Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

Teresa Carde…, Home Buyer in San Diego, CA

What obligations, if any do I have to an agent who shows me a property they have listed. After the showing,

Asked by Teresa Cardenas, San Diego, CA Sat Jul 5, 2008

may I make an offer through a separate agent?

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Answers

11
You can. Ethically you should pick an agent you are comfortable with and have them work for you. Agents work on commission only and there is a fairness issue if you're working with one and write an offer with another. Keep in mind a good agent will work hard for you - if they don't you can find another. Signing a Buyer-Broker Agreement also makes it so you commit to using an agent that works hard for you and in return they work hard.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 7, 2008
HEY HEY HEY The listing agent represents the seller. What is really being argued here by the listing agent is HEY I want the whole commission. The buyer has every right (and probably should in almost every case) have someone who has THEIR (the buyers) interest first and foremost. We're not talking chump change here. A small detail easily and conveniently overlooked by the seller's agent and picked up by the buyer's representative (that's what a buyer's agent really does, represent the buyer) could save the buyer $1,000's of dollars. ALWAYS have someone, competent, represent your interests.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 6, 2008
You may make an offer through your own agent. Please, however, tell your agent about the conversation with the listing agent to make sure you did not inadvertently create a legal agency relationship. Most of the time agency relationships are created in writing, but agency can be created by actions, so let your own agent know what happened, and then good house hunting to you!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
All parties have an ethical obligation to deal fairly and honestly in the entire process of buying or selling a home. It simply is not honest to use someone to do a bunch of work for you and not tell them you don’t intend to use them to write an offer. If it is a case that you are not working with an agent and after meeting the listing agent don’t like them or whatever, sure work with someone you like and trust.

Yes, you can use whatever agent you want to represent you in the transaction. It is somewhat deceitful to not tell the person taking their time and using gas (at $4.50 /gal) showing them a home and often additional properties that you are working with another agent and have no intention of using them to write an offer. I always ask upfront before I start to show a property if they are working with someone. If they tell me yes, I ask if there is a buyer/broker agreement in place. I politely ask them why they are calling me to show the property if they have an agent they are working with.

Sometimes I get an answer that they are not happy with that agent and if there is no agreement in place I will discuss their situation with them. If at the end they decide that they would like to work with me I will meet with them and show them the property, otherwise they should ask the agent they are working with top show them properties.

There are a lot of great hard working agents and a smaller group of lazy order takers. Agents need to service their clients, not direct them to call the listing agent to show the property and then collect the commission.

Of course there are many buyers that have poor ethics and will just run everyone around in circles and then when they find the home they want either go to the listing agent (because they think they will get a better deal) or use their friend or relative who has a license to close the deal. It gets really messy to try after the deal is closed to prove procuring cause.

Buyers need to understand that as Real Estate Professionals, we are there to help and protect you in the deal. Our time is valuable and we don’t get paid unless it closes escrow. Are they willing to work for free? Would they be OK to give their commission to someone else who did not do the work?

If a buyer has an agent that is not willing to work for them, showing them homes, doing the legwork, researching prospective properties and being available to their client, THEY SHOULD GET ANOTHER AGENT!!!

I am licensed as a Broker and while it is legal in California to represent both parties in a transaction, I don’t think in most cases dual agency is in the best interest of the buyer. If I have a buyer that is not working with an agent interested in one of my listings. I always discuss with them dual agency and make sure they understand what it means. I will always give them the option of being represented by another agent and offer to recommend one to represent them if they want to buy my listing. I do ask for a commitment from them to work with me to locate and represent them for a different home if they are not interested in my listing.

I would never ask a client to call the listing agent to show them a home and if they like it call me and we will do the paperwork. I work hard for my clients and the reason I get paid the commission is because I EARN IT. If they are interested in a property, I get them information about it, and then show it to them if they are interested in viewing it.

I do have a buyers rebate program where I rebate back to them at closing part of the commission if they do some of the legwork like locating the property and doing a drive by to see if they are actually interested. It saves a lot of time for everyone and we only actually view the properties they are interested in. They are doing part of the work and therefore should get part of the pay. I also provide them a way to actually search the MLS to identify properties.
Web Reference: http://www.saveyoucash.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
This is one of those areas where the consumer gets what they want. If you want to make an offer, and opt to use a different agent to make that offer, you're allowed to do so.

Now, the fact that you've already seen the property with the listing agent "could" cause some interesting background difficulties (the listing agent could insist on a part of the commission, they might claim they're procuring cause).... but none of that should affect your decision to not be part of a dual-agency situation.

Make sure, as Don Reedy suggested, to tell your new agent the entire situation, and let them work out the backroom negotiations as far as who gets paid, and how much. That should not impact your decision, nor your right to have someone competent to represent you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 7, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
Contact
Teresa,

What is the reason why you didn't tell the listing agent that you have someone else representing you from the get go?

This is one of the most frustrating things about showing a listing when a buyers don't inform us up front, or don't answer a question about their having their own agents. As a listing agent, I do show my own listings to unrepresented buyers because it is my obligation to the sellers to maximize market exposure of the property and to sell it. But after showing the listing, and then prospects tell me after the fact that they are represented by another agent, it shows their lack of respect for me, the service I provide and my time.

I've heard all kinds of reasons --- tthey didn't want to bother their agent (but they will bother me?). Their agent is too busy, out of town, don't know they're looking, etc. If their agent is not available and not responsive enough to help them look for property, they probably should look for another agent, period.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
Why didn't your agent show you the home in the first place? What has your agent done to earn the coimmission on tis home? Why would you waste the listing agents time if you were not going to use them? When were you going to tell the agent you were working with another agent?
Web Reference: http://www.cindihagley.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
The Hagley G…, Real Estate Pro in Pleasanton, CA
MVP'08
Contact
One thing that surprises me is that buyers often leave showings without disclosures and answers. The listing agent, representing the seller, should have informed you of this at your meeting, letting you know the alternatives that are available to you. If they were going to be upset if you didn't use their service due to the cost of gas or the price of donuts, they should have qualified for you this issue over the phone (i.e., "As is required by law, you need to be aware that I, and our office, represent the seller", etc.). Because dual agency has to be disclosed, and operating with the buyer if the agent works for the listing company is a dual agency situation, I'm perplexed as to how this so often occurs. Buyers would most likely not engage with the listing agent (or Realtor, or a real estate agent in that company) if it were properly explained up front- not the fault of prospective buyers. It's not uncommon for Realtors and real estate agents to offer a less than stellar explanation, then complain that their time was 'wasted". Really, it's the buyer's time being wasted on two trips out. Teresa, if the agent complied and explained agency to you, which has compelled you to seek out your own representation, they did a good job. If not, an even more compelling reason to get your own real estate agent in there with you.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
All parties have an ethical obligation to deal fairly and honestly in the entire process of buying or selling a home. It simply is not honest to use someone to do a bunch of work for you and not tell them you don’t intend to use them to write an offer. If it is a case that you are not working with an agent and after meeting the listing agent don’t like them or whatever, sure work with someone you like and trust.

Yes, you can use whatever agent you want to represent you in the transaction. It is somewhat deceitful to not tell the person taking their time and using gas (at $4.50 /gal) showing them a home and often additional properties that you are working with another agent and have no intention of using them to write an offer. I always ask upfront before I start to show a property if they are working with someone. If they tell me yes, I ask if there is a buyer/broker agreement in place. I politely ask them why they are calling me to show the property if they have an agent they are working with.

Sometimes I get an answer that they are not happy with that agent and if there is no agreement in place I will discuss their situation with them. If at the end they decide that they would like to work with me I will meet with them and show them the property, otherwise they should ask the agent they are working with top show them properties.

There are a lot of great hard working agents and a smaller group of lazy order takers. Agents need to service their clients, not direct them to call the listing agent to show the property and then collect the commission.

Of course there are many buyers that have poor ethics and will just run everyone around in circles and then when they find the home they want either go to the listing agent (because they think they will get a better deal) or use their friend or relative who has a license to close the deal. It gets really messy to try after the deal is closed to prove procuring cause.

Buyers need to understand that as Real Estate Professionals, we are there to help and protect you in the deal. Our time is valuable and we don’t get paid unless it closes escrow. Are they willing to work for free? Would they be OK to give their commission to someone else who did not do the work?

If a buyer has an agent that is not willing to work for them, showing them homes, doing the legwork, researching prospective properties and being available to their client, THEY SHOULD GET ANOTHER AGENT!!!

I am licensed as a Broker and while it is legal in California to represent both parties in a transaction, I don’t think in most cases dual agency is in the best interest of the buyer. If I have a buyer that is not working with an agent interested in one of my listings. I always discuss with them dual agency and make sure they understand what it means. I will always give them the option of being represented by another agent and offer to recommend one to represent them if they want to buy my listing. I do ask for a commitment from them to work with me to locate and represent them for a different home if they are not interested in my listing.

I would never ask a client to call the listing agent to show them a home and if they like it call me and we will do the paperwork. I work hard for my clients and the reason I get paid the commission is because I EARN IT. If they are interested in a property, I get them information about it, and then show it to them if they are interested in viewing it.

I do have a buyers rebate program where I rebate back to them at closing part of the commission if they do some of the legwork like locating the property and doing a drive by to see if they are actually interested. It saves a lot of time for everyone and we only actually view the properties they are interested in. They are doing part of the work and therefore should get part of the pay. I also provide them a way to actually search the MLS to identify properties.
Web Reference: http://www.saveyoucash.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
You have absolutely no obligation to the listing agent if your preference is representation via a buyer's agent.
Web Reference: http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 6, 2008
Teresa,
Don is giving you good advice. When you go to an open house and don't let the listing agent or other agent holding the house open, know that you have your own agent, you might create and unintended relationship with the listing agent. In California, dual agency is allowed (not so in lots of other states), so the agent could represent you and the seller. A reasonable person might ask, how the same agent could get the best price for the buyer and the best price for the seller too. Another thing to think about with dual agency, is if it makes sense to let the same person know all of your buying thoughts, motivation, financing, difficulties etc. and also all of the sellers information and motivation. Many attorneys would not recommend dual agency. Get a good buyers agent and let them represent you. If you need some names of very professional buyer agents, let me know. You can find lots of useful information for consumers at...
http://www.chicagotitlesd.com/sbi.html
and at...
http://www.hud.gov/buying/index.cfm
Good luck.and I also have some buying video tips at...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1NlprOic0E and...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efTppCcW6ZA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 5, 2008
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