Home Buying in Phoenix>Question Details

paula, Home Buyer in Arizona

How do I best buy in Phoenix without using a buyer agent. I have access to the mls & am a veteran home buyer.

Asked by paula, Arizona Sun Jun 29, 2008

I have excellent credit & strong down payment and can take my time finding the right home for me. (In a m-t-m rental situation) recently re-re-located to the valley. Any flat-fee or pay-for-service professionals out there?

Help the community by answering this question:



I have a few questions:

Can you name the areas of the Arizona Residential Contract that have time line performance requirements?
What are considered warranted items?
What can happen to your earnest money if you fail to respond to a cure notice?
What is a good faith estimate?
How long do you have to perform your inspections?
Is taking a wrap a good idea?
What is E&O?
Does an As Is addendum take away all repair requirements?
What is a SPDS form?
How long are you protected if a land affidavit is not provided on a required property?
What parts of a real estate transaction can be binding verbal agreements?

These are but a few of the hundreds of questions a good agent has to be able to answer. Failure can cost money, court time, frustration and more.

I charge the broker representing the seller of the home 3%. I charge you, the buyer, nothing. What better deal could you want?
Web Reference: http://www.urbanteamaz.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Paula, in your case, I recommend getting your own real estate license in AZ. For under $1k, you'll be licensed and able to represent yourself. Reading all of your responses, along with those offered, I don't see any other way you'd be happy, and that's ok.

Either that, or you can accept that REALTORS are humans, and prone to the mistakes all humans make. Perhaps your previous agent made an aggregious mistake, or perhaps it was just an oversight, I don't know. Mistakes can and do happen. Mistakes in every business cost people money. But not every REALTOR is going to make mistakes and cost you money. In fact, I'm of the belief that a good REALTOR should save you money. But getting back to my initial advice, perhaps you'd be your own best REALTOR.

Good luck in your home search.
Web Reference: http://www.teambelt.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Hi Paula, Jay's response is a good one. There is much to gain by working with a good agent. I believe that you will do better in your negotiations with an agent than without one. With an agent you will have full access to inventory and the information needed to analyze and negotiate pricing. In my experience, unpresented sellers are generally trying to put more money in their pockets not the buyers. If you operate on your own, you will be operating in a vacuum that may very possibly cost you - rather than save you - money.

Good luck to you.

Jeannie Feenick
Weichert Realtors
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008

try foreclosures, but it is risky affair too. You need to do your DD and should be able to look for public records related to a property.

slightly dificult route but lot to be made even in this market.

Why are you interested Phoenix, Just curious.

You can also go after distressed homeowners ( pre - foreclosure) and get a good buy. Any of this will require lot of legwork.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Tempting...However Jay makes a very good point.

Google buy side realty, or 1percent rebate.
Seriously, let us know how it works out.
Good Luck
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
I am so sorry to hear about your troubles :(, this might be a long shot, but is there any chance your dream home is still on the market? If so maybe it's possible to try another offer on the property?
Web Reference: http://www.TeamKearney.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Hi Paula. It never ceases to amaze me that self-proclaimed do-it-yourselfers come to Trulia Voices to seek advice from real estate professionals about how they best can avoid using a real estate agent. The problem is, that's not our expertise. We know how to best represent clients and market properties and we spend lots of time honing those skills, but very little time researching flat-fee services. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with you wanting to buy without representation and I won't spend any time trying to convince you otherwise. If you are skilled, why even bother with a flat-fee service? Just write up an offer and submit it to the listing agent. The listing agent will most certainly have to tell the seller about your offer. Whether you'll get a better deal without an agent is really something that nobody can say with any degree of certainty as you will never know for sure what you would have been able to negotiate with representation. From a listing agent standpoint of view, I would scrutinize an offer that comes from an unrepresented buyer more than one that comes from a buyer who is represented by a licensed professional as there is not the same level of accountability with an unrepresented buyer. For instance, I can't go to the agent's broker when there's a problem. I can't do anything when the buyer does not return phone calls and does not sign required forms and so forth, which means that the contract has to contain more strict terms that apply in the event the buyer does not do certain things. Of course, you can also limit your search to FSBO listings. Then you get to deal with the seller directly and you don't have to deal with a real estate agent at all.
While you think you have access to the MLS, you only have limited access to the MLS data and you most likely don't have access to MLS sold listing data at all as most MLS rules prohibit dissemination of sold listing data through the IDX. Good luck to you and I hope you won't find out that you are really making the house hunting more difficult for yourself without getting a better deal.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in Newcastle, CA
I can think of only three reasons why you don't want to have representation... 1. You didn't get your money's worth in a previous transaction and felt cheated, or 2. You don't understand the process and who actually pays for your representation, or 3. You like to live life on the edge by going it alone. Unfortunately, there are tons of bad agents, not to be confused with realtors. They are not the same thing as many people think. A realtor has to abide by the ethics policies and standards of the National Association of Realtors. You obviously feel that the only benefit that an agent could give you is the MLS, and since you have access, you don't need an agent, right? Actually, if you have access to the MLS, let me know how because our fees are going up this year by 50% and I'd like to cut my costs. I'd be happy to give you full service, an MLS-like search engine, and you might even be eligible for a rebate under my rebate system. Best of all, you don't pay me a thing. Feel free to visit my website at http://www.TheMbaTeam.com. 2. You don't need to pay for anything in a buying situation, unless you want to pay for represenation. That's up to you, but most buyers opt for the seller to pay everyone's commission. 3. There are so many things that can go wrong in real estate and unless you are up-to-date on all the rules; you could get yourself into trouble. We live in a "sue everyone" society, so why take a chance. Why not let the realtor assume most of the responsibility to make sure the transaction is done perfectly. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide. Its a great time to be a buyer. Interest rates are on the rise so I wouldn't take too much time in looking. Buying the same house tomorrow vs. today can cost you thousands in interest alone. If you end up choosing someone to help you thru the buying process....make sure they are seasoned and are up-to-date with the latest in real estate. Just because someone has been in real estate for 30 years doesn't mean they know what they're talking about. Real estate changing so fast and in this market, you simply have to know the numbers and where the market is headed.
Web Reference: http://www.TheMBATeam.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Hi Paula,

All of the answers below are great. And it doesn't cost you a penny? So why wouldn't you use a Realtor? Never before, has representation been more important than now...with all of the short sales, REOs, foreclosures, etc. When the chips are down, sellers will try anything to sell their house...possibly even things that aren't exactly legal or traditionally fair to you. So why would you want to expose yourself?

How do you have access to the MLS system? Has anyone told you that the valley is about to convert the current ARMLS software system to the new FlexMLS. Will you be trained on this new system? It will be completely new. And the passwords for the current system will no longer be valid.
Web Reference: http://www.mlsdwellings.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Hi Paula, Jeannie Feenick back again - very good point of clarification from The Urban Team. The seller pays the commission, both to the listing agent and the buyer's agent and so for all of the benefit of your agent relationship, you pay nothing. And to those who say that this is not correct because the commission is built into the price you pay, I say "no way", the seller is due and will realize a market price and that is that. You as a buyer are far more likely to arrive at a fair market price with the assistance of a good agent.

And yes, the process is a complicated one - don't go it alone, no need, no benefit. You are much better off with an agent than without one.

Good luck and thanks for stimulating the discussion. I hope that we are collectively helping you with your thinking.

Jeannie Feenick
Weichert Realtors - New Jersey
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Paula, I feel for you and your situation. What you are referring to is what is known as material facts. You say the agent knew there was damage, but did not relay that to you. How do you know she knew? In any event, she may be liable for your losses. I'd suggest contacting the AZ Department of Real Estate and seeing if you have a legitimate complaint against your agent. There is a fund that all agents contribute to every year that is used to right wrongs. You need to be very factual with no emotion. If she did indeed know about damage to the property and did not relay it, she could be in trouble. I'd also ask why your professional property inspector did not find the damage. Hopefully, you didn't do the inspection yourself. I would never recommend you purchase a used car without a professional looking it over, much less a house that is 30 or 40 times more expensive. Anyway, good luck and I hope it all works out.
Web Reference: http://www.TheMbaTeam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
If you are a buyer, you do not pay a buyers agent anything for using their skill and time in finding you a home. Everything is paid for by the seller.
We do not use lawyers here in Phoenix and all contract negotiations are performed by the agents, buyer and seller.
Craig's List has a large list of homes. Also, if you call the seller's agent from the MLS, you can negotiate a contract with them. You will not be represented, the seller's agent will be representing the seller.

If you would like to look for homes in Phoenix, I would be happy to help you. I will not cost you a dime.
Kindest Regards,
Catherine Kolodin, GRI
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Bank owned. And no, banks don't have to and don't usually fix damage, but they were very willing to offer monetary compensation on this sale (we were very attractive buyers).

Unfortunately, she encouraged us to go in with a repair price and we went in with a much lower repair price than we would have knowing the damage she was aware of regarding the property. We already were losing money because of her poor bargaining (numerous unprofessional errors) and we absolutely couldn't make the numbers work. Again, despite being a well-known, "reputable" REALTOR in the community, she botched the entire transaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Thanks for your clarification. If there was a listing agent I'm afraid you probably still wouldn't have had a 10,000 buffer, you are assuming the seller wouldn't have wanted to net more in their pocket. It sounds as if she was ineffective. Rather than putting her interests above yours, I see it as laziness if it is as you say, which I have no reason to doubt. It's unfortunate you were so close, and there was damage, since the homeowner was going to have to fix it anyway, it's really unfortunate you were not able to negotiate a fix. Why wouldn't they just fix it for you?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Well, I will say it again there are good and bad agents just as there are good and bad insurance agents or even good and bad Doctors the list goes on, obviously the anonymous one in AZ had a bad experience it happens on occassion unfortunately, but overall you should still always use an agent and interviewing is a good idea to ensure you are comfortable with this agent.
Web Reference: http://www.torilawson.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Yes, I am referring to a buyer's agent. We had an agreeement for her to represent us on this property and she caused the transaction to completely fall apart. As I stated below, she knew of pertinent information from the seller regarding the property and did not relay it to her clients.

It is a fallacy to believe it does not cost the buyer anything to use a buyer's agent. We lost our deal over $5,000 dollars. The seller would have been required to pay over twice that amount to our realtor/brokerage. If we had dealt directly with the seller, we could have easily closed the deal. Clearly, they would have had a $10,000 plus buffer on their end.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Well, again Paula, you should ALWAYS use a REALTOR to buy a home, contracts, specila stips, timelines, etc need to be adhered to or risk way too much, find an experienced agent in your area and remember it costs you nothing! Best of luck
Web Reference: http://www.torilawson.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Actually, I can explain why not to use a buyer's agent.
Now when you say "buyer's agent" are you sure you're referring to an agent who was representing you, or an agent that showed you the house? Because many people talk about "our" agent, or "my buyer's agent", when they have no agreement. did you sign an agreement with this agent?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Hi Paula. It never ceases to amaze me that self-proclaimed do-it-yourselfers come to Trulia Voices to seek advice from real estate professionals about how they best can avoid using a real estate agent.
Ironic, isn't it? Hypocritcal too! Of course last time I mentioned the hypocrisy of it, I had the OP make some nasty posts to me. Do these non realtor users really think they will get a better deal if no agent is involved? That sellers are going to reduce their prices, or buyers are going to spend more, if there is no realtor involved? Boggles the mind doesn't ? even moreso, boggles my mind that we tell them how! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
FYI using a buyers agent is free, with his/her experience for sure you will get the best deal available.
The seller is the one that will pay the commission.
If you use the listing agent as your buyers agent will give him the opportunity to make the deal easier and faster for you and the seller.
If you have any questions don't hesitate in call me, I can else contact you with a lender for more information about VA loans without any commitment from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
FYI, An agent recieves their income from the sellers of a home! In some cases a buyer will pay a commission if their agent find a home from a for sale by owner. However this is agreed upon with both agent and buyer!

Most Real Estate agents work hard for their career, finding one that works with your personality may be some work, however worth it. Perhaps ask work associates for referrals and make your own educated choice.

You may want to ask for referrals from the agent!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

I also have a lender on my site that can set up a VA loan for you!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
As a buyer, you don't pay a commission or flat fee when you use a realtor. However if you prefer doing that and you don't want to work with a buyer or seller (listing) agents, drive around and look for sale by owner,
Try web site that advertise for sale by owner. However if you use the listing agent, you have two options. you sign a dual agency or not rep.
Best wishes
Web Reference: http://ownyourhomeaz.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Via public web sites, most people have access to the MLS if they have internet, and in some areas there aren't even MLS systems. MLS access does not an agent make. (On the flip side, I can't imagine having to do business without one, especially where I am, just outside Dulles - things move so quickly here.)

As someone else said - you can call all the individual listing agents, but you might find this would be a hassle. Try it for awhile and see. Some agents won't show their own listings, but that might vary market to market. Another option is to use one agent you enjoy who can just work as a sub agent to the seller - no buyers agent.

In any case, let me correct other agents here. If you're goal is to buy a home for less because the seller will be saving on commissions - that could be true. If your MLS system shows commission arrangements, look for those labeled "Variable Commission", that means that the seller pays less if there's only one agent. You commonly see that with builders. In the vast majority of cases, it will not affect the seller's net either way. Remember, the seller pays the listing agent from his proceeds. The LISTING AGENT SPLITS HIS COMMISSION WITH ANY SECOND AGENT, in accordance with the listing agreement. One agent=no split, but almost twice the work for that agent.

Don't believe that? Take another post I read recently - if the listing agent offers (by accident) to pay a higher amount to a buyers agent than the listing specified, what happens? Answer - the listing agent pays up. What if the amount is higher than the listing agent is getting paid? Answer - the listing agent pays up. It's the listing agent that pays the buyer commission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
I HIGHLY recommend you use a REALTOR to represent your best interest, selling agents represent the seller not you, there are contract issues that could come up and you could end up paying a whole lot more in the long run.
In reference to the anonymous home buyer in AZ, there have been and always will be agents that are not interested in their clients best interest, which makes the rest of us REALTORS placed in a category in which we do not belong. You need to find an agent that you are comfortable with that follows up on the entire process: timelines, and communicates regularly with you.
Web Reference: http://www.torilawson.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
A buyer's agent would likely cost you nothing! Agents earn a commission on the sale, which is paid from the seller's proceeds! Now, about this MLS access you have--did you hack into the system or are you a REALTOR? If not, you don't have access to the MLS, and you will not be able to do a good CMA without MLS access. You obviously lack the sophistication that you would like us to believe that you possess. Do yourself a favor, and use an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
Actually, I can explain why not to use a buyer's agent. We are in the process of losing an outstanding home because our realtor (experienced, referred to us, and supposedly a great reputation in the industry) caused the loss of bargaining power and ultimately the sale.

She failed to notify us of pertinent information regarding the property that she was made aware of by the Seller. We had an inspection period extension, but she did not tell us about the property damage and we filed our buyer's inspection report closing out the inspection period. As a result, we were unable to negotiate on the additional damage and unable to afford the expenses of repair. Throughout the process she was not our advocate, did not put our (buyer's) interests ahead of her own, did not relay offers timely, and made major blunders-filed incorrect bids at thousands less, typos in the thousands, etc. We lost our entire transaction over $5,000. We contacted the principal broker at her firm and they did not do anything either.

We used to believe that it would be crazy to not use a buyer's agent. Now, we realize that her incompetence cost us bargaining power. We would be closing on the transaction if it were not for the brokerage's commission. If you are concerned about liability over contract legalities-hire a lawyer. The lawyer's fee is probably much lower than the realtor's commission. That would be a bargaining tool when dealing with the seller.

This is soley from our experience in our transaction. But, good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
My advice to you is to pick one agent and work with them. Why would you call 12 agents from 12 signs to see a few of them? Save yourself time, money and hassles by choosing a solid agent to do the legwork for you. Many, many good reasons below, but your time is valuable. An agent will help you work smart. Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 29, 2008
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