Home Buying in Boston>Question Details

Tinwoman, Other/Just Looking in Boston, MA

Should we use the seller's realtor as our buyer's agent?

Asked by Tinwoman, Boston, MA Sat Apr 14, 2012

We want to buy a home and are on a tight budget. We found a nice house that is just above our range and needs work. In order to save as much as we can and possibly make the deal work, we reached out to the seller's agent with the intention of using them as our buyer's agent. In this way, we were thinking we could eliminate the buyer's agent fee in addition to the typical negotiations. It turns out the listing realtor appears to be pretty senior (i.e. very busy with many more expensive properties) and has referred us to a jr realtor from the same office to view the home. We have not seen the house yet and we do not have any broker agreements in place.

Will we still be able to proceed as planned or will the jr realtor want to claim a buyer's commission? If the seller's realtor does not want to eliminate the buyer commission, can we then come back with another buyer's realtor of our choosing? And again, will the jr realtor who showed us the house to begin with have any claim? Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


Your question was answered buy 50 plus realtors. They are all thinking about their pay checks. If people find out that a title company is all you need to buy a house all of these realtors will be out of a job. Realtors need to rethink their compensation in todays Internet based market. you do not need a realtor to find and buy a house. Thirty years ago you had to go to a realtor just to find all the houses that were for sale now they are all just a click away. Flat rate listings for $100 to list and sell your house, realtors do not want you to know this.
20 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 24, 2013
We sold our former house without a realtor but offered the "courtesy to agent" fee. Saved us a ton of cash. We had to make flyers pay to register on the MLS, show the house (owner has to clean it anyway so being there to unlock the door is nothing). and negotiate the price. Then we purchased our current home without an agent on either end of the transaction. Once again, saved a ton of money. It is a little more work for the buyer, since the buyer has to fill out and file the paperwork, but it really is a case of whether you are willing to take the time and make the effort. You do need to make sure you write in your contingencies and terms. Best to do a lot of research beforehand so that you know what you want before writing an offer. If that is overwhelming, then get a realtor and pay for the advice. But, it isn't rocket science nor is it brain surgery. Just a matter of researching and doing your due diligence.
Flag Fri Apr 8, 2016
Jfritz is unrealistic and is looking at one transaction in their life. Does not have a clue what happens in the day to day business of real estate. Go do a FSBO and have a good life. Save thousands and leave the real business of selling homes to professionals who know what it takes to sell and purchase property. It is quite evident you do not. A buyers agent is their to protect the interest of their client. The listing agent passed the buyer to another agent so they could have an agent to work in their best interest. The listing agent did not want have a conflict with the seller who is looking for the highest purchase price they can get. They do not want to leave money on the table. The buyer wants to pay the least for the property. Not rocket science.
Flag Fri Apr 8, 2016
You got that right. I just sold my home on my own. Just had to hire a title company. Saved thousands in realtor fees.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
What number can I call for this?
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
I will agree that not all realtors are created equal. Just as any profession shows. But I work 12 hour days, 6 days a week to support my family. I have no security of a paycheck, it takes 30 to 90 days of working on a deal to close, and I do not get paid that entire time, until close. and then the contract could fall through at any point during that time for reasons out of my control spend 1000's upon 1000s of dollars on marketing my properties, office dues, national and state dues, etc. With absolutely no security unless I create it myself. It is more than a high risk job, and the pay averages out to a standard middle upper class wage. And We are responsible for millions of dollars of other people assets through out the year. I think the pay is very fair. But I am an honest hardworking realtor.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
I could probably sew up my own leg as well, but I prefer to pay a professional who has school and experience in these situations (like a Doctor). I could probably defend myself in court, but I prefer to pay a professional who has school and experience in the court room ( An attorney). I could probably change out my own transmission, but I prefer to pay a trained professional to make sure it is done right. The list goes on. Why, when it comes to one of the biggest purchases or sales of your lifetime would you not want to pay a professional who has studied the business in school, has a degree, and has experience in all the different scenarios that arise during a home Buy/Sell. What is it that you think a realtor does anyway? We are in place to help you through the process (which is not as simple as you make it out to be), to make sure that your interest are protected (from the lenders, escrow officers, the other party to the transaction, and most importantly, your interest over ours).
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
JFritz, I'm not a realtor but I know many and you are way wrong. 80% of the homes bought and sold are not via the internet. All realtors are not equal. The good ones are worth every penny they make and more. They know sales strategies that work in the market, they bring buyers to your door and they price homes well so that they don't sit on the market for very long. That is just the tip of the iceberg of what a good realtor would do for you. I could go on, but I don't want to bore anyone and I have to get back to work.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
I agree realtors are overpaid on a per deal basis, but I wouldn't say not to use one at all unless you have an attorney to assist and review contracts, addendums, disclosures, etc. There is a level of knowledge and protection you receive by being represented by a realtor. Using the same realtor as the seller... not sure if I agree with that. Yes you may get that 1-3% reduction in price if they agree not to collect on the buyer's side, but it's rare and may still not be the best deal you can get on that house.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016

Re' my FSBO in progress: Why should I pay a Buyers Agent anything since all he is going to do for me is bring me an offer less that Appraised Value? One offered me $27,000.00 less than my asking the SECOND day it was on the market. DUH!
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
Actually there may be a better way! I do not mind using sales agents because I USE THEM to get ME a price lower than I could on my own. My last purchase was accepted at 37% BELOW asking/comps not a fixer, excellent house and location. The listing agent HELPED me buy at a super low price.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
You have a ton of info here to weed through.
most listing agents/brokers in MA also work as buyer agents/brokers, but the converse is not true.

First- your plan to ask the listing broker to modify their existing agreement with the seller is poor.
If you can't afford the house, don't ask the broker to help you buy it.

Do you ask the gas station to help you fill your tank?
Do you ask your electric company to help you keep the lights on?
What the broker/agent is making on the sale is not your concern.

I am not a lawyer, and it looks like the way you are headed, you definatelyneed one.
(By the way - in MA most lawyers are automatically brokers.)
If you can't afford the house, don't interfere with the contract that the broker and the seller have in place.
Why make this so complicated?
Look at houses you can afford, and quit worrying what the broker/agent is getting paid.

That having been said, when you are buying a property in MA, and you are in a disclosed dual agency situation, you may have more leverage than if you are working with two separate agents/brokers.
No Buyer agent wants to admit that, because they want you to believe that no listing agent is honest enough to allow a buyer to use them , too.
In fact, the same section of laws that protect a customer from a buyer agent, cover a listing agent who is also working with the buyer.

Buyer agents only get paid when you hire them on the buy side.
They are in the business of "Listing Buyers" instead of listing property.
You can beware of them, too.

(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.)
12 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 17, 2012
Just another realtor out for his commission and own interest who could care less about his clients. Who the hell would do business with a pri*k like yourself?! And what makes the listing agent any more deserving of the 3% commission then the buyer's agent? If anything, listing agents need to get paid less. Overall, realtors are paid too much on a per deal basis.
Also if you were educated and could read the lady's questions... she isn't trying "to ask the listing broker to modify their existing agreement with the seller". She's trying to cut out hiring a buyer's agent to avoid costing the seller an additional 3% for that and in-turn just ask for a price reduction of equal value. I think it's a fair ask considering she found the home herself which is 80% of the work. Only thing is you're probably not going to have the seller's agent negotiating with the seller very much and should definitely get an attorney to review the contract before you sign.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
I feel you were very rude in your answer. Would not want to do business with you.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
Very simply as you are all giving educated opinions,how do you expect the Sellars Agent…(Broker,Brokerage..) to get the best offer when she represents the Buyer..impossible!Dual Agency is Fraud…as no other offers will be given any chance…or most importantly any bidding,the Agent has a fiduciary duty to her buyer which is itself Two-Faced…or is it just the double ended commission.
the seller is not given the best shot at at better price!
Flag Mon Mar 17, 2014
"Look at houses you can afford, and quit worrying what the broker/agent is getting paid"

Wow is right! She never said she was even THINKING about what the broker/agent is getting paid, she's just trying to figure out how she can save money, if she wouldn't have to pay a byer agent and the seller would just pay the agent's fee. How very unprofessional of a Broker to attack someone like that.
Flag Thu Feb 7, 2013
I do not normally respond to these, although, I can not believe the responces I see on this question.

1st off: If you do not have your own Realtor who by law has fiduciary for you only, you will then have to depend on the sellers Realtor. The sellers Realtor has fiduciary for the seller only, which means, that no matter how nice the sellers Realtor is, you have absolutely no representation and may not get the correct information about the home you are buying.

2nd: The sellers pay the same commission weather or not you have your own Realtor. If you have a buyers Realtor, the commission gets split in half between the two Realtors. If not, then the sellers Realtor gets it all. Normally the buyers does not pay commission. This may depend on the state. So why not have protection.

3rd: Think about this: Do you have a job? Do you get paid for your job? A Realtors job is real estate. And they should get paid for it. You have no idea the legal coarses that a Real Estate agent has to know so they do not end up in jail. And what they do behind the scenes every day for your transaction.

I am not going any farther, the people who answered your question have no idea what they are talking about. Yes, just like in any occupation, you have good and bad Realtors. That is why you interview them. If you get a bad one, it was because you made a bad choice.
8 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 26, 2014
We just bought a home two hours away in a dual agent arrangement and frankly, we were glad we did. The agent did all the 'busy' work for us, setting up the inspections, getting the contractors we needed, waiting for them and being there when the construction was going on, as well as the title search etc which one expects. Of course he went beyond the normal standards and got us "in" on the date of closing without us having to 'wait' for the house to be ready. Since he represented the seller as well, he served as the go between and got all these things done before closing. Only drawback is that he needed to be neutral in the negotiations.
Flag Sat Apr 9, 2016
Continued: I ran out of allowed words below. READ BELOW FIRST...can I finish an attic or basement. My agent had to spend an average of an hour at each of those 12 homes. Then we made an offer on one of the 3 that would work. It was being sold by a relocation co and negotiation were difficult. For all her work, she and the real estate company she works for got 3%, of which she gets half. The selling price for a brick 4 bedroom, 2 story colonial was $112k. So she made all of $1,680. Seller was paying a 6% commission.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
Finally someone who knows what they are talking about. I am not an agent, etc., but a person who buy income properties. I too live in the Boston area, but I bought a property in Roanoke Virginia using a buyers agent and she had to work her ass off for 6 mo before we found what I was looking for. This was a cash deal. Daily she had to email me listings, respond to question about the rental market, neighborhoods, crime rates, and do the walk-through on properties that looked like they may be of interest to me. Listings that did not have sufficient photos, she would go out and take more until I had enough info to make an offer or not. We lost 2 properties to other cash buyers while negotiating price, etc with the sellers. Finally other came of interest... and I decided to drive down and view 12 properties in 2 day. I don't look a properties in the way most do that are buying for their families, I am looking at potential, sweat equity... can that wall come down, can I finish an
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
Well MM, I think this is a valid healthy debate.

I don't think your intended analogy about the guitar, etc. is actually analogous and it wont work in favor of the point that you mention either. So I will skip talking about that.

The real interesting part from your note is QUOTE if we find you a buyer, we get paid "x," and if another agent finds you a buyer, we'll split "x". UNQUOTE. Now that is where the masquerading, politically correct sounding, legally vetted wordings but subtle dubiousness lie.
It will be a challenge to present that but let me try.

FEES are paid for SERVICES.

In the HOME SELL-BUY PROCESS, the following activities and services are relevant:

1. SELLER: Bringing the house for sale in the market and doing the tasks or activities towards making a sale happen. Seller may need the SERVICES of a Broker/Realtor towards help in such activities.

2. BUYER: Buyers needs to know about properties and then approach and engage with Seller/Seller's representative. Buyer may need the SERVICES of a Broker Realtor to help him in his activities.

When a Seller uses a Realtor, he is using that realtor ONLY FOR ACTIVITIES MENTIONED IN POINT 1 and fees should be appropriately defined only for POINT 1. What entitles the realtor to have a term that encompasses fees for activities in 2?

But it is the "smart" and "unhealthy" and unethical business savviness of the great real estate broker companies that they have devised this innocuous sounding "term" that has been quoted above, to sustain their disproportionate stranglehold in this information age. It really is unethical given the times that we live in and how other brokerage businesses happen. Fees should be paid for value being created but here we land up paying fees because of restrictive practices and controls that a party may unethically continue to hold because it is not getting challenged.

What entitles the realtor to have a term that encompasses activties in 2.?
Ethical? No, in my mind.
Required by the Realty Brokers to sustain disproportionate fees in this age of low cost information distribution? Absolutely.
Good for the economy? No.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 25, 2013
Hello again, Tinwoman-

I "misspoke" yesterday when I wrote this:

1. If you work directly with the seller’s agent, you’ll probably pay the same amount as if you have your own buyer’s agent. The seller’s agent will just happily accept the amount they’ve contracted with the seller.

What I meant to say is that you'll most likely pay the same or very similar costs in compensation to the agent(s) involved in your home purchase, whether you buy directly with the listing agent or have your own buyer agent.

The final price you pay for the property at the closing may indeed be substantially less than if you work with the listing agent, because your buyer's agent should a) help you get the lowest price possible at the initial negotiation, and b) should be looking for any additional price reductions and adjustments to other terms that are in your favor at every step throughout the process. The listing agent would be prohibited from helping you save money if it costs the seller anything or harms their interests in any way.

For instance, if your home inspection reveals the house needs a new roof, you might not know how to proceed. Your buyer's agent may recommend you ask the seller for a significant price reduction. A listing agent should never do this.

If you were working with the seller's agent and asked what you should do with such information, the agent should respond with something like, "Since I represent the seller, I can't answer that for you," or "Check with an attorney." You might get lucky and have a listing agent who says, "Tell us what you want and I'll take it to the seller." Though by saying that, it's murky at best that they're doing everything possible to help their client, at least it may prompt you, the buyer, to consider asking for what you need in order to stay in the deal.

But you might also get answers from a listing agent such as, "You knew this wasn't a new house when you agreed to the price," or "Surely you saw the condition of the roof before," or "We disclosed in the listing information the property was to be sold 'as is.'" Any of these may indeed be true, but that doesn't mean you are obligated to proceed with the deal with no adjustments for information gathered since your offer was accepted. Your inspector may have explained conditions are worse than you previously knew, or you may have independently found out that to replace this roof could cost $10,000, $15,000, or more.

You should never feel intimidated to stay in a deal you are unhappy with just because you were previously told something. New information can come to light at any time, and as long as you are protected by terms contained "within the four corners of the document," as a judge might say, you should be able to renegotiate or withdraw, if that's what you need to do.

BTW, I'm not recommending anyone back out of a contract willy-nilly. What I am saying is, if you have a legitimate reason to withdraw, you should feel free to explore your options.

Your strength in negotiating after a home inspection depends upon several things, including the wording of your inspection contingency, which spells out under which circumstances you will be able to walk away from the deal if you find something troubling at the inspection. So a) if the seller's agent has worded this contingency with an eye toward protecting the seller as much as possible, you may find yourself at greater risk of losing your deposit, and b) the listing agent may---possibly in very friendly terms---try to persuade you stay in the transaction or to ask for less in concessions than your buyer's agent would recommend.

If you should ever find yourself in a situation where you submit an offer on a property directly with a listing agent, hire your own attorney to draft or at least review the offer before you sign and submit it. This will likely cost you a couple hundred dollars, but could save you thousands and/or make it easier for you to withdraw from an accepted offer.

You may also wish to have an attorney review offers written by your buyer's agent, as well, to make sure s/he is doing everything they can for you. Hopefully you will have hired a competent and experienced agent who will adequately protect your financial interests with the very simple one-page offer forms used in Eastern Massachusetts. But if you have any doubt your interests are being fully protected in your offer, consult an attorney. Don't worry about offending your agent; if s/he is uncomfortable with a lawyer's scrutiny, that should raise a huge red flag for you.

As I said in my previous post, there are many potential points of negotiation throughout a transaction that can affect your interests. I think it's clear you want a zealous advocate on your side at each one.

So I return to my "executive report" answer: Whenever practical, hire a buyer's agent who you are confident will diligently protect your interests at all times.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 15, 2012
I agree... The fact is, they are being paid a percentage... which means that the selling agent wants you to pay as much as possible, after all, smaller price = smaller commission. The buyer's agent will is responsible to represent you. I am not sure I would use a broker from the same brokerage, they could have a buddy-buddy system that helps you negotiate... or hurts you. Just saying.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
The question is who''s best interest will that realtor have? Yours or the seller? I went with a the sellers agent and the house under appraised by $40,000. All the other agents in that community knew the house was overpriced. The seller's agent supported the seller, who would not come down in price. On inspection items that needed to be fixed, the agent stepped aside and put me in contact with the seller who tried to talk me out of fixing some of the issues. I did not buy the house. I lost $2,000 on appraisals, inspections etc. If I had an agent they would have protected me from this mess.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
They wouldn't. We had a buyer's agent and doubt about the inspection, we hired our own inspector, paid him- count licensed- and gasped.

Our agent did not get us any price drop. The property, grossly overpriced, sat there for the next 3 years. Then the county tagged it.

Agents don't care.
Flag Sun Apr 10, 2016
WHC replied,

- "the current model serves the general population of sellers the best.".

I disagree. The current model does NOT serve the general population of sellers better. It helps serve the realty companies maintain their hold and maintain disproportionate fees while preserving a model that precludes the possibility of more efficient brokering process. As the world and economy evolve over years, the general principle that is commonly followed and accepted is that business processes and in-general ways of doing things need to evolve and be simpler and be more efficient while leveraging newer technology and innovations. Realty business is able to hold on to an archaic model for their own good AGAINST the above principle and AGAINST the common good. Someday, that bastion will fall. Again, nothing against the people in the realty business, but just a general perception as an observer.

Well, you disagree. That should change things.

What you would do well to know is the current, co-brokerage model, is not "archaic," but rather new and hardly universal. In your experience, which is . . . well, let me guess: reading a few residential real estate blogs and perhaps being enrolled in an economics class? - co-brokerage may seem universal, but it is not. It has gained precedence in residential real estate, and it is not the dominant means of brokering commercial / industrial property or leasing.

Those fields tend to cling to the older model, which is that the listing broker goes out and finds a buyer / tenant, and when they do so, they keep the commission. And, they tend to be a much more sophisticated clientele.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 28, 2013
Mack, well said as always. WHC, I will remind you that all commissions are negotiable between sellers and listing agents. The listing agent can agree/not agree to any form of compensation, big or small, and any variation. The listing agent, in some states, can have an agreement that if the buyer does not have an agent they can lower their commisson. It's called a variable-rate fee.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 26, 2013
Hi "tinwoman",

Great questions! I totally understand wanting to save money, don't we all ! I'd like to try to simplfy your senario.

I will cut to the possible answers and then provide the supporting details.

All of this is conjecture without a written offer and good faith deposit.

a. you may put in the offer with the jr. agent who showed you the house. If the brokerage company is a "designated" office then the agent represents the seller not you. The jr.agent needs to disclose to you BEFORE showing you the property who he or she represents. If they are "dual agent" they represent neither party and must act fairly to both parties. You may ask them if you can hire them to be your buyers agent with a contract.

b. The seller can accept, reject or counter. What goes on between the seeler and their agent is private. Agents rarely adjust their commission just to get the house sold.

c. in order for YOU to be best represented I recommend you hire a buyers agent, with a signed contract. They will advise you on offerings. If you do not get this home, remember, there are many more homes for sale. Stay with your buyers agent and you increase the chances you will get a home you will like.

A gentle reminder... there is no correlation between what you can afford to pay for a house and what a real estate agent has negotiated with their client.

Regarding commissions. They are negotiable. Usualy the commission is negotiated at the time when 2 parties sign a contract. Then the real estate agent is the fidicuary agent of the client, seller or buyer.

An example for a sellers agent: the agent negotiates a 5% commission for professional services, payable at the time of closing and recording of the deed. That agent then determines how they will compensate a buyers agent. That % is disclosed on the MLS property description.

It is also important to understand why a commission is paid. This is a way for professional real estate agents to get paid for services rendered. Just like a physician, who has a fee for services; a landscaper, a teacher, who has a salary, and so on.

a. If the jr. agent shows you the house it is good faith that you will work with them. They could attemp to claim a commission however that probably would not hold up. They would have to prove procurring cause - that they are the reason you put in an offer which was accepted.

WHY even go down that path, it's messy and not a good idea to use a professional whom you will not pay.

The time to claim having a buyers agent is when you have a contact with a buyers agent and when you first visit the house. Yes, you may do that now and learn how they respond.

Best Wishes to you

2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Use a buyer's...save yourself the hassle. It won't cost any less to use the seller's agent. Using their agent would be a bad move.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 25, 2012
I am looking to buy a million dollar property. I've already identified the property using one of the dozens of real estate sites out there. Help me understand the value that a seller's agent is providing if I give them the deal that would justify their $25K commission.
Flag Fri Nov 1, 2013
Wow people do anything to save a buck.. or not . http://www.capecodrealtor.co
Flag Fri Apr 27, 2012
Always use a buyers agent! Even a disclosed dual agent is a sellers agent. The sellers agent works for the seller not you!! Hire an agent that will represent you not you and the seller. Make an offer and ask for $5,000 to close. http://realfundingpartners.wordpress.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 18, 2012
6. It's legal in Mass. for a brokerage firm to offer financial or other incentives to their buyer agents to keep sales "in house." That’s where both the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent work for the same company. This may seem innocent enough on the surface, but I think it is a shameful practice and should be outlawed. If your "buyer's agent" has the opportunity to make ten or twenty or 25 percent more if you buy a home listed with their company, how can you trust them to always give you unbiased information on any property? This temptation would be amplified if the agent is having a bad year or has other financial pressures. It's true that any agent has fiduciary duties s/he owes every client. But it would be difficult to prove in a court of law what motivated an agent to talk to a buyer-client in glowing terms about one property and less-than-glowing terms about another. It is unlawful and unethical for a so-called buyer’s agent to steer a buyer toward any particular home if the agent benefits in any way from it.

7. From a financial standpoint, dual agency is great for real estate firms. It comes with some additional risks of liability, but most companies---and virtually all large companies---happily practice dual agency. But dual agency is terrible for consumers. If I had to guess, more than 90 percent of agents in Massachusetts work for firms that welcome and/or encourage dual agency. The reason is simple: the company gets to keep the compensation from both sides of the transaction. But since the agent in the middle cannot recommend anything to help one client at the expense of the other, your buyer agent who becomes a dual agent transforms from your head coach into a referee. If you want a recommendation of what to do at a critical point during the transaction, a dual agent cannot give that to you, unless they are certain it won’t harm either client.

8. Though the law that created “designated agency” in Massachusetts did have the positive impact of making buyer agency more universally acceptable to agents and brokers throughout the Commonwealth, I’m not a big fan of it, either. Probably more than 97 percent of agents in Mass. work for a company that practices designated agency. Designated agency assumes two agents in the same firm can maintain a 100 percent foolproof firewall at all times, where absolutely no information that could hurt the interests of either party leaks to the agent on the opposite side. Plus, the agents in a designated agency firm can’t participate in open, collaborative discussions about how to help their clients without risking information sharing that could bite their client in the backside at a later date. A couple seeking a divorce with contested interests wouldn’t hire two lawyers from the same firm. Why should buyers and sellers accept an analogous situation?

I apologize for taking up so much word space, but a simple question often has a very complicated answer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 14, 2012
Please,I was never even informed of Agency Postions,at all,probably signed on the dotted line earl yon…... by my Agent,Realtor…HALSTEAD REALTY………………..
Why do you think this happened ………either they thougt I was ignorant…my recollection is of a very condescending,secretive and smug attitude….insulting, thought or they knew I would disagree…its called withholding information……….Dual Agency is a Oxymoron…this is New York City UES..
Flag Tue Apr 22, 2014
There have been some good points made here.

The Seller's Agent, could never give you *true* Buyer Agency representation.

They could provide disclosed Dual Agency, however, that means they have to remain neutral and can give neither side an advantage.

There are Buyer Agents who understand when a Buyer is on a tight budget and would be willing to take the commission offered in PINERGY (MLS Database), which is paid by the Seller. More often than not, this is a reasonable commission.

Some Agents focus on the people buying the home and helping them reach their dream, rather than how much of a commission they will make.

It all works out in the end, if they do a good job, you'll refer friends and family members to them and so will they.

I hope you are able to buy the home of your dreams!

2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 14, 2012
The sellers’ agent is representing the sellers and has a fiduciary responsibility to them. There is more than likely an agreement in place between the sellers and their agent that covers the fees to be paid from the proceeds of the transaction and to whom. While it is not unheard of to also have the listing agent represent the buyers, this arrangement would put the listing agent in dual agency and all parties would need to acknowledge and agree to this arrangement and understand the implications of this situation.

You are entitled to and should want buyer representation. The jr. realtor will be entitled to a commission and may even be considered the procuring agent should you first view the property with them and then try to bring in another agent to represent you as your buyers’ agent. You should retain an agent that you feel comfortable with to represent you right from the start. A knowledgeable agent will be able to assist you with assessing the value of a particular property as well as negotiating on your behalf regarding price and other terms of your purchase contract. Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish. This is an important transaction – often the largest purchase most people will make. You want someone with your best interest in mind to represent you and guide you through this process.

Good luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 14, 2012
Flag Thu Oct 17, 2013
conflict of interest!
Flag Thu Oct 17, 2013

they will still charge you the fees- which is what you are asking.

Else then that: you darling agent will not bother with disclosures, will manipulate the comps to exclude cheap sale and REO, will have no idea or interest what is permitted on th e house nor any idea what the town requires if there is a lien on it.

They will have an idea how they want for presenting you with paperwork- and pushing you to their favorite lender and loan.

Find the house , pay few hundreds to an real estate lawyer and get the house yourself- doing all of the above plus getting the title from the town 's assessor.

Just an example: a real estate hack is currently offering hugely overpriced piece of land, he bought it himself for 10% of the price he wants but that is not in the listing, and while the land is under county jurisdiction he advertises it as under Brea influence (Brea has 0 influence on county land) and Brea approved for family house.

The county has it as open spaces, no development.

That is the kind of professionalism real estate agents really do use.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2016
First of all: The sellers agent's fiduciary responsibilities is to the seller, not you, and their job is to get the most for the seller. Secondly: They have a listing agreement where the seller has already signed off on the percentage of commissions no matter if there is one or two agents involved. So unless the realtor is willing to give up their commissions it won't matter. Also who showed you that house? Realtors don't get paid for showing homes so if you have been looking at houses with a realtor and now want to cast them aside for a few dollars that is he sellers responsibility to pay then shame on you. The looking process creates a relationship between a buyers agent and the buyer that helps you get better deals and an advocate to help solve problems and negotiate on your behalf. So everything you are suggesting is actually hurting you more than anyone else....except the person who spent their time and gas money showing you houses. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
I suppose there are a lot of variables in this debate, but for a pretty basic property and contract I feel safe only using the buyers realtor. My last house needed a lot of work and had an obvious mold issue - which the sellers realtor was all too eager to have cleaned up - and did. The inspection was solid and after the mold was cleaned up, my offer of 17K under asking price was still eagerly gobbled up. Being that the seller saved some commission fees and it had been on the market about 2 years and it needed a lot of updating was the perfect storm to allow my offer.

Now if an inspection revealed a lot of issues and it was a very expensive property, I might rethink obtaining my own representation. But go with your gut and see what the inspection reveals.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?
Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?
According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?
So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?
It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,000 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?
There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 6, 2015
I came looking for an answer to the same question. I was pretty sure I knew the answer as a potential Buyer, but wanted to verify just in case I missed something. I read most of everything here, bottom line,
Buyer get yoru own agent, CONFLICT OF INTEREST otherwise, plain and simple.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 9, 2013
Well, WHC, I appreciate your point of view, but I would like to suggest that the buyer isn't doing any "hard work," it is the listing broker that is publishing the listing information that reaches the buyer - it usually reaches them by an email originated from a real estate website - and that the agreement that we have with sellers is this: if we find you a buyer, we get paid "x," and if another agent finds you a buyer, we'll split "x" with them.

I don't know what you do for a living, but I have found that if I go to Guitar Center and pick out a guitar, then decide to bypass the floor salesperson and buy it on line, I do not get a discount.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 25, 2013
What is good for the economy is that SERVICES CREATE VALUE and GET PAID PROPORTIONATELY.
It appears that the Realty business survives by an unstated, arguably unethical protocol being followed by all the realty businesses to make their listing agreements in a manner that binds the seller to pay the full commission (Seller + buyer) even if there is no buyer realtor. If a buyer is willing to put in his hard work to find the listing agent and approach him and is confident of doing the transaction himself, why should not the buyer get the advantage. If the Realty business needs such practices to survive and maintain their hold and get paid disproportionately without adequate value getting created by the "unethical" nexus that they maintain, then probably the government or advisory bodies needs to step in to make it fair and equitable.

Like an owner can list his home directly and save, similarly the buyer should be able to deal directly with the listing agent and should be entitled to save. Realty business should look to redefine this arguably unethical and definitely not-good-for-the-economy practice, which hurts everybody including the realtors.

I don't think anybody grudges the commissions for realtor agents, they put in the hard work. Its the basis on which the big realty chains/businesses keep their stranglehold which should be looked into.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 25, 2013
Huh! We, as consumers, want the best price for a service. We are not getting that with real estate industry. It could be called a monopoly. I do not think it's hard work to drive around and open a door. In fact, buyers do a lot more driving around looking at properties on their own. I'm just not a big fan of real estate agents.
Flag Thu Apr 7, 2016
Most of the time, the commission is not renegotiated if the buyer does not have his or her own agent. The full fee is payable per the lsiting agreement, so it either goes totally to the lsiting agent or in the case you described, probably half to the listing agent the other half to the the agent in her office that she wants you to accept. I, too, am an exclusive buyer agent, adn I agree that you might as well have your own agent get paid thea other half. So do not go see the house until you have that worked out. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 19, 2012
Find an exclusive buyer agent. Search Google for Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents or the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. Using the listing agent or anyone in the listing agent's office is a mistake. Don't rush the biggest purchase in your life. Get some sound advice. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 19, 2012
Because of the potential for "conflict of interest" when dual agency exists, many locations do not allow this relationship. When purchasing in areas where it is allowed, one should tread very cautiously when considering this option.

Let put it this way.....if you were going to trial for legal matters would you feel comfortable being defended by the prosecuting attorney?????

Buyers are always well advised to obtain their own personal representation...It's basic "buying 101."

Good luck,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 18, 2012
Quick and easy answer: No

Find your own exclusive buyer's asap. Don't use someone that works on that listing agents team or in their office.
Using the agent who represents the seller will cost you money. They are legally obligated to protect the seller throughout the entire process which means you will get very limited advice on property value. In addition their pocket gets bigger the more money you pay so why take a chance trusting someone who doesn't put your pocket and interests first.

Here are 2 very good reads on the topic. Get yourself educated and interview some buyer's agents:



Good luck! Feel free to call us anytime with questions.

Web Reference: http://territory.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 16, 2012
their is no way you can expect the sellers agent to work for nothing YOUR OUT OF YOUR MIND
he will want his listing commission and selling commission.

No one would get me to do that, I would walk away.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 21, 2016
Its always easy and great to save lots of money until you hit a snag. Bliss is wonderful, not knowing that you could be sued for fraud for an "innocent mistake." However, unless you have some depth and breath of the industry you would never know that this happens.

Then there's the problems with chain of title, sometimes there are past due taxes that must be paid by the new owner because the lien is on the home, not the person. Or the title company that mistakenly wrote down the wrong unit number on the deed ... after major renovations the owner returned from vacation to ask what they were doing to his 2nd home.

Then there are the developments that flop, and your deposit disappears. Bottom line is the agent does much more than unlock the door. They know the law and are accountable to it or can be fined for an ethics violation. They pay for insurance that covers these things called Errors and Omissions. Why do you suppose there are real estate attorneys?

Good for you if you can do it, but it's intensive work that doesn't always work out the way you expected, unless you have a smart, seasoned agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 6, 2016
Jfritz.26 that may be true in some states but not NY. We have abstracts, surveys, deed issues, Indian land claims and flood zones. The knowledge of a Realtor is invaluable. We work hard each and every day. We never have an uninterrupted vacation as we are constantly working for our clients 24 hours a day. Most other professions can leave work at 5 or 6pm go home to their family and not think about their job. This is not the case with a successful Realtor. In some areas the home prices are so low it is hardly worth the money we get paid but many Realtors don't do this job for the money. We do it because we get pleasure helping someone to buy or sell their home in a somewhat easy fashion without a lot of stress and issues. As far as the question the that the buyer asked....it is possible to use the seller's agent as long as you are very familiar with the market prices and other factors where you are buying. Also, you will not have representation by that Realtor. Most homes in our area offer a buyers agent compensation through the transaction so you wouldn't have to worry about paying for that representation. Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2016
The seller pays ALL of the commission. There is no payment from the buyer for commission. Don't let anyone charge you to look at a home and don't ever pay a commission as a buyer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 11, 2016
The seller pays all of the commission
Flag Sat May 21, 2016
As a buyer you don't pay commission. Only the seller does. Why wouldn't you want someone to represent you, who has your best interest, and technically you're not even paying them - the seller. Don't ever go for a "dual agent". It's not humanly possible to represent both sides fairly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 10, 2016
There are sometimes agents that will reduce the commission by some amount if they "double end" a property. It usually isn't by the amount they offer to a buyer agent.
They offer a portion of the commission they negotiated with the seller to find and represent a buyer. What most people dismiss is the "represent" part. That's where the buyer agent guides buyer through sale process. They know, receive & provide all the necessary forms and disclosures to the buyer, counsel and answer questions, assist with the home inspection selection and process, explain the various forms and disclosures and take on the responsibility of making sure it is all correctly completed and submitted to the selling agent within all the legal timelines. They will often also explain things about the lender and escrow requirements to the buyer who may feel confused by unusual sounding demands.
Often, a buyer's agent does more work during escrow than when showing properties.
It appears that the listing agent for the property you're interested in is busy as a listing agent and doesn't have additional time to take on buyers. In your case, it would seem best for you to work with a buyers agent of your choosing to view and offer on the home. They may be able to structure the offer to your advantage and find other ways to save you money, depending on your local market.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 8, 2016
My experience is they don't do most of it at all.
Buyers has to find their inspector and be prepared for nasty surprises that somehow did not appear on listing's disclosure.

The forms are template.

If you do not watch them, they miss the deadline.

And believe me, th e lenders will lies as often as the agents, again check and recheck, particularly as they will sell your loan almost immediately packed in the new derivatives that started in 2015, trenched loans.
Flag Sun Apr 10, 2016
I have never heard of a buyers commission. To my knowledge, the only commission that comes
into play is the sellers commission with their listing agent. When the house is sold, if by another
agent the commission will be split by the selling agent and the listing agent. If the listing agent
sells the house, he will get 100% of the commission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 8, 2016
It is not exactly a commission, they just hike the price to cover what they pay to them.
Flag Sun Apr 10, 2016
Essentially what your are asking of the listing agent is to act as a "dual agent" hoping he would reduce or eliminate his commission (acting as the buyer's agent - representing you on the purchase of his seller's home) in hopes of ultimately reducing your own purchase price. You may initially say "I can represent myself," but who will you call if you have a question on how to write up the offer, or understand inspection period & deadlines not to mention protect your interest in the purchase?
The listing agent referred you to a "jr buyer's agent" because he was smart not to represent both sides. His fiduciary responsibility is 100% to his seller, not you.
You can't afford the house....you should not expect the seller & listing agent to reduce their cost to finance your purchase. Excellent realtors work extremely hard, attend continued education weekly, hustle for their clients, protect your interest.....they are worth their weight in Gold!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
Let InBedrock.com help you answer the Rent v Buy v Invest question for yourself and your unique situation re: Your monthly rent expense option v house purchase price You would like to buy + all its associated costs like closing/title/mortgage interest/RE taxes/HO insurance/utilities + maintenance costs/broker selling commission/capital gains taxes/and more! InBedrock.com is educational, in-depth, and easy to understand for first-time homebuyers.
Web Reference: http://InBedrock.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
First of all, realtors are a dying breed. they still exist but the game is changing. I have bought homes, and never hired a buyer's agent. Mainly to negotiate and lock an offer. Both parties benefit from this deal, although i say the seller may benefit slightly more with this as he doesn't have much to lose. I highly recommend this to my friends, but most are just too scared. This is how you save money in life. You have to see risk vs reward in every scenario. here, the risks are too low. If you know the area very well, and have some experience with the home ownership, it's just a very bad idea to go with a buyers agent. I also find the realtors just too annoying and pushy. Yes, you may not be like that, but believe me, most of them are. That's their professional skill.
I say, go for it! just analyze the worst that can happen in this transaction and if you will be fine with that. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
First it makes no difference to you the buyer ,the seller is paying his agent to sell his property and your buyers agent for bringing you to the table. They split the commission. The value your buyers agent brings to you costs you nothing but the value they bring (if they know what they are doing) is to prevent you from making a costly mistake, like in paying more than the property is worth or wasting your time on a deal the won't happen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
Back in 1998 when I bought my house my agent had to split the fee between the sellers agent and my agent so there should not be any additional cost for each agent one fee gets split between them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
Regardless of the number of agents involved, the commission is the same. If there are 2 agents, it is split. If you use the listing agent, there is no split. In my experience, unless you and the listing agent know each other personally, it is better to have a buyer's agent in your corner. It won't cost more and you will have a professional with experience walking you through the process. That person will have relationships with mortgage companies, a good inspector, etc.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
It sounds like maybe the seller did not agree to dual agency (represent you and seller) so they are referring you to another agent in that office. If you do work with the agent the selling agent recommended, that agent will also be paid a commission. I recommend that you do get an agent that represents you so your best interests are covered. If you end up using just the selling agent, that agent will get the entire commission. I beg to differ that all realtors are overpaid. We do a lot of work that buyers/sellers do not see behind the scenes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
Let InBedrock.com help you answer the Rent v Buy v Invest question for yourself and your unique situation re: Your monthly rent expense option v house purchase price You would like to buy + all its associated costs like closing/title/mortgage interest/RE taxes/HO insurance/utilities + maintenance costs/broker selling commission/capital gains taxes/and more! InBedrock.com is educational, in-depth, and easy to understand for first-time homebuyers.
Web Reference: http://InBedrock.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
The usual commission for any realtor is 6% of the final selling price on any home that you decide to purchase unless you can strike up a deal with the agent(s) for less commission on their end and make sure you have that in writing if you do make a deal.

To answer your question regarding any buyer agent. You have a choice as to whoever you want. As long as they are licensed realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
I've bought and sold many homes. For those saying the buyer's agent "protects the buyer's interests" I don't buy that one bit. The agent isn't going to absorb any responsibility for any issues with title, the house itself, etc. Title company does all lien, etc research, and you (or seller) pays for that. House issues...well, that's why you get 10 days (or whatever your contract stipulates) for inspections, then whatever remedy options. As a buyer, you take that risk no matter who represents you.

Who pays agents and whatever percent is negotiable as well.

Personally, I'd cut expenses, work with the seller (I require contact with the other party, and it works PHENOMENALLY), and just be adults buying/selling an asset. Neither buyer nor seller really determines value of the asset either if you have to secure a loan - the appraiser (NOT tax assessor) does that based on comparable sales, features of the home, neighborhood, etc. Their job is to make sure the bank loans you the appropriate amount based on asset value, not buyer/seller hopes and opinions.

Nobody has "claim" on representing you if you haven't signed a contract.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
You are right.
Flag Sun Apr 10, 2016
I am currently selling my house. My Realtor is a great friend of mine and is as honest as the day is long. He has given me a big break on his commission and I would be happy to pass that savings on to any perspective buyer. There is no way he would try to collect a commission on the buying side as he has no contractual relationship with the buyer. However, if a buyer comes with their own agent, I wont be as lenient in my price negotiations as I have to try and cover an extra 3% commission which is about 10K.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
In my case, my realtor is paid by the seller. As buyer, I don't pay him. lk
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
Dear Homebuyers,

You should use your own Buyer's Agent.The Seller is already going to pay a %, such as 6% for the sale of their home. If you don't use your own Agent that will protect your interests, then the Seller's agent will just get the commission that was meant to go to the Buyer's Agent. You might as well use a Buyer's Agent that will do the best job protecting you and your interests. Contact me as I know a good one in your area.
**Buyers and Sellers please contact me as I do a Free Realtor Referral Biz Worldwide.**
Carrie Witt
Equity Idaho
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
It is very simple . If you and your wife were getting a divorce, would use use the same attorney.

There were many court actions relating to this questions, especially in CA. Best advice hire your own agent to represent you, and your interest, and agree to conpensate them seperatly. One other point the agent you hire make sure they are NIT connected to the listing agency, (conflict of interest).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
I know of a few buyers agents that will actually pay you to use them, as much as 1% of the purchase price. All you have to do is ask. They still make thousands of dollars for doing very little work that you can't do yourself. If the agent refuses, look elsewhere and find someone who wants your business. If the agent is double-ending the deal, even more should be paid to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
We just found and bought a home on our own, and the sellers gave us more than 6% off the sales price. My recommendation is that you call a law firm that specialized in FSBO and ask them this question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
Why do you need a buyer's agent?
Specifics of commissions, costs, etc, must be detailed in writing in the real estate contract, which your attorney will draft for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
I'm not the expert but it's just math. Traditional 6% realtor commission is split between the buyer's and seller's agents. If you don't have an agent, deduct 3% from your offer right up front and don't hesitate to tell the other parties why. Neither the seller nor their realtor should care as that was money they weren't getting anyway. Then negotiate until you're satisfied or walk away. At closing make sure your attorney has checked for liens, etc., and reviewed and initialed all the documents you're about to sign.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 7, 2016
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