Home Buying in Brooklyn>Question Details

Lynne, Home Buyer in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn...

What are the options if you viewed a house without an agent and now you may want to pursue the property? Is it too late to involve an agent?

Asked by Lynne, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY Wed Mar 23, 2011

I went to an open house alone and am now going back to view the house again with my husband. We were previously interested in a neighboring property and the agent of the neighboring property contacted me regarding the new house—although I did not receive the email until after I went to the open house. The neighboring property agent suggested she come along to the next viewing as she has experience in the area's market and could help negotiate an offer if we decide to move forward. I agreed. The seller’s agent has now informed me that I cannot involve an agent at this point since I was not working with an agent when I went to the initial open house. Now assuming we do pursue the property, is there anyone we can work with to help us through the negotiations? Should we bring in a real estate lawyer?

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Dear Lynne:

Simply visiting an open house does not warrant the agent conducting the open house to be credited for making the sale or a "meeting of the minds." You can do whatever you want. Just be prepared because if you go with another agent other than the one who has listed the property and/or was conducting the open house, the listing agent may not want to compensate the agent you bring in after the fact. In that case YOU would have to pay your agent their fee! This can make things more complicated and expensive for you.

Here in Brooklyn, if a buyer visits an open house without an agent, it is traditional that the agent conducting the open house would be credited as being the "selling agent." If when you went in you did not inform the agent conducting the open house that you are working with another agent, they will be very upset if you bring in another agent after the fact, thereby taking away their desire to make your deal. In that scenario, rest assured that if there are other offers on the table, yours will be put into the last position (unless you are offering a heck of a lot more than all the other buyers!).

I think it was wrong for the neighboring agent to suggest he or she "come along" with you after the fact, knowing that you already went into the open house by yourself. Sounds to me that that agent is just looking to make a quick buck.

Also, you really do not need another agent to be involved. You know what is out there and should be familiar with pricing in the area. Just make an offer that you feel the property is worth and see what happens. You can always start a little low and see how the seller responds and then raise your offer if you want to. If you want, give me a call and with more details I may be able to give you some helpful advise and you wouldn't have to pay me a fee!

With regards to the lawyer, lawyers do not typically negotiate deals, they simply put the contracts together once the deal is made. if you do have a lawyer I would suggest you call him or her with your concerns to get more perspective on the matter. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Good luck!

Sincerely,
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
Email: MitchellSFeldman@aol.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
Of course it is not "too late", there will be some local agents or Realtors available on here to help. Ask for references, see how fast they respond to phone calls and emails. In the end, your gut will also tell you whom to "trust" and use. Remember, most of the time, if the proeprty is listed on MLS, it will cost you nothing as the buyer to use your own agent. Best of luck, buying a property should be a fun, exciting, and education experience.

Spirit
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Of course you can have your own agent and based on how the sellers agent is trying to manipulate you, I would say you would be making a huge mistake not to do it. They are not treating you ethically. You have no obligation to choose the other agent either. They did not lead you to the property, you found it on your own. What you need to do is get a good Agent who will look out for your interests and only your interests. If you know a good Realtor then use them. If you don't, don't just choose someone at random that you ran into (like the agent at the neighboring property) without checking them out and making a determination that they are good. If you need help, feel free to contact me. Coldwell Banker is one of the largest agencies in the country and we have contacts at all offices and can help get you a realtor in the area who has a great track record and a good reputation. Don't take a chance. You don't need a lawyer at this point but you do need an experienced agent. See my website for how to contact me. I'd love to be of assistance if I can.
Web Reference: http://JenniferMu.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
East vs West, I can only give an opinion based upon my real estate practice in Oregon. So my experience over the past 11 years is that unless you signed an agreement for an agent to represent you, you are not obligated to
to work with any agent. There could be exceptions depending upon how that agreement is worded.
Now, if you contacted an agent to show you property and they introduced you to a property then they could pursue at least a portion of the commission as "procuring cause" as they introduced you but it doesn't often happen.
Even if you have a buyer/broker agreement you only have to dismiss the agent in writing and then move on to make your offer with anyone you select. My feeling is that the buyer is my boss and he can fire me but having a potential buyer just dropping in to preview a home at an open house does not constitute a relationship.
By the way, I am not a lawyer, I do not play a lawyer on TV and this is not meant to replace advice that you should obtain from a lawyer:)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
You can pick any agent you want to work with if you don't already have a signed buyer's agent agreement with the seller's agent. Just showing up for an open house does not create an agency relationship. You probably don't need an attorney at this point, but having a good real estate attorney on speed-dial is not a bad idea. Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

Mike Cooper, Broker
Cornerstone Business Group, Inc.
1437 Front Royal Rd
Winchester, VA 22602
540-722-6029
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
Great question "Home Buying in Brooklyn". In Pennsylvania everything is governed by executing a contract. If you did not sign a "buyer agency agreement" with an agent no matter what leg work they did, you are NOT obligated to that agent. No need for a lawyer although it is always a good idea to run it by one if you have one.

As for selecting an agent, I always recommend going to Zillow (sorry Trulia) for agent reviews by previous clients in that area.

Good luck and I hope this helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 30, 2011
Buyers have a right to request representation. Even if you've already put in an offer, you can rescind that offer and inform the listing agent that you are seeking representation. If the agent is telling you it's "too late", that agent is only trying to get the entire commission for himself/herself. Even if it is an office exclusive, you can involve a buyer's agent. However, you may need to enter into an exclusive right to represent agreement with your agent in order to ensure he/she gets compensated.

Good luck.

Ralph Windschuh
Associate Broker
Certified Buyer Representative
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Century 21 Princeton Properties
631-467-0009
rwindschuh@c21princetonproperties.com
http://www.c21princetonproperties.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
If you would like to use your own agent, no reason not to use that agent, regardless what the listing agent says--you have every right to your own representation.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
You have an absolute right to representation. The listing agent does not represent you...he/she represents the seller.

The listing agent is 100% wrong in what she says.

You go right ahead with your own Realtor and if the listing agent has a problem; after the deal is closed, he/she can go after your Realtor...but I will tell you right now...there is no case.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Hi.
Only viewing a property at an "open house", does not obligate you to use the sellers agent , unless you agreed to it at open house, or signed an agreement with said agent to represent you in the transaction. You can use the agent that directed you to this property, if you so choose, and especially if you so intended.
Good luck.
Anna Hershey
http://www.lajollahomes@annahershey.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Not all agents are required to co-broke (share) their listings and commissions with other agents. Many small firms in Brooklyn do not allow you to have your own agent, unless you pay her yourself. What company is the seller's agent with? If it is a member of REBNY (the Real Estate Board of NY) they are required to co-broke with other REBNY-member agents. This includes all of the big firms and many smaller ones. However, if it's a non-REBNY firm you may be out of luck unless you want to pay a buyer's agent yourself. If this is the case I would reconsider going ahead with this house. Good luck to you.

Barbara Ann Rogers, Licensed Real Estate Broker
William B. May
Office 212-696-1866 x7
E-fax 718-228-4093
Mobile Phone 718-664-8434
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Are you hiring the other agent as a buyer's agent and are you willing to pay a commision to that agent to assist you in the negotiations? if not, then that agent actually works as a broker's agent and their loyalty is to both the broker and the seller and can not negotiate on your behalf. The actions of the friendly agent next door are borderline unethical, and I personally advise you to steer away from an agent that is willing to lie to get your business. If you viewed the property and signed the visitor's sheet then you should continue to deal with that agent.. As far as negotiating, that is the simple part. If the asking price is "X" and you feel comfortable offering something less, then do so. The agent will either accept or tell you they have a better offer. In that case you can choose to raise your offer or select another house. At some point , they may counter with a price less than asking and you can meet half way or raise your offer in small increments. If the agent decides he is sitting on a gold mine he may counter with I'm only accepting full price offers. Since you are on Trulia do some research of what other similar houses in the area sold for and use that as a guide to determine your offering price. Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Dear Lynne,

Absolutely, you should have your own buying agent. The listing agent is representing the sellers best interest, although the listing agent can represent, both seller and buyer the listing agent client is the seller. You need to have a buyers agent that has your best interest.

It would be my pleasure to speak with you, and assist you through this process, if you and your husband decide to move forward. Please contact me as soon as possible. tstuckey1ny@msn.com

Best regards,
License real estate agent
Tanya Stuckey
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
I f you would like a Realtor® you can call me for a free consultation on this matter and if I can be a help I will be happy to assist you !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
Lynne,
You should insist on having your own agent. I'm not exactly sure about NY, but I do not believe a listing agent can deny you the right to have buyer representation.

Good Luck!
Stacy Carter
Associate Broker
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 23, 2011
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