Home Buying in 07645>Question Details

Emily, Other/Just Looking in 94010

Is it rude to work with more than one real estate agent when looking to buy?

Asked by Emily, 94010 Tue May 13, 2008

We haven't decided on towns yet (just starting to look at houses in general), and it seems some realtors have better information on certain towns than others. I've done some research about mortgages, so we know what we can roughly afford. But there doesn't seem to be much instruction on proper etiquette for who to call to actually get in to see a house in our price range in these various towns. Much thanks in advance!

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Ronnie Shumake’s answer
As a consumer, you should take control of the "wheel" of the bust to avoid accidents...
There is no "hard line" with regards to the politics with this question...

Agents prefer loyal clients...
Clients prefer loyal agents...

In this day and age of information overload, there is no way to ensure "monogamy" in this process.
Take it all with a grain of salt.

You may find the right person to meet your needs, you might not.
There are different levels of service that can be offered by many agents and firms.

The most important thing to remember is that the listing agent is working for the owner.
You should ensure dual representation as going into a gun fight with a knife is asking for trouble.

Adam Tekel is an agent in NJ that I have worked with and can vouch for his integrity.
You can look online and search for reviews or ask for a referral/recommendation.

Good luck with your search for a new place to call home!

Best regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 3, 2012
Hi, I have had many clients who were searching for homes with more than one agent. Their philosophy was to have as many people searching for them as possible with the idea that more eyes were better. I certainly appreciate this way of doing business though I think you can discourage some agents from wanting to give you 100% knowing that you may still go with someone else. I, however, just felt that if I worked hard to find exactly what my client wanted and presented it right away, I would write up the purchase offer. Most of the time, I have been the agent to do the deal. I think that it is very important to inform the agents honestly that you are doing this, so they can decide if they wish to participate or not. Honesty is the key here.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Hi Emily,

The one clear mistake to avoid is calling the listing agent of the home you are interested in to gain access. The listing agent represents the seller, not you. If you call the listing agent and he or she shows you the home, you are in danger of facing a dual agency, where an agency attempts to represent both sides of the transaction. You want to avoid this, as no one will be able to advocate for your interests. So the best bet is to interview and select a competent and knowledgable buyers agent and stick with him or her throughout the process.

You can interview several agents or do some basic screening here on Trulia. Click on the photos to view the agents profiles and select someone who you feel can help you in the widest possible area. You can also review posts to see if agents here might be consonant with your needs and sensibilities. Here is the New Jersey leaderboard to get you started:

3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
By all means do whatever suits you needs best. Yes as a rule of thumb we do know some areas better then others. As far as etiquette if the agent is willing to take you out without an exclusive agreement ( I do) then they know what the rules are. They need to find you the perfect home that you are just going to want to stop looking and buy. So happy house hunting and good luck.

Larry Story
Coldwell Banker Triad
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
This is an old question - but one that never really loses its relevancy. So since it has been dredged up, I'll chime in ....

An agent can show and sell you any listed property - so within a given area, call the agent that you feel you will work with best. A good place to begin your search is right here on Trulia - combine that with some interviewing and you'll be on your way. Though I don't insist that buyers sign an exclusive agreement with me, I operate as though they have....earning their trust and respect. If I later learn that they are working with several agents - and it is not uncommon, I understand that the loyalty is not there and question the use of my time.

Your home search should be a guided tour, and well thought out process leading ultimately to your dream home....not a free-for-all. When I'm engaged in the former, it is a beautiful and successful process for all. The later - frustrating, disjointed and generally unsuccessful all around.

A home search comes into focus during the journey - if I accompany you on that journey I can be most helpful. The best way to leverage a good agent is to find her and reward her with your loyalty.

Here is a great analogy that drives the point home - imagine if you told 5 bakers to deliver a cake for your wedding and then you would decide which to serve - and pay for. Do you think you would get the best work from those 5 bakers...probably not.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
I am happy to see that you have enough forethought to even think about the other side of things. Unfortunately, some buyers do keep agents in the dark about their using more than one agent. I think that if you do decide to use multiple agents and are honest about it, that honesty will be appreciated and much welcomed. It is entirely up to the agent to decide if they want to pursue such a relationship, but both of you are better served in the end!

Best of luck to you and please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 4, 2011
Thanks, Gina - you make a good point. I should've been clearer in my original post. What we "can afford" based on salary (and based on what the banks tell us) is significantly higher than what our budget and personal comfort can withstand. We know how much we can comfortably spare for a mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, etc.; our credit is excellent, and we will have a substantial down payment. Thanks again for your concern, because that kind of advice benefits all of us potential buyers (and sellers).

I posted this question because we're going to be relocating from the West Coast (CA) to the East Coast (NJ). So, I can spend the brief amount of time I have on the East Coast before we move interviewing buyers' agents, or I can spend it actually looking at houses. I guess I should stick to open houses and interviewing agents now. There's no reason for us to rush anyway. Thanks again!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
Without a doubt agents are more adept in certain locations because the work the area and know the inventory. Seeking a home in multiple locations, especially locations that are a good distance apart is one of the acceptable times for buyers to use more than one agent.

With this said, you should make your agents aware of what you are doing so the chances of overlapping information and duplication of services are minimized.

Good luck with your search,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 9, 2013
Like some of the others here, I think you should find a good agent and stick with him or her. But there's another issue that has been brought up and that's that you do not want to go with the listing agent to purchase a house. So what if your agent who hopefully knows the area you're looking at very well as far as homes for sale go, has some homes listed in the area you like? He or she is probably likely to. So you end up with an agent representing both you, the buyer, and them, the sellers. That can be hard to avoid in such circumstances.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 9, 2013
If you were building a home, you would choose and work with the one builder you chose and trust. If you were ordering a meal you would decide where and what to order and only order from one place... When looking for a home, you can work with an area agent that can guide you through the process of prequalification, price range, home search location, size and type of home and it goes on and on. Your choice of an agent should be based on their qualifications and ability to suit your needs.

Your agent should make you feel good about working with them and be able to provide you with the tools necessary to make your decision. We pay for Visual Tours and Camera Equipment for professional pictures of our Naples listings. We have even taken Visual Tours for buyers that wanted to look over a property or specific details from afar or to re consider when they return home. For sellers we provide a Naples MLS Search website- http://www.agent4naples.com. Also our Buyers can set up searches and do research and we provide additional information about costs, fees, restrictions and amenities. No matter what services we provide we will not get paid unless we close and the seller pays the commission.

Throughout this process of helping you, your agent will be paying to be licensed, have an office, provide you with information, provide transportation to private showings, write up home purchase contracts... Your agent is actually interviewing you too when you meet and talk. When you both decide to work together there really should be loyalty and trust. That is the way we do business. We work with people that want the highest level of service and we give them everyhing we can to care for their needs... but bear in mind we will not get paid a cent if we do not help them to close. And when we do help a customer buy or sell a Naples FL home, we need them to be so happy that they will refer their friends, family, neighbors and anyone else that asks about Naples Real Estate.
Web Reference: http://www.agent4naples.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 3, 2012
Yes. Pick one that you qualified.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 4, 2011
Interview as many buyer agents as you need to until you feel comfortable. Determine who is educated in the area(s) you're looking at, and make sure they have time to get out there with you in person. Go with your instinct. If you want loyalty and quality work from an agent, then you should reciprocate and show some measure of loyalty back. Working with many agents who each have their own methods and quirks will just drive you nuts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 23, 2011
Think making the connection with one thorough and well versed Agent is enough. If you should care to cross the border(so to speak) into Rockland County it could be beneficial to you regarding price and "bang for your buck". LMK if intereseted. Best of Luck, Allan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 23, 2011
calling off the sign is somewhat like going to the emergency room instead of your normal doctor. I would recommend using an agent that was recommended by a friend or relative. If you are new to an area and don't know anyone,ask the agent for refrences and call them! When I worked for a franchise with a large referral network it was not uncommon (at all) for the buyer I referred to call me and ask for another agent. It could have been as simple as a personality conflict,but they did not feel comfortable. I would never assume that just because I showed someone a house that they would buy it from me. Showing the property is the easy part,getting to closing is the hard part. You have to be "selling" yourself at the same time. If the buyer feels comfortable with you and trusts you,they will use you. New agents..be yourself! People can easily tell when you are trying to be someone else.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 24, 2009
We have been buyers twice with relocation. Relocation did assign us to different agents in different towns.(Many different agents in new Jersey) The agents knew we would be looking in different towns with other agents. As an agent,I resented the following scenario(this actually happened) Buyers called me,wanted to look at a house 30 miles away IMMEDIATELY. house was listed with another agent in my office and they mentioned that he had shown them the house the day before. i advised them to contact that agent since he had already shown them the house. They then told me that an agent from a different company had shown them the SAME house yesterday evening. They told me that they had not "selected" an agent yet and were interviewing agents by having different agents show them the same house! Goodbye!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 24, 2009
As a buyer, I have to really agree with Gina. The realtor is really making an investment in you. It takes time to understand a buyer, even the opinionated “know-it-all already” person like me. He took the time to work with me via e-mail instead of the phone (my preference.) He took the time to investigate what I wanted and to pick out homes that fit my budget and wants. He has also taken the time to tell me the things that I did not want to hear and correct the things that I thought I knew. He has even accepted my obsessive investigation of the market and properties we have viewed. And when I ignored his advice, he is even taking the time to deal with the anger I am feeling over my mistake. His income is directly related to my allegiance to him and my financial future is directly related to his skills and knowledge of the market and me. Are these things going to happen when you are working with more than one realtor? Personally, I think not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 24, 2009
And of course keep in mind that you can use a different agency to view your buyer's agent's office listings. As a buyer's agent, I would respect that you want and expect vigorous advocacy from your buyer's agent, and would not have a problem if you used a different agency to view my office's listings. I would recognize that it is unethical and illegal to advocate for your interests in a dual agency and would happily refer you to another agency who COULD advocate strongly for your best interests. I would simply negotiate a referral fee from the outside agency and it would be a win-win for all parties.

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 14, 2008
Emily, perhaps you may want to look into your relocation package (if you have one) as they will often direct you to an agent experienced in the area with a good track record. You can also speak with future co workers about their unbiased views of neighborhoods, schools, and other areas realtors can not legally comment upon. Often when relocating, people will take an area tour with an agent. Typically taking the better part of a day, you will know by the end of the day if you want to keep working with that person. To directly answer your question is it rude? I would have to say, yes. (unless you have told the agents this is what you are doing) With the high cost involved both in time and actual money no one wants to work for free. Keep your confidential info to yourself until you have found an agent you like and trust. Lastly, if you do sign a buyer broker agreement make certain you do allow the agent to show you all listings (even those of his or her own company), Allowing dual agency is the only way to be sure to see everything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 14, 2008

I wouldn't call it rude - agents do look for some buyer "loyality" and aside from a buyer's agreement, buyers aren't always that loyal and when working with buyers, honestly I would not invest my time nor my gas driving around showing them houses if they were also working with another agent. It's just not fair. I work hard and supply my buyers with instant notification of new listings, price reductions, etc. so therefore there is no need for them to call another agent to find out information on a house. If they go to an open house, they give the hosting agent my card.

With that being said and back to the rest of your post, I advise you to actually speak with a loan officer to pinpoint an actual price range. Remember it's not about what you can afford, it's about what you are comfortable spending each month on your mortgage. There is a difference between the two.

Finally, which agent to you use? Obviously, all agents have their "market" which is where they live or have their office, or where they conduct most of their transactions thus making them most knowledgable about that particular area/town/school, etc. With that being said, pretty much any agent can show you any house on the MLS so even if one is unfamiliar with a particular area, they will learn it in order to serve you better. My honest opinion is that you speak to a loan officer, then choose an agent that you trust and that you are comfortable with and then start looking into different communities and use your agent to see all the houses that interest you. There's no need to use 25 agents to see 25 different houses. Once you start looking if you happen to like an area that your agent doesn't handle, then have them give you a referral to an agent in that area.

Good Luck

Gina Chirico
Prudential NJ Properties
973-715-1158 cell
973-228-1000 ext 132 office
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 13, 2008
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