Home Buying in Cambridge>Question Details

Pat, Both Buyer and Seller in Wilmington, NC

On site agent vs "outside" agent? Any thoughts?

Asked by Pat, Wilmington, NC Tue Sep 8, 2009

When looking at new properties, is it better to have your own agent -or is just using the on-site realtor fine? If I've spoken to an on-site agent, can I still bring in someone else to make sure I'm being protected?

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If you are considering purchasing a new construction home it is especially important that you have your own agent protecting your best interest.

If the home is still under construction there are several layers of paperwork including the original contract,sometimes two closings (a construction loan and final mortgage), lot selection and choices of options within the home which have to be well documented. There are opportunities for things to go wrong. And in Maryland the agent that is hired by the seller to sit on their property and greet people most definitely represents the seller. They are obligated to treat all parties fairly but they are not your advocate. When making a decision and following through on what will likely be your largest purchase ever you'll really want someone there that is just in it for you!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 9, 2009
I disagree with the 1st agent who answered this question. Perhaps she is speaking in terms to Florida real estate practices; when she says the listing agent is representing the transaction; not the seller.

Since this question was asked under "Maryland"; I can tell you that in Maryland the listing agent (the "on site" agent) IS in fact representing the seller, and working in the sellers best interest. What you should have is a "buyers agent"; who would be representing YOU, the buyer.

Now there is some tricky stuff if another agent showed you the property first. The 1st agent needs to know that because there could in fact be a commission dispute. However most listing agents (or at least their broker) will back down if faced with the possibility of losing a sale if they dont allow you (and compensate) your buyers agent. Afterall, they must work in the sellers best interest and losing a sale because the listing agents wants both-sides of the commission, is not in the sellers best interest.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 9, 2009
I don't know agency law in NC but in Maryland I think it is best to have a buyer broker. As Alessandra said the listing agent works for the seller and that is where their "loyalty" lies. Also a buyer broker can do alot of the leg work for you. They will know the market, what is priced fairly and may have knowledge of many of the properties as far as condition etc so you don't have to go look at everything, and you can use your house shopping time more effectively.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 11, 2009
Yes, you should have a buyers agent working for you. We all co-op with the listing agent. If you are moving to the Maryland area and would like representation please contact me. I would be more than happy to interview with you.
Darlene DeCapite
Champion Realty
410 507-0963
Web Reference: http://darlenedecapite.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 9, 2009
Your question deals with "agency relationship" which in Maryland is generally missunderstood accordiny to those that teach it. In my opinion it is always in your best interest to develop a relationship with your own 'Buyers Agent' as you begin the process of purchasing a home. An interview proccess is important for both sides to assure your agent will meet your needs. Bear in mind if you meet an agent 'on site' either at new construction or an open house they are generally representing the seller and in Maryland may only legally represent a buyer or a seller. You will want an agent to represent your interest only. It will be important as you develop this relationship to be open regarding any properties you may have already seen and agents you may have already met.
good luck with your search
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 9, 2009
I don't think Jim was implying that the buyer was not entitled to their own representation. The question that needs to be asked is "who is going to pay for the buyers representation?". A buyer agency agreement and the agreement the seller and listing agent have put in place are two separate agreements. The seller has not agreed to pay any buyers agent - the seller, through the listing agent, has agreed to pay the buyers agent that procured the sale. In this case, it would not be the agent that Pat brings in after viewing the property unless Pat obtained the property information from that buyers agent and other criteria have been met. Too often, agents advise buyers to 'go get their own representation' well after that buyer has initiated and established contact with another agent and often, after the beginnings of the negotiation process have begun. Now, I'm all about representation, but the buyer may end up paying for that representation themselves unless the agent they hire after the fact takes the necessary steps and clears getting paid with the listing agent and the listing agent's client - the seller. The first contract dealing with paying for representation is established with those two parties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 9, 2009
I agree almost completely with Jim. However, in Maryland you always have the right at any point to secure your own buyer representation. Unless you have signed something stating you understand you are entitled to your own representation, but are choosing NOT to have it, then you are entitled to your own agent. All sales agents in Md. are now required to be licensed real estate agents, so they are bound by law to fully explain agency relationships to you so that you can make an informed decision. If this was not done, then the agent has broken the law and may be subject to fines. If you simply visited the property or spoke over the phone to the sales agent, it should not be an issue to have your own representation. Also, if the builder's properties are listed in the "Multiple List," which is where agents search for available properties, then they cannot tell you that your agent must accompany you on the first visit (many will try to say this). Best of luck to you!

Lisa Devnew
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 9, 2009
Hi Pat,

Many realtors will tell you that it's fine to use the listing agent because they are representing "the transaction" not the seller. My personal belief is that there is a conflict of interest when trying to negotiate the best price for the buyer when the seller has listed with you. Agressive negotiations have become especially relevant in this market. For this reason I would always have my own representation, not the seller's listing agent.

No, you should not bring in another agent once you have had the on-site agent show you property. If you merely picked up some info, it's fine but if the on-site agent has shown you property then you need to disclose this to another agent that you might hire because they could find themselves in a commission dispute.

My advice is to find a good realtor that knows your market and will be a "bulldog" in negotiating the best price possible. Tell them the areas that you are interested in and let them represent your interests only. If they only offer to show you properties that are listed with their office, then move on. There are also "buyer's agents" that have no listings. Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 8, 2009
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