Angela, you have read a thousand times that a buyer should have their own representation.
Yes, you can walk outside the umbrella of protection this provides you.
But YOU must accept the FULL responsibility of the outcome should you get soaked to the bone.
That is one of the really great things about real estate, we really CAN NOT prevent people from harming themselves, we can only advise.
If you want the listing agent to represent you and the seller, with whom they have a pre-existing relationship, you are fully able to do so. That is what is so great about real estate.
The listing agent will be doing the happy dance.
And, you will be none the wiser. That is what is so great about real estate.
Here is some local insight!! Great question. There are pros and cons to this situation. I will start by explaining a little about disclosed dual agency (when an agent represents both buyer and seller in the same transaction).
When an agent is trying to deal with a buyer and a seller, there are 4 topics that they legally cannot discuss with either party. They are 1) The willingness of the seller to pay less than the asking price, 2) The willingness of the buyer to pay more than what they've offered, 3) Confidential negotiation strategies of either party, and 4) The motivation of the seller for seller and the buyer for buying. As you can see, the laws are set up to encourage the disclosed dual agent to give each side an equal advantage throughout the transaction.
CON: The reality is that although an agent is legally bound to "play it fair," there is an opportunity for one side to be favored over the other.
PRO: You've got one person handling the transaction rather than two. This can speed things up significantly, OR slow things down, depending on the agent.
You should start by shopping for an agent, then worry about finding your home. Find someone who you can trust. Someone who will answer your questions on Trulia, for instance. :)
The problem as I see it, with an agent who works both sides of a transaction is who does the agent work for? Whose interests are they representing in the negotiation and throughout the transaction? Are both the buyer and sellers best interests served? Rarely. It can happen, but it takes a very unique situation, one in which the parties instantly agree on the terms and conditions of the sale. And even in these cases, a lot can go wrong. It's like going to court and having the same attorney as the opposing party.
I believe that 95% of the time, it is best for the buyer to be represented by their own agent- someone to be their advocate In fact, I think that early in the process of buying a home, a buyer should find a Realtor they like, trust and respect for their home buying experience.
This is just my opinion and you may be located in an attorney state where each party has their own representation (in CA we don't use attorneys on all transactions) so the circumstances may be completely different.
The Agency relationship does require the listing agent to represent the seller. Also, if you are a buyer going it on your own, it might be a good idea to have your attorney review your sales contract to be sure that there are no surprises. I would recommend that all first time buyers have their own agent to walk them through the process every step of the way.
Nelene Gibbs, Realtor, e-Pro
William E. Wood & Assoc
mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disadvantage Your Agent will not be able to disclose everything the seller tells them
Advantage Another Agent's personality does not get involved and only one ego to deal with
Advantage You can always ask for another Agent in the same office to represent you, while the original Agent represents the seller. It is still dual Agency but you have someone you can speak to confidentially with your fears
Advantage As a member of the NAR all REALTORS sign a code of ethics that gives you protection. We work for our clients and would lose our license if we did not treat you with fiduciary responsibility.