Home Buying in Chicago>Question Details

Katie, Other/Just Looking in Chicago, IL

when using the services of a Realtor, whether for renting or buying, MUST you stay with only one Realtor?

Asked by Katie, Chicago, IL Sat Dec 4, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:


I like using this example: it is good to talk to many doctors to get your diagnosis right. However, once you know what's wrong, would you undergo multiple treatments at the same time by different doctors and take multiple doses of same medications? I don't think so. This is why you trust one doctor and should trust one Realtor at a time. Unless the "condition" gets worse instead of better.... Then you are free to choose another provider.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Ahhh, another do-it-yourselfer. To each his own as they say.

As with mostly anything in life, the great thing about America is you can do it yourself. If you have a rotten tooth you can go to a licenseed and experienced dentist or you can tie one end of a string to it and the other end to a doorknob and tell your brother to PULL!

Working with a professional Buyer's agent does not have to be for everyone. It is certainly true that with the advent of the internet and countless real estate sites, finding a home for sale is easier than ever. However, that has been an easy part for the last 20 years. The difficult parts are knowing what pitfalls to look out for (I have seen and discovered plenty), negotiating the best possible price, assuring loan terms are favorable, explaining the legalities of contracts and providing professional resources to name a few.

It seems as though Morrighu may have had some bad experiences with real estate agents or perhaps never a good one. That does not surprise me after reading Morrighu's reply. Some people are cut out to do things themselves and would not have it any other way. Working directly with a listing agent does not assure any reduction in price or credits. The listing broker simply usually earns a higher commission as the result of not having to split it with the Buyer's broker. Keep in mind, that such an agency arrangement is considered Dual Agency and is limited in scope in terms of representation for the Buyer. After all, the Listing agent's initial relationship is with the Seller so they have already had open discussions about price.

Unless you have vast experince in buying real estate, I strongly suggest utilizing the services of a professional, dedicated real estate agent to represent you best interestes.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 14, 2010
Kaite, it is not mandatory that you stay with one agent, but just as you want loyalty to you and help you the best way one can.. We expect the same. If my clients work with anohter agent, I fire them. I am not going to waste my time or gas with someone and then someone else gets the business.

You should find a Realtor you like and work with that person.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 15, 2010
No but if you want your agent to provide the best service and support to you then you owe it to them to be a loyal client.

If you signed a buyer-broker agreement then you may be under contract with your current agent and will need to talk to them about getting out of the contract so you can use another Realtor. Best advice -- interview a few agents, get referrals, do your research, and then commit to one through the entire transaction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
I agree that finding local clients can be a good option for real estate services. Also, I would recommend doing some research online to see which companies have good reviews. The best way to get an accurate review of a company would be to actually talk with someone that has done business with the company before.
Flag Mon Dec 15, 2014
No. Whenever you are unhappy with your Realtor, act like Donald Trump and Fire them! Find a Realtor you like, trust, respect, communicates with you regularly and has the necessary designations and experience you need. Avoiding Home Buyer Headaches When Moving Out
10 things to remove the trauma from homebuying
1. Find a REALTOR® who you can relate to. Homebuying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you chose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.
2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, any more than there is a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.
3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.
4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.
5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.
6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself—room size, kitchen—that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that have a big impact on what it’s like to live in your new home.
7. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.
10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.
Web Reference: http://www.RaulGuevara.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
quick response to Morrighu - how do you "demand" a discount on the listing agent commission that is set in a legal contract between the seller and listing agent? the buyer is not party to that contract.
regarding using more than one agent - you are asking every agent that doesn't end up in the final transaction to work for FREE (even worse - work for less than zero since they have to pay for their transportation, paperwork, etc). Would you like to go to work each day not knowing if you will actually be paid for your efforts?
If you want to contact each LISTING agent directly to see the house, fine, they get paid when the place sells. I ask that you please not call the listing office and have the agent on duty (or any other agent other than the listing agent) run out and show you the house in the hopes you are looking for a buyer's agent to represent your interests.
Finally I find it offensive that anyone suggests buyers agents routinely encourage their buyers to pay more for houses simply to get a few more bucks. I work hard to get the best deal for my buyers- this is probably the biggest investment of their lives, I want it to be the best one possible for them. This leads to happy clients and referals. Some agents may do that - that is why you want to interview agents and chose the best one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 15, 2010
You should probably stay with one realtor unless you feel that you need different realtors for different areas, because possibly each area is so large or so different that one realtor couldn't possibly service you properly by knowing the facts or the particulars of each area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 15, 2010
Very good question! There is no rule that says you must. However, it is my opinion that it would be
in your best interest to do so. That said you should not stay with one realtor if you do not fee that
they are providing good service. If you end up bouncing around realtor to realtor you will not
get the full service you deserve as there is no reason then for those realtors to provide you
with their full attention as this really is a two-way relationship.

Best of luck to you!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 15, 2010
As another consumer, I have a slightly different take on things. At least in Texas where I can download the NTREC forms myself, I don't really feel the need to even have a Realtor/agent. Buyer's agents don't do anything for me that I can't do for myself. Most of the ones I have encountered are, in the words of my father, useless as teats on a boar. I have run into a rare few who are very good at "filtering" - weeding out properties that they know I won't be interested in. However, they are extremely rare.

As nearly as I can tell, buyers agents arrange for me to get into see properties that I think I'm interested in. They get the code from the seller's agent, unlock the key box and show the property. Since most buyers, like me, get on the internet and isolate the properties we're interested in, I'm not sure what they're doing to earn that 3%. Before sites like Trulia, Zillow, Sawbuck, MoveTo, and a billion others existed, buyer's agents had value. They were the ones with knowledge and access to listings that the general public couldn't get. That's no longer the case. Worse yet, they're not familiar with the property and so they often have no idea how to show it or in a lot of cases even find it. And even though they're CALLED a buyers agent, the SELLER is paying them. And since they get paid on a percentage of the purchase price, it's definitely NOT in their interest to help you negotiate the best possible price. The more you pay for a house, the more "your" agent cashes in. Let's say there's a house for sale. "Your" agent gets 3% of the sale price for helping you find and buy the house. The asking price is $300,000. Your agent stands to make $9000. But if they were to negotiate aggressively, you might get the price down to $280,000 which means your agent's fee drops to $8400.

Further clouding the issue are any "give backs". Say that the sellers agree to give you $4000 for new carpet. Because the price of the house isn't reduced, you get a few things happening. Both the buyer's and seller's agents get paid based on the sales price which also includes your $4000 of carpet. That actually adds $240 to the cost for the seller. Worse yet, the tax value is usually set at the sales price which includes the $4000 of carpet. That has long term implications for you since taxes are usually raised by a percentage of the previous value (in the case, the sale price). Tax increase #1 has the tax value going up by $5920 without the carpet or $6000 with it. Tax increase #2 raises the value by $6038 without the carpet or $6120 with it. While these examples aren't very much, I'm making a 2% increase the tax value. Most places is more like 5% which would nearly triple the spread in the amounts. Rather than having "give backs", it's much better for both buyer and seller to lower the price. Who doesn't benefit? The agents..... Which is why you'll never hear either the seller's agent or the buyer's agent suggest it. It means money out of their pockets.

IMHO, and this will probably start a flame war, buyer's agents are like an appendix. As long as it's working ok, you don't need to remove it. But if it gives you any trouble, yank that sucker out.

I usually call the listing agent if there is a property I want to see. They usually know more about the property and having one less person involved in the negotiations is never a bad thing. It becomes less like playing "Telegraph" or passing notes in elementary school. It make communication a lot easier with messages having to be relayed one less time.

If I want to buy it, I have my attorney handle the offer, escrow, etc. and I usually demand a discount because there is no buyer's broker involved. That means they don't have to split the 6% commission. Since they're not splitting it because I've done all the work myself or paid my attorney to handle it, I should get 3% reduction in my expenses relating to the purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 14, 2010
The answer is YES, what is best for you. Trulia located in the wed page or another realtor in your area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 13, 2010
Select ONE, work with ONE at a time..... So that the one will work hard for you and in your very best interest....
More than one without going into all kinds of legal problems, is like "opening a can of worms"...... why are
you even thinking about it? I am just wondering!

You can work with one, if for any reason you are unhappy, you can cancel your relationship and written buyers agreement, if you signed one, and select another Realtor....

Good Luck to you Katie....
Edith YourRealtor4Life and Chicago and Northshore Expert
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 10, 2010

If you're talking about working with multiple REALTORS simultaneously, I think it's only fair that they know what is going on. You don't need them all. You should select one to work with and if you're "high maintenance," you may want to go with a REALTOR with a team concept where multiple people can help you answer questions or show homes to you. The easiest path is to interview a bunch - even go preview homes with different REALTORS, then select one to work with. They all have access to the same homes on the multiple listing system and they all can show you the same homes. As mentioned below, pick the REALTOR you think will do the best job for you. If you pick the wrong one, fire them and start over. Trulia is a great resource for homebuying and selling questions. If you're not sure how your agent is doing..do what a lot of savy buyers...post it on here and ask the community.
Web Reference: http://www.felixhung.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 10, 2010
If you're not satisfied with the service provided by an agent you may find another agent to work with provided you have not signed a buyer broker agreement. It is important to establish a relationship with one agent and show them you are serious buyer and will complete a transaction with them, this will give you the best result.

Robert Nowak
Broker Associate
773-699-5151 Direct
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 10, 2010
Hi Katie,
The short answer is "no" of course you don't have to stick with one realtor. However, to have the best home buying/renting experience I would suggest choosing one person. They will know what you do and don't like and can save you lots of time as they'll only show you properties that fit your needs.
It is worth meeting a number of people until you feel that the fit is right for you. This can be painlessly accomplished over the phone where you can learn a lot in a matter of minutes. You want a realtor who listens to your needs and doesn't have an agenda. They should be energetic, quick to respond, available, honest and have your best interests at heart. Plus, you should feel comfortable with them and like them as a person.
My clients become my friends and I hope you have this experience too. Best of luck in your search!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
when you are buying a home it is never a good idea to realtor hop. you will only get confused because everyone does things differently. Ask family and friends to refer you to someone they have dealt with in the past.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
Unless you have signed a Exclusive Buyers Agent agreement, you are not bound to stick with one agent. This is good because you may find you and the first agent you meet are not a good fit. Once you have found the agent that is right for you, do yourself a favor and stick with them. I find the more I understand my clients the better job I can do in meeting their needs. Be open and honest with the one helping you and both you and your REALTOR will be glad you did.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
If you have entered into a contract with a Realtor, then you would be bound to the terms of that contract. However if you have not entered into a contract with an agent, it would be advisable to affiliate with one agent that understands your needs and is committed to satisfy them. It would be in your best interest to work with one agent who understands your needs and would not be comprimised to sell you a particular home but one that would fit your needs. When you float around and deal with various agents, you run the risk of being sold a particular home that may not meet your needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
Whether renting or buying a home, you are entering into a business relationship where you will have to allow a certain amount of trust for your search to succeed. Because we work on a commission basis and take our work seriously (especially with sales) , it is always best to find the realtor that you feel most comfortable and confident with, allow both yourself and the associate to get to know each other and stick with that associate. The better the agent understands your wants and needs, the better your odds are for them to find you the home you are really looking for. Our ultimate goal is to help you to get the proper financing and then close on the home that suits you best in the most positive manner.
Property Management (rental homes) is often times quite different depending which state/city you are looking in. Some property managers make commissions where others are salaried and to make things a little more diluted yet, some cities have a central rental inventory system and others don't which means the rental company is proprietary over their own renta listings. Feel the area you are seeking out, ask questions. A good professional property manager (where ever you are looking) will have no problem explaining how it works and tell you if they work cooperatively with others or not and will be happy to provide a sample lease if you find a home you are interested in. In rentals - last but not least, make certain to ask if the home you are interested in is solvent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
Katie, I strongly recommand you to interview different agents and stick to the one you like. It save you time and trouble. You will sign a contract with the agent for certain period of time. In the contract, you will pick the agent to help you in certain towns. Not all the agents know all the towns you are looking for. I always recommand my buyers to pick local agents to help them to buy property. But you need to put the towns in the contract. Good luck
Web Reference: http://AndoverHousing.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
If you sign an exclusive agency contract you would have to stay with the agent. If you have not signed with an agent there still may be situations where two agents will make appointment to show the same listing and you may find out after you get there. It might cause problem with procuring cause if you decide to buy.

You might want to interview agents, ask your friends to refer you to an agent etc and work with one agent.You can sign a short term contract so you can then go with someone else if you are not satisfied.When you work with a good agent the agent gets to understand your needs and show you homes that meet your criteria.If agents feel that you are working with many agents they may not want to spend too much time with you.Agents get paid only when they sell and time is a very preccious commodity.
Web Reference: http://www.gitabantwal.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 9, 2010
I like Peter's answer the best. See the link below.

Too often, people think of Realtors differently than they do other professionals like doctors, lawyers, or accountants. Instead, we're often thought of like car sales people. So Peter's analogy is great! I think more people should think of Realtors as the professionals we are.

But, it probably bears mention that there's a good reason that many people do view Realtors like car sale people. There are a quite a few people in the profession that should rise to that level of professionalism or get out of the business altogether.

That in mind, it's good to interview Realtors the same way you would doctors if you were told you had a serious illness. Interview enough so that you feel comfortable choosing one. And do it face to face. You wouldn't buy a house just because you liked the MLS comments or the photos. You'd go see houses. So do the same with potential agents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010
Unless you sign an exclusivity agreement, you are not required by law to be loyal to your agent. That being said, real estate agents work on commission. It is a relationship business and choosing one agent who you trust - and who trusts you - is your best bet. It's not required - but it's the right thing to do and will work out best for you in the end.

Good luck to you!
Web Reference: http://www.dreamtown.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
If you signed an exclusive agreement, then yes, until it expires. Most agents would prefer you stay with them. If you don't think you can decide from an initial interview, ask for a short, say - 2 week - trial agreement term. That way, you can easily cut your ties.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 6, 2010
Katie: Interview several and find one that you feel very comfortable with. When you have trust in your agent's qualifications and you feel like that agent has your best interests in mind then you won't want to work with anyone else. It may take speaking to a few before you get that warm fuzzy feeling but you will know when you find the correct one. It's like finding a professional to work with in any other area where you are hiring someone to do a service for you.

By the tone of your question I am thinking you are not happy with your current agent! Interview some others as long as you haven't signed a buyer broker agreement, you are free to hire any one you wish.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
You dont HAVE to stay with one. I think its in your best interest though. It sounds like you are having a bad experience with one, or just havent found an agent that fits your needs. What you should do is find one that does. This way you have a good relationship with someone who can help you with your real estate needs. Go out and interview as many agents as you can until you find the one you "click" with.

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate. e-PRO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
I think it is in the best interest of the buyer/renter to work with one Realtor. It is important to establish rapport, a relationship and it takes time even if just a couple of hours to develop communication. Then you'll want a search set up in the MLS for you to review and then go see them.
If you work with multiple agents I would think it would be overwhelming. Scheduling would be difficult.
Let me know if you would like to talk.
My office line is 312-268-2778. Barbara Griffin-Silz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
If you have signed a buyer's agreement, then you are obligated to stay with that one realtor. If you have not signed a buyer's agreement, then you are not obligated to stay with that one realtor. However, since all realtors pull from the same system and the same information is available to each of them, it is advisable to stay with one realtor. Generally that realtor has put a lot of time into helping you. He or she has spent hours on the computer trying to get you the properties that meet your criteria. All of us try to work as diligently as we can to get someone a property. It isn't fair to any of them to work with 3-4 realtors at one time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
I like Peter's response - initially your shopping may include properties - and agents. But when you find the agent that best serves you, I think you will be best served by working exclusively with that agent. A search, like a "treatment" often comes into focus over time and by moving through the process together and a good agent can help guide you through this. I think you lose this advantage when the process is disjointed and rather than a search it becomes a one off evaluation of individual properties. I also think you, the buyer, work too hard when you engage with multiple agents. I find that sometimes buyers will go this route thinking there is an advantage to working with the listing agent for each property. Not so.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
My clients use me because I work the entire state. A blessing for them because they can then compare "apples with apples" They rely on my background and expertise. What we don't know about an area, we find on the internet. After 20 years, I find many agents don't like traveling outside their geographic area. Presents quite a problem when you want to look in other places and get accurate information. Use a full time Realtor, who does this for a career. One who gets to know what you are looking for.... and then may be willing to make suggestions. A good agent will save you money and make your buying experience, a pleasureable one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
Hi Katie,

Everything has pretty much been covered here. The short answer is no, unless you have an exclusive buyer agreement. The fact is that you can be held liable for breach of contract if you did sign an exclusivity agreement.

Other than that, let me ask you a question....How would you feel is someone took up "countless" hours of your time, for which you were expecting to get paid for, then you get the pink slip or nothing, not even a thanks but no thanks?

You thought you had a good relationship, you went about your business with this person then out of the clear blue you're dumped. I'm sure you'll agree it's not a good outcome.

My point is loyalty begets loyalty and most importantly don't do unto others what you don't want done to you.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
When it is the RIGHT realtor.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
No you do not need to stay with one agent and you should never sign any 'agreement' with any agent that requires you to be kocked in with that agent!! If you do not know any agents you can speak with a few of them and let them start working with you. In time you will get a 'feel' for them as to whether you think they know what they are doing or if you feel comfotable with their level of kknowledge and/or whatever else it is that you are looking for. Eventually you will gravitate to one of them and at that point you should cancel the others.
Broadly speaking and to be a bit 'technical', the agent that shows you the property is usually the agent who gets paid so you do not want to have more than one agent show you the same property as it will create more than an 'awkward' situation.
My web site might have some useful information if you are just starting out and you can search the MSL from it to get sarted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Consider working with the agent you like best--keep in mind that in the end only one agent will receive commission--no one likes to waste his/her time, nor take time away from other clients.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
If you have not signed an "Exclusive Buyer's Agreement", then the short answer is "No". However, as a few of the agents on this forum have already recognized, Realtors typically do not earn a commission until a transaction is complete assuming they represented their client and worked in their client's best interest.

As you will often find, most successful Realtors suggest working on an exclusive basis with their clients. From personal experience, I devote hours on end to the clients I represent and I convey that message of exclusivity on our initial meeting...me as their devoted, experienced full-time Realtor and the clients working exclusively with me to the exclusion of any other real estate brokers.

I have made exceptions in the rare case where a client of mine is utilizing my services in my areas of expertise and working with another broker in an area I most likely am not familiar with.

My advice to you is that you are not satisfied with the job a Realtor is doing for you, fire them and work with someone you are comfortable with and is doing the best possible job for you. Many folks do not realize how important having an experienced and capable Realtor is in representing you. Finding a home is much easier than finding a great Realtor. If you do fire anybody, be sure to express your displeasure and be upfront. Not that this has ever happened to me, but I am sure that other Realtors would appreciate the honesty.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
No, Katie.

The problem is that you can get yourself into a situation where more than one Realtor(r) - or real estate agent - is entitled to a commission. For example, if Terry were to write up your offer but you decided you wanted Bill to do the actual negotiating. In that case, the listing broker would probably cover Terry's commission, but you would then be on the hook to pay Bill out of your own pocket, above and beyond the purchase or rental price.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Ask yourself: Are you getting good service from your realtor? Is the realtor able to accommodate you for rental and sales? Is there a reason why you would want to switch to another realtor?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010

If using multiple real estate professionals to cover the same location plan on receiving duplicate properties and repeat information. It may also be counter productive when the agents find out that you are working with another agent because it's very likely they will not put as much effort into your search.

On the other hand, if you are up front and make the agents aware of what your are doing and why you are doing it, is logical that you would want to work with different agents from different locations that may specialize in that area.

But to play agents within the same area to provide you with their highest level of service, would not be appreciated.

Good luck with your search,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
No there's no MUST to this answer, but the fact is that Realtors work solely off of commision. So any work and time they do for you they don't get paid for until a deal closes. If they have you sign an exclusive agent agreement then yes you are bound to work only with them and if you don't they have a right to get paid commision by YOU on anything they close on. So it's in your best interest to find an agent you trust and can work with and use them exclusively. Plus it's really only fair to them to pick one and stick with them because no one likes to work to free..which I'm sure you would agree.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Hi Katie,

Loyalty is very important in the real estate industry. The only real way to say "yes" to your question is if you signed a buyer broker agreement. This would commit you to that Realtor and as long as they're doing their job then it's a legal agreement. Now if you don't have a buyer broker agreement then in you're not legally committed. If that Realtor has spent time with you, did their job by providing you with what you need and always being available to you, then you have to look at the lost time to that Realtor if you switch. If you're not committed legally and the Realtor isn't providing you with the service you require then "yes" you have the ability to seek out the services of another Realtor.

I hope that helped.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
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