual agency).......just ask a simple question.

Maybe I will make it a general Trulia question so more can join in, as I was really curious what others have to say from their perspective as listing agents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
Debbie, I agree with your observation about some buyers. However, the main reason they contact the seller's agent directly is that they are misinformed. Most of the reasons you stated that they give are just not true. Most buyers, if educated properly, will not have these perceptions about going to a listing agent.

Dual agency is becoming less popular over the years, not more popular. So if more buyers are coming directly to listing agents something is altering their course in the end.

And as far as the "perils of dual agency" you can try to defend it all you want but the negative consequences of dual agency far outweigh any perceived benefit. Even heavy listing agents like yourself tend to agree. Again, look at the responses. This market is consumer driving and dual agency is VERY consumer unfriendly. Simple as that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
Just to jump into this discussion once more..............I understand why most agents will respond to this type of question - and it does come up often on trulia and the "other" RE site - with: "Find a buyer's agent, it's free....you will have someone working just for you, etc, etc"............. and list all the other reasons....I understand and agree with much of that advice (except when some try to scare people about the perils of dual agency as if it is the greatest evil in all of real estate)....but, .......putting that aside...........

It's my observation that:

As an agent who tends to list more than sell, I will say that I find business trending more and more towards the consumer preferring to call the listing agent directly.

This is based on my personal experience over the past couple of years.
It happens every time I list a new home. I will invariably get several requests for showings by people who are not working with an agent.
When I ask the person if they have an agent, and suggest they SHOULD have an agent if they are serious buyers, I get a variety of responses.

The reasons they do reach out are varied......
certainly, some think they can "get a better deal" by using the listing agent and save money......some think it gives them an advantage over other buyers........some think it's just easier to cut to the chase and have one person speak directly to each party..........some consumers think they know a lot about the market (due to their exposure online) and don't really "need" input from an agent other than to handle the paperwork.............some aren't serious buyers, so they just want to jump in and take a quick look........many just don''t want to commit to a buyer's agent - some have told me they started off that way, but were disappointed in the representation they received, so they want to keep their options open......and on and on the reasons go.

So - I am curious............are other listing agents finding this "trend" to be true?
Do you see an increase in direct buyer calls(from unrepresented buyers) when you list a home?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
In most states, working with a buyer's representative is Free. Why wouldn't you go to a Realtor who can fight on your behalf, make sure you are not being taken for a ride as well as offer professional advice?

Generally is it not recommended to go to a listing agent directly. The law states that the listing agent has fiduciary responsibilities towards the Seller. This means that the listing agent is supposed to look out for the best interests of the Seller only!

It is generally very hard for one agent to fully represent both parties in a fair manner.

Hope this helps Eden

Best,
Nick Gandhi
Equity Capital Real Estate
(203) 280 3838
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
Terry Tracy, you contradicted yourself in your answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
well, what's a little contradiction among friends! haha.........I was also scratching my head trying to understand her point.
Flag Wed Oct 3, 2012
No. Whether is a right choice for you, that is important to evaluate before you make a decision. Look at this situation this way. If you will need an attorney to represent you in your divorce, Could you hire the same lawyer that your husband hired? You need somebody that will be on your side, not on the seller's side.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone

http://www.Flahomespecialist.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 2, 2012
No. Whether is a right choice for you, that is important to evaluate before you make a decision. Look at this situation this way. If you will need an attorney to represent you in your divorce, Could you hire the same lawyer that your husband hired? You need somebody that will be on your side, not on the seller's side.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone

http://www.Flahomespecialist.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 2, 2012
Yes, going directly to the listing agent gives the best chance at the property. I think a buyer should find a buyer’s agent they are comfortable with and begin the process of finding a house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 2, 2012
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