Home Buying in Decatur>Question Details

Margo Clark, Home Buyer in Decatur, GA

Who do we need to hire, a real estate attorney?

Asked by Margo Clark, Decatur, GA Wed May 13, 2009

We are first-time home buyers. Through chance, we have located the perfect house for us, after doing an independent search. We do not have a real estate agent representing us, only the agent representing the seller of the house. We have gotten through the pre-approval process for the mortgage and now we need help coming up with the written offer. Do we need to hire a real estate attorney for this purpose? How do we go about finding one? What are we looking at, cost-wise, for such a person?

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It is not a matter of ethics, and I would not imply that a listing agent would be unethical in this situation. It is rather a matter of the listing agent's legal responsibilities to her client, the seller. True, years ago this was a quite common practice. And there is a reason that it is no longer this way. And it is a good reason.
Since it appears that you will not be obtaining your own representation, I would offer a few words of advice to you. Make sure you receive AMPLE due diligence & financing contingency periods, and that your offer is contingent upon an appraisal. Hire your own home inspector and termite inspector. Get a Home Warranty. Do not communicate to the listing agent anything you would not want the seller to be aware of during negotiations: the highest amt you are willing to pay, etc., as the agent may be obligated to reveal such info to the seller to protect the seller's best interests.
Best of Luck to you and I wish you many good years of home ownership.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 15, 2009

I appreciate you and your husband wanting to go this alone. That doesn't mean that I agree but I do appreciate it. Many times buyers are lead to believe that they can save money this way and some times they can. I think the best thing that I or anyone else can do for you at this time is to provide you as much information as possible so that you may protect yourself. Please check out the web reference below for a wealth of information for first time buyers. Good Luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 15, 2009
There are too many possible answers to your question, especially without seeing the home or knowing your personal needs or desires. There is nothing wrong with having the listing agent write the offer, but they are legally representing the seller and not you. There many pitfalls with trying to do everything yourself. Earnest money for example is a possible pitfall - if you don't mind risking your earnest money ( which could be over $1,000) go ahead and do it yourself. A realtor can help protect your earnest money and many other possible pitfalls (too many to list). There are alway many risks involved with any investment, and having a trained professional assist you when it doesn't cost you anything doesn't make a lot of sense, but it is your option and your money. I don't work in your area and not losing anything by not having your business, I'm not saying this to get your business, I'm saying it because it's true. You might do everything yourself and not lose anything, you might have the listing agent write the offer and everything will be fine, or you can have your agent who can explain everything to you, list out all your options for you, and represent your interests above all others including their own. I've been in real estate for 4 years and I'm still learning new things about buying and selling homes everyday - it's not as simple as they make it look on tv. Good luck - it's your money - spend it wisely....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 14, 2009
You need your own agent to represent you with this transaction. The listing agent is working on behalf of the Seller, not you. Your own agent can then handle all the details of the offer, contract, attorney, etc for you. Since the Seller is paying real estate commissions, there would be no cost to you to have your own representation and more than likely, you will get a better deal on this property. Call a Realtor and get assistance with this purchase! Good Luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 14, 2009
Interview and get a buyer's agent, it typically costs you nothing and you'd be foolish not to be represented. You need an advocate to research, negotiate, write the contract and all the other things involved with the process. If you rely on the listing agent alone you'll wind up on the short end of this -

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 14, 2009

Why not have your own realtor to buy the house??? You do know the seller pays the commission for your realtor.

Think you are saving money by not using a realtor?? Not really. The listing agent just gets a bigger commission since they don't have to split it.

My wife is a real estate attorney and I'm an agent. Hire me to write your offer and maybe even get you a better deal!! You will be represented well.

James Dudley
ERA Sunrise Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009

You do not want the listing agent to write the offer!!! The listing agent represents the seller. A buyers agent is the correct way for you to proceed. Your agent will represent your wishes and desires and will help protect you through out the process. If you need assistance I will be happy to help. I'm just a phone call or an email away.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
It shouldn't cost you anything to have a realtor assist you. Usually the seller pays the realtors for their services.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
You have some different options.
1. You can use the listing agent to help you write the offer.
2. You can find a realtor to represent you in your purchase
3. I can submit a referral and an agent will contact you and assist you with your purchase.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 13, 2009
Hi Margo,
Firstly, why not hire a buyer's, real estate agent to look out for your best interests? There will be no out of pocket expenses for you, since the seller pays for the realtor fees. Secondly, congratulations on finding the perfect house, often, this is the most difficult part! As first time home buyers, the entire homebuying process can seem scarey and overwhelming! After all, this is a huge investment! Why not ask family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers to name a trusted realtor in the area that they would recommend. Ask them about their real estate experiences and why they would recommend their realtor. Then, call several of them and pick out the top three for a personal interview. Local realtors know the local, housing market and are usually members of a multiple listing service, so they can show you what other houses in the neighborhood are selling for. Also, HGTV hosts a show, called Property Virgins...It is all about 1st time homebuyers, you should watch an episode or two. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 26, 2011

You look like an idiot by the questions and comments you have made. Find a good buying agent. This is common sense, it costs you nothing. From your questions and comments you do not know enough about real estate transactions. You obviously have know idea what it would cost to get an attorney do anything. Let me know when you want to sell so I can come and take advantage of you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 26, 2011
Shout out to all home buyers.

The seller of the home you want to purchase has already agreed to apay a commssion to the :listing" broker.

When the listing broker agrees to post the property for sale on the multiple listing service, they agree to pay the "selling" broker, that is the Broker representing the buyer, a set percentage of the commission. This coop fee is typically 50% of the total commission but agreements vary.

If you as a buyer are not represented by a Buyers agent or "selling agent" in real estate terms, the listing broker is entitled to keep the whole real estate commission.

The Listing broker is legally obligated to represent the best interests of the seller. They can provide no advice to you which would conflict with the seller's best interests.

Why not go ahead and obtain the services of a buyers agent?

Special Note: It is usually too late to do so after you have already been shown a home. Even if you go to an open house you should specify you are represented by a buyers agent and provide the business card or a least verbally give the name and borkerage of your buyers agent to protect yourself.
Web Reference: http://englishteam.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 11, 2010
Wonder how this turned out? Margo...update? Was PT Barnum right?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
From experience I know you should have your own agent. I found the perfect house too, I thought and the seller's agent seemed like a very nice woman. She had even worked with a few of my acquaintances. But, she was working for the seller. The house was old and charming. The story was that the owner who had moved away was suffering the early stages of dementia. Therefore, she couldn't locate any previous survey or plat and the agent wasn't so anxious to get it either. I signed a contract and then things got funny. I went over to the property several times and spoke with neighbors. One neighbor told me there were several trees that needed to be taken down. When I told the agent, she brushed it off. When I had an arborist come to look at the situation, she got angry and told me I wasn't supposed to do that unless she was there. The handyman she hired to do things that needed to be done before the sale just happened to be the same handyman who had done repairs for the previous owner/seller. However, the repairs he did for me were not up to par. There were things that had to be redone because they weren't done right. There were things that never were done, like a connection to the upstairs from a basement AC. I was told noone would ever build on the empty lots next door. That just didn't sound right to me and I found out who owned the property. The owners told me they bought the property for investment and would sell it when the time was right. Then when the seller came to move her furniture, I felt the agent was trying to keep me from meeting her with the excuse that she got confused easily. I finally met her and she seemed perfectly normal. But this was the final straw: when I had a survey done (after the agent assured me it wasn't really necessary and the seller didn't have one done when she bought it) it turned out there was a sewer line running through the middle of the house! If I'd had my own agent working for me, I wouldn't have had to go thru all the headaches and losing money trying to buy this house. I still believe the agent is a nice person, but she was working for the seller. I got my earnest money back, but the money I paid for the inspection and all the time I spent getting information from others was a loss. It is not a good idea to use the seller's agent and if that agent is not open to you having your own agent, look out for trouble.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 7, 2010
"Why not have your own realtor to buy the house???"

Well, to me it seems unnecessary to involve another party in this process, especially since we found the house on our own. We feel perfectly capable of doing our own negotiating on price and so forth. The parts we can't do, we're happy to hire professsionals to do (i.e. the home inspection).

The listing agent has been in business for 20+ years, and she says that it used to be customary for the same agent to write up the offer and present it to the sellers. I don't feel its right to assume the listing agent would do anything unethical; so if my husband and I concentrate on negotiating the price, she can handle the formalities.

I know that I can go out and find a buyer's agent (or employ one of the many helpful agents that replied to my question, thanks!), but I suppose I'm asking, why would I need to?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 14, 2009
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