Home Buying in Layton>Question Details

Dan, Home Buyer in Layton, UT

Is it ok for a buyer's agent to limit the number of homes he's willing to show you?

Asked by Dan, Layton, UT Sat May 24, 2008

My current agent today told me and my wife that the cost of gas is such that he will NOT show us more than 24 houses and that we would have to limit our selection to just 24 homes. I am looking in the Layton UT area and have been pre-qualified for 240K. He said we would have to "limit" our total choices and that he was only willing to show us 10 more homes from the 547 currently on the market that we qualify for. As a buyer I thought my chances to find my family's perfect home at the best price was to INCREASE my options. I already have SERIOUS reservations as to the "conflict of interest" buyers have in the real estate market. Seeing that their so-called agent's compensation is based off how much they can get their client to pay. How can I feel comfortable about ensuring that I have made the best decision possible for my family with the most important decision (our home), in such an unsettling market when our representative insists we must factor in HIS gas money when we make it?

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55
I'm actually responding to Sam in Utah regarding her unwillingness to sign a buyer agency agreement.

I do understand your position as I wouldn't want to be bound to an agent either--Initially. However, as an agent who has spent years doing research for people, driving them around for hours, days and weeks, (at what is now $100 per tank of gas) and even buying them lunch only to have them use their "other" agent or buy directly from the listing agent. It shows a complete lack of respect for me and for my time and resources to use me to find you houses and then not have me complete the transaction. The last time this happened, the buyer called me after he signed a purchase and sale agreement with the listing agent to apologize. He paid MORE than he would have--He got exactly 3% off the list price lol.

So now, I give people one freebie. They get to meet with me once and I'll show them a few homes. If they're not ready to buy then I'll ask for a buyer agency agreement. At this point they should be able to ascertain if they like me and want to continue working with me. If not, their loss.

I've had too many "well intentioned" buyers leave me holding the bag and my time is just to valuable to go chasing after buyers in desperation.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
If everything you related is factual and you have a buyer agency agreement, you may need legal advice from an attorney. If you have a buyer agency agreement, you should first talk to your agent's broker though, and ask for a release from the contract. If that does not work, talk to an attorney, and have your attorney talk to the broker.

If you do not have a buyer agency agreement with the agent, you should make that commitment to the agent before you start expecting the agent to make a total commitment to you.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
I suppose it is okay for the buyer's agent to limit the number of homes... that's certainly his prerogative, but it's a penny-wise, pound foolish philosophy.

It sounds as though he's already costing himself a potential client. Buyers need to see as many homes as it takes them to "find the right one". That may mean 2 houses, and it may mean 100 houses.

I'd suggest finding an agent who's more interested in assisting you, rather than who much money it's costing him to "assist" you.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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I just did another check of Layton for home in the 240K price range. There are only 18. Sometime buyers get confused and want to see home 15 miles north of Layton, and then 10 miles south of Layton. When you try to get them to narrow their search down to where they really want to live they just say the right home will tell them where to live.

Wheels, It sounds like your doing a great job, why not put your name on your posts and maybe some contact information, you might get more business.

Gleen, It sounds like you've had a bad experience. Did you talk to the agent about it or just get on this national web site to vent?

Dan's original question was - Is it ok for a buyer's agent to limit the number of homes he's willing to show you? ANSWER: It's up to each individual agent. If you look at over 40 homes and still want to look more, then the agent has to say what he is willing to do. Lookie Lous come out of the woodwork every summer and just want guided tours of homes to get ideas on how to decorate. The full answer to Dan's question can be found by talking to his agent, not coming to the Internet and not telling the whole story.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 2, 2008
"Make them earn their money if that's what it takes..." was the advice you got from someone? Wow! That someone needs a reality check. I'd have to say the more common experience on the realtors side is that we serve more than one purpose in a transaction - and often without proper compensation. We provide counsel and guidance, not just on property and money issues, but on real-life things like, will a baby's crib fit there? or if my mom ends up moving in, can I convert this to a full-bath? or do you think its o.k. to bring the kids with us to see 10 houses? My car takes a real beating and I can't deduct all that. I'm leaving my children behind to take them on showings. I'm missing my own family's backyard barbecue. I'm eating my meals in the car and taking cell calls at 9 o'clock at night and giving up weekends and breaking heels and shoveling snow. Earn my money? Are you joking? I work harder than you can imagine and I don't even get healthcare coverage. If I have a car accident taking you on your 50th showing, I have to eat that expense - and whatever injury comes with it. Have a candid talk with your agent. Tell him/her that you're uncomfortable with how this was presented to you and explain that you don't have any intention of running him/her all over town, but you want to make sure he/she can show you everything you're interested in seeing. Offer to use your own car for some of the trips so he/she doesn't have to worry about as much of the expense. The truth is, nobody pays that realtor if you don't end up buying. He/she is working for free on all those evenings and weekends out with you. You really don't need much more good faith than that, do you?
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Interesting responses! I think that when you NEED the business you are more likely to bend over backwards, and more likely to get burned. I've been down that road--And the people that "burned" me weren't doing it out of malice, I think they just didn't "get" how this works. The buyer expects me to be loyal to them--The buyer expects me to show them whatever they want to see on THEIR schedule. The buyer expects me to save them thousands, or tens of thousands or even 100's of thousands of dollars (depending on the transaction). I'm not just a paper-pusher--I actually work HARD to save them money or get them better terms (or appliances or furniture or...). When I'm working with a buyer I eat drink and breathe that job--I am constantly working for them and available to them. IN EXCHANGE for that I expect a little loyalty. I'm worth that, and I'm not interested in investing in a client who refuses to show me the respect and loyalty that I'm showing them.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Dan; Your agent has indicated to you what he is willing to do for you as an agent. You need to decide if that is acceptable and if you want to hire him on those terms. If you don't, I think you should seek an agent who can provide you with an acceptable comfort level.
I wouldn;t worry about seeing every house on the market, but you are entitled to go through enough of the search process to feel comfortable with making a choice. For some people that would be 2 homes, for some 10 , for others 15. Only you know what works for you. I would caution you about chasing "that next best thing". There is always another house over the horizon, and you could spend the rest of your life searching and never buying if you aren't ready to make a decision.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
The only way I can imagine saying anything like this to a prospective Buyer...is if there is something more to this scenario. There is no need for you to physically see the 547 you qualify to buy since I am sure many of those would not meet your needs, but you do need to see as many as it takes to find the one that you want to buy.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
WOW! That's a gutsy agent! Buyers agents are to promote your best interest at all times. I once showed a client 72 homes over several months and sure I became frustrated but I did not want my buyer to settle. You are spending a lot of money and should not settle. It's time to have a heart to heart talk with your agent, remember you have hired that agent so they work for you.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Yoou know, I can't speak for "Dan" or his agent, but in thinking about why an agent would say this, I came up with this: The only time I would ever say such a thing to a client is if I had a feeling that they were not serious buyers and were just wasting my time. So if that's the case here, then I agree with the agent. If that's not the case, then I don't.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 3, 2008
Good post Gerald. Preparation is definately important. If Dan, the buyer, has done his homework, he won't need to see more than half a dozen houses anyway. If a buyer needs to see more than 5 or 6 houses, he or she either isn't a serious buyer (and has found a new hobby) or simply hasn't properly narrowed down the choices by using tools such as the internet. There are exceptions to this of course, but if a buyer thinks he needs to see 547 homes, then he needs to drive by them on his own time.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
Dan,

I read your answer and two factors come into play here. #1 with today’s technology buyers can find homes on the internet and get all the info about the home. They can look at virtual tours, photo layouts, etc. You can drive areas and decide where you want to live. All that being said you should be able to narrow you home showings to a reasonable amount of homes. #2 you said you are looking for the perfect home. Well, good luck with that, because the chances of finding the perfect home are so high that I don't think you will find it. As far as finding the home that has all the things you want in a home, i.e. big kitchen, 3-car garage, 6 bedrooms, etc, that is more reasonable.

If you were realy looking for homes in just one area that you want to live in, i.e. shadow valley, Indian Hills, etc, there wouldn’t be 547 homes to look at in the first place, so it would appear that you need to narrow your home search to where you want to live and what do you want in a home as mentioned earlier. Then the number that comes up would be more realistic and your agent wouldn't have any problems at all I would think.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 28, 2008
As an agent that works with a lot of buyers I'd like to give a few ideas to you as a buyer and to any other agents reading this. When I first pick up a buyer we discuss what they want and what they need in a house. Beds, baths and all that. From there I will look up all the available houses and send them in an email so that they can sit down at home and take some time to go through each house. From there they send me an email with any number of houses to go see and we set a date and time to go see them. At this point I take over and look at the houses and when we will go see them. If its on a Saturday we will usually go see no more than 8 homes, and thats pushing it. If we go on a weekday in the evening I try not to do more than 5, unless there are some that are really close to each other. During our first outing I like to discuss their wants and needs. Most of the time they don't like to bring it up, so I do. I mention things such as, Is there space in the kitchen for a dishwasher? Or, Will the low ceilings be okay, or is that something you don't want to deal with? I'll ask any number of questions about each house so that the buyer can either keep that house as an option or to cross it off the list. That way I'm not eliminating houses for them. I just try to help them to go one way or the other. This may sound a little harsh but, I'm not going to get emotionally attached to a house the way a buyer does. As long as my buyers are happy with the house that they choose then I am happy. So, after our first trip out I have a pretty good idea of what they are really looking for in a home. Usually their wants and needs have changed, even after the first day. This is especially true when it comes to first time home buyers. Also, while we are at each house I will take notes about what they do and don't like. Once again I don't get attached to any home so they start to run together. Taking notes isn't a bad idea for the agent or the buyer.
Once I'm back in my office I'll look through the list the gave me and check out each house that we didn't visit. I can start eliminating homes that, at first, they thought they wanted to see, but after walking through a few, I will be able to cross some houses off the list for them. Always keeping either mental or written notes as to why we aren't seeing a house they liked. Typically they will agree and be thankful that I'm doing my job and saving them time.
So to go back to the question of can the buyers agent limit the number of houses they show you? On one side, you should hope that they are limiting the houses down to the ones that you will like. It will save your agent time and money as well as your time and money. The other way to look at it seems sketchy to me. If I were a buyer and an agent told me to pick any number of homes and that all I could see, I'd be pretty upset. I think that if an agent says you can only see this many homes cause they can't afford to show you more, then they need to find a part time job to pay for ga and you should probably look for a new agent. If the agent is doing their job and eliminating houses that you won't be interested, then you've found a good agent who is willing to do their job and do it right. So, if its just to save money and gas then its no good. But if they are just trying to find house they you can call home. Then I'd say trust them and let them do their job.... Hope that you can find a house soon and that everything goes well with your transaction.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 31, 2008
Do you have a buyers agency agreement? If so, what does it say? The buyers agreement is similar to a listing agreement in that it says what an agent will do for you and in turn that he is paid a commission if you buy a property.

As a real estate agent, he is an independent contractor and can deduct his gas off his taxes. It is a cost of doing business.
Don't let the actions of this agent discourage you. Real Estate agents are a very valuable asset to the community. This is most likely the biggest investment you have made in your life and a good agent will save you time and money through their knowledge.

To put things into perspective, most people pay a professional to cut their hair. It is relatively inexpensive and will grow back in a month. Buying a home is a big investment and it is something that will be with you for years to come. It makes sense to trust a professional.
Hope this helps
:)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Sounds like your agent is just lazy. If you paid me $7200 (i.e. 3% commission on 240k) I would definitely be willing to show you only 10 houses. That's about $720/house. A little less if you take out my money for the time spent writing up docs for you.

We are working with an agent that is getting upset at us because we refuse to sign a buyers agreement. I don't intend to take advantage of anyone but I'm definitely not going to bind myself to a lazy agent. I think in this depleted market you should easily be able to find an agent willing to show you exactly what you want, when you want and how many you want. Make them earn their money if that's what it takes.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
I think that all buyers mesh differently with thier agents personality, this is what I think is the most frustrating thing when buyers are looking at homes. We all get clients that want to see 100's of homes, which I think is pretty normal. While our job may seem to be to find you that perfect home on the first outing, it usually is not the case. I have clients that work exactly the way you are talking, I also find in every case once you have seen about 30-45 homes you will know exzactly which home is the perfect home for you. You can't set a magical number of homes to look at. My goal as an agent is to get you in as many homes as possible in the shortest time. This is how you as a buyer gets educated on what value is in a home. This is usually the number one reason people pull the trigger on a home (in this market). Real estate is a numbers game if im working for 3-5 buyers at a time I will close 2 to 3 of those buyers every month. Why should we as agents be worried about gas money? Are you closing any deals? Do you have another job like most agents seem to have now days? Are you on the brink of getting out of the business? These are all questions I have with agents in this local market! If you are frustrated with your agent than why work together.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 26, 2008
I do appreciate all of your answers, most have been very helpful, some are borderline patronizing. I'm not an idiot. I never "expected to see 547 houses"!!!! Nor do I believe that "if you don't find your house in the first 5 you never will". I guess comments like this from so-called professionals will explain the reservations most people have of realtors. You guys represent the biggest purchase of a young family's life. Some seem to think you're selling hotdogs on a street corner!!!!
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Dan, I would hope you aren't going to base every single agent on one answer. I have in my life come across agents who think if you take someone out 3 times and they don't buy, that's it. Usually they work in areas that do not resemble the area I work in. But that's beside the point. You should interview an agent the same way you would interview anyone else you are hiring. If during your interview they tell you they are only going to show you x amount of houses, you say "NEXT!" .That's what WE do when we don't believe we are a good fit with a customer or client. There is always another agent to interview. Now get out and find yourself and agent who suits you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
I wanted to respond to Meg, who said:

"Call the agent of the home you may want to see and schedule an appointment. This will give you more barganing power when writing an offer because the seller will not have to pay a fee to your agent."

On the surface this seems like a great idea, but may not be so great after all. When I take a listing, the seller agrees to pay me a certain percentage, say 6%. When I sell the house, they pay that to me whether there's a buyer's agent or not. Now when a buyer comes to me and says "I don't have an agent, I want to be credited that 3%," I say "OF COURSE!!!" What I don't say is that I may not be getting them the best price for the home or the best terms or the best inspection response. They're so fixated on commission that I can get my client (the seller) thousands of dollars more out of these buyers. Remember--The listing agent works for the SELLER--And will never have the buyer's best interests at heart. It's not their job as a listing agent to get you a better deal than the seller is getting.

Unless you're 100% confident of your numbers, I always recommend using an experienced buyer's agent. You'll probably save more than he/she is making.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
either move to another agent or just start looking at homes yourself. Call the agent of the home you may want to see and schedule an appointment. This will give you more barganing power when writing an offer because the seller will not have to pay a fee to your agent. You can always have a real estate lawyer look over the paper work for a fraction of what a real estate commission would be. In this day and age with all the listing posted on the web you certainly can have access to any of the houses your agent would have showed you anyway plus ones that are for sale by owner.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
I do appreciate all of your answers, most have been very helpful, some are borderline patronizing. I'm not an idiot. I never "expected to see 547 houses"!!!! Nor do I believe that "if you don't find your house in the first 5 you never will". I guess comments like this from so-called professionals will explain the reservations most people have of realtors. You guys represent the biggest purchase of a young family's life. Some seem to think you're selling hotdogs on a street corner!!!!
My wife and I have sent our agent several homes we would like to see, (all ALWAYS in our price range, remember I have a PRE-APPROVAL letter from a very respected credit union) when we show up to see them, none are ever on the list for the day. He always has a "better choice" HE likes. We also expressed interest in short sales and foreclosures and were told that they were a waste of time and that banks just use the price they list as a way to "run up" the price and to forget about them. We sent him one the other day we were interested in and were told "oh that's a short sale and the bank is no longer accepting offers on it." Now why weren't we given the opportunity to view the home and consider it? Because our realtor doesn't like short sales? For the record, I have bought and sold two other homes on the east coast using realtors in both the buying and selling process and never had an issue before. I have always worked with professionals that were always willing to bend over backwards to see to it I have had a positive experience. I will be looking for another realtor. This time I will do EVEN more homework before I select an agent.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
BEST ANSWER
Dan

Generally, your agent can give you enough MLS data on homes that would allow you to narrow down homes that are real possibilities for you and your family. I will show as many homes as it takes for a client to find the right fit for their family However, before we ever get in the car my client and I discuss how we can make the most of our search

I spend a great deal of time with my clients determining what their ideal home is like. Then I send them all the MLS data on homes that meet their criteria. I request that they try to narrow down their choices to 25 or less. I also explain why. If we do not find 3 homes they really like in the first group or 25, we go over the homes that were eliminated and look for 10 more choices.

My clients always find 3 homes in the first group. Occasionally a client will look at another 5 or so homes but that will be because they liked a specific neighborhood and we added all the homes in their price range in the neighborhood.

There may be 547 homes in your price range but I can assure you if you spent a little time reviewing the MLS data on your computer you will find that those 547 homes will dwindle down quickly.. Many will be wrong side of town, wrong schools, unkept neighborhood, too close to something, not close enough to work. etc.

By day 2 the homes begin to blend together and you will not remember what you liked and did not like. It is unfortuante that your agent did not tell you his 24 rule before beginning your home tours. You may not have done enough homework on your first choices, if you did not find anything that you liked.

As far as compensation, most agents receive 1.5% of the selling price. That equates to $300 for every $20,000 in sales price. Hardly enough to make anyone compromise their integrity and risk getting a bad reputation. The bulk of our income is generated from our "happy" past clients.

Clients who try to look at everything on the market become very confused, get overwhelmed and frustrated. All the fun and excitement fo the "new home" is lost.

If you have truly lost your confidence in your agent, it is best to find somenone new that you feel you can trust and make the change now.

Best of luck to you and your family.
Web Reference: http://cathysloan.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Dan,
I would probably tell the agent that you are not going to stop looking at 24 homes, but you are going to stop letting him show them to you. If you have signed a buyer-broker agreement or an agency agreement just ask the agent to release you from it. If the agent will not, then contact his broker or the realtor board and file a complaint. I truly hope that the agent was just trying to say that you will find the home of your dreams within the first couple of dozen homes.
Realistically you wll not need to see more than about 20 homes, if you your agent sat down with you and figured out your wants and needs. The neighborhood, size of home, single family home, condominium or townhome, style of home, single story, number of bedrooms, number of baths, schools, what rooms do you spend the most time in, is the size of the kitchen important, do you need a formal dining room, fixer upper or does it need to be move in ready? This is just a sample of the questions that a Realtor will ask to help you find the right home. The more time that you spend up front defining your wants and needs will help you to eliminate 90-95% of the homes on the market.
As Realtors our main concern is (or should be) that you find the right home for the best price and that you are happy with the service that we provide you.
I wish you the best in finding your home!

Charles
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
I honestly cannot believe what I am hearing! As a buyers agent, our duty is to look out for your BEST INTERESTS as we have a fiduciary duty to do this according to our Code of Ethics as Realtors. I am not sure if your agent is a Realtor or not, but if s/he is, I think it is horrible what they have told you about limiting your home search. If you have not signed an exclusive right agreement with them and they continue to refuse to show you more homes, I think it is time for you to find a new agent (and I am NOT soliciting your business as I am not licensed in your state - just for the record)!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Basically he is setting the ground rules -- that's business, and it's fair. He's a business person -- not a martyr. If you are looking at 24 houses in the first place, it's not a very selective search. It's highly unlikely that you have that many worth looking at that suit your criteria. If gas is an issue, a better idea is that YOU drive the agent around. This way the agent can do his/her job without the same out of pocket expense. Bottom line is it's the agent's TIME that is most valuable -- and YOUR time as well. So don't worry about a limit of 24 houses. Sweat the efficiency of the process and you'll be way ahead.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
I agree with Elvis. When we signed up to be Realtors, we made a committment to help our clients to find the best house to meet their needs, whether it is looking at one home or hundredes of homes before they decide (o.k. I have to be honest, hopefully not hundreds of homes) and it can take as long as our clients are comfortable in making decisios. As we are independent contractors, the transportation cost is part of our business expense which should have been figured in.

One of our jobs is to listen and udnerstand what our clients' needs and wants are and hopefully we can help them idenfiy the houses they want to see and show them those houses. It is our jobs, when we reprsent buyers, to do the homework for them and that's part of what we are paid to do and what we can claim as an expert - to know the market and to know our clients (a huge part of being a good Realtor is the human part).

Dan - on your part, if you can give feedback to your Realtor as you see each house, it would help a lot. Out of the homes you see, did you narrow down the number of Beds / Baths, lot size, square footage, locations, amentities, a large / small yard, older/newer home? etc. As you said there are 547 homes on the market that you would qualify for, but how many of those actually fit into your criteria?

You have to help your Realtor by giving him your feedback. It is a two way relationship and it will help both in the long run - you really don't want to spend all weekends seeing hundreds of houses either, I am sure.

Sylvia
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 4, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
MVP'08
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Maybe some of you should go and read the code of ethics and then come back here again.
~~~~~~~~~~

Gerald, the code of ethics does allow us to respond honestly, when approached by someone who is currently working with another Realtor (or agent). We are not supposed to interfere with the relationship, nor are we to "approach" that client.

But if the client comes and asks a direct question of one of us, such as "Is it OK for a buyer's agent to limit the number of homes..." I have no problem, nor do I feel I'm in conflict with the code of ethics by responding, as I did, with:

"I'd suggest finding an agent who's more interested in assisting you, rather than how much money it's "costing" him to assist you."
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 4, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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Clint,
I guess I missed your post earlier.
Let me know how you are deducting the money you spend for gas. The last time I checked on what could be deducted gas was not on the list.

Also you might all read the question again: "He said we would have to "limit" our total choices and that he was only willing to show us 10 more homes from the 547 currently on the market that we qualify for."

That says Dan wanted to see all 547 that were on the market. With only 20 - 30 in Layton in his price range, where did the other 517 come from.

To all of you who said fire your agent and get a new one, apparently you speak without reading the whole thing, and you are quick to jump on a fellow Realtor®, assumeing you are all Realtors® and not just real estate agents. Maybe some of you should go and read the code of ethics and then come back here again.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 3, 2008
Patrick, are you kidding? Found a new hobby? I love how you guys think that driving around in a smelly old minivan while "Wile E., I'm a professional" talks about him/herself and how great they are, running stop signs and fumbling over maps and cellphones is somehow the way young, hardworking couples want to spend their weekends. Personally, I'd rather shove ice picks under my toenails. And if Dan, the buyer, has to spend his time "doing homework" so the "professional" only has to show 5 houses, then what exactly should he expect for the 3% he's paying out? I'm sorry if I sound a bit "put off" but after perusing some of the comments on this question one wonders who you guys think is working for whom. Are you working for the buyer/seller or are they working for you!!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 31, 2008
You can simply fire your agent and hire another. He might really really be hurting for money, but saying something like that says he's more concerned about money that serving you.

With that many homes to choose from you can probably rule many of them out just by driving by them yourself. The neighborhood and exterior condition is usually enough to rule out most homes....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 27, 2008
I do agree it sucks to pay for filling the tank of your car and lunches for the client, when showing homes, however I just have one thing to say(well maybe more then one)! Go sell some homes so you can afford your gas! We make good money, oops I mean some of us make good money! If we as realtor focus more on our clients they will almost never ever consider using another agent with or without a contract. I usually get my agency agreement signed when writing an offer, and out of the 200 homes myself and our team have sold in the last 6 years, I have only been burned about two times and that's because of the unethical realtors out there that talk clients into using them becuase and use the term "you have a realtor but you havent signed a contract yet" Those are the words we get burned by.
I will take any day getting burned a couple of times in 6 years to get the clients that want to fire thier current agent for not being full time and being able to afford to drive them around. We have to treat our clients as with respect and work with them at thier pace not ours. The client may want to go out and see a hundreds of homes, but if they are really willing to spend all thier time riding in your car and taking time away from the family and thier jobs to be with you and to help pay for your families expenses by using you. Do you really think that they aren't going to buy a home?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 30, 2008
Dan-
If the cost of gas is a consideration for your agent in finding you the right home, then I think I might explore other options. Obviously you wouldn't want to look at all 500+ homes, but finding the right one with some expertise and experience behind you is your goal. Find an experienced agent who knows homes and the market. I'm sure you won't run into the same obstacles with a knowledgable person.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 29, 2008
Hi Dan:

A straight answer to your question "Is it OK for a buyer's agent to limit the number of hoomes h'es willing to show you?" This is a free world and anybody can work anyway they choose to, so an agent can limit showings to one house if he choose to do so.

However, is this the agent you might want to work with? The answer is a resounding NO from me.

You are completely right - buying a home is one of the biggest financial and emotional move a person a can make in his lifetime, and it should be taking very seriously, both by you and buy your Realtor who care about YOUR needs, not their needs. It is mind boggling that in this buyers market, a Realtor will choose not to work with you the way you deserve to be treated.

From your response below, looks like you also have done your homework prior to asking your realtor to show you the homes you might like. It sure surprises me that he will refuse to show you certain homes because it could be too much trouble, whether they are short sale or not. I agree with you, it's time to find another Realtor who is willing to work for you on your terms.

I recently told two of my clients that one thing we will know for sure is that whatever house they ended up purchasing will be the house they really like at the best price they can buy, because you guessed it, they will have looked at almost every single house on the market in the price range they can afford and the locations that they like. There will be no regrets and that's extremely important.

Interview a few, set expectation and make sure the one you ended up choosing will do whatever it takes to find the right property for you. You deserve that!

Best,
Sylvia
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
MVP'08
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Dan,
It doesn't sound like your "Buyer's Agent" is an ABR-Accredited Buyer Representative. It also sounds like you are not being "Represented" at all. You need to check to see if you signed a "Representation Agreement" that requires you to pay the Agents Brokerage a commission/fee in the event you do not purchase through them. If you did not sign a contract...... RUN as fast as you can to a REAL "Buyer's Agent." Look for agents with experience, and combinations of designations such as ABR, CRS, GRI. They are educated and usually the "Cream of the Crop."

If you did sign a "Representation agreement” it appears that your Agent may be in breech of the contract. Review the contract, contact the Agent's BROKER and see if you can get your issues resolved and/or your contract canceled, ASAP!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
I imagine you would have received different answers had you included this information in your initial question:

"He always has a "better choice" HE likes. We also expressed interest in short sales and foreclosures and were told that they were a waste of time and that banks just use the price they list as a way to "run up" the price and to forget about them"

My new response to your question is "This guy's a loser."
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
Dan: One more shot at your question. Here are 3 good Trulia links -- click on or copy-paste to your browser.

I did a quick property search on Layton, Utah for homes in your $ 200,000 to $ 250,000 price range. If you have not tried a search on Trulia, it's pretty neat (66 homes in your range -- http://tinyurl.com/6lsaym

The statistics page is pretty cool -- http://tinyurl.com/6n7tz5

Then there is the Trulia Davis County HEAT MAP which may also be of some help – good pricing overview: http://tinyurl.com/6n7tz5
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Dan,
It shouldn't be more than 10 houses. I learned a lesson showing more than 20 houses to my client when I first started this job. I ended up selling nothing because my buyers were so overwhelmed that they couldn't pick the house they want to make an offer. After that incident I made a commitment to myself to limit the search to 6 and they have to give me the final word after that, otherwise, I will refer them to someone else willing to waste their gas. The most valuable tip I give to my clients on the first interview is to get to know the neigborhood of their interest, the types of homes in that neigborhood and its price range. That way, they don't expect something more than what their realtor can give them. Many buyers right now expect something to pop out in an area they want. For example, the price they are looking is $350k, and they want 3bed and 2 bath, but the area is selling for $500k at least. If a realtor is smart, he or she can tell these buyers to stop looking in this neigborhood because there is not houses selling for $350, unless they want a fixer, a house with no bathroom and kitchen.

I am surprised your agent was willing to show you 24 houses. I wouldn't. If you can't find the house from the first 5, then you will never will.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Most of my clients meet me at the houses they want to see. I'm not a taxi and I'll show them as many houses as they want to see, but they have to take their own car. I find that this cuts WAY down on my fuel bill. When you have to start using your own car you'll do more work online, narrowing down properties to those you're REALLY interested in. Out of 24 houses, you should be able to find one that you love, if you narrow it down online first.

As an agent, my value to you does not come from me giving you a tour of the city or unlocking front doors. It comes from what I can negotiate for you in the way of price, terms and other considerations.

But I would never limit a buyer to a certain number of homes. If I'm doing my job right, I'm going to send you only those properties that you'll really like anyway and you won't NEED to see more than a dozen houses anyway.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
I am sorry.. But that has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I understand the price of gas is high... And as a self-employed person... The agent has the right to impose whatever policies he or she wants in his or her own business.. But his/her fiduciary duty to you as a buyers agent is to look out for YOUR best interest... And imposing a limit on the number of houses you can see is definitely not doing that. I hope you didn't sign a buyer broker agreement with this person yet, and can find a new agent who is willing to really look out for you. If you buy a house for 240k... This agent stands to make well over $6000... And if he or she is not willing to invest a few hundred bucks in gas into helping you find the RIGHT home... You should find someone who will. I understand the cost of gas is very high and only going up, but that is part of the cost of doing business in this industry.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 24, 2008
Once you hit your limit, does that mean the contract ends? If you want to see another home and he isn't willing to show it to you I'm pretty sure that violates a buyer contract. Sounds to me like a $50.00 tank of gas is worth spending in an attempt at a 200K plus sale (unless you're looking at homes in a 500 square mile area). I mean, this is as unprofessional and childish as asking for him to pay you if you choose to buy the first house you see. "We took the first house we saw, so can we collect on the 23 we didn't have you show us?"

Yes, our time and effort is worth money, but we are independent contractors who knew when we signed up we were getting into a commission paying business. If it's too expesive for you to stay in the business get out of it. Buyers and sellers should not suffer because an agent cannot afford gas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Absolutely not! You're a qualified buyer, and he's a fool if he will not work hard to build a solid relationship with you (partly through spending time together in the car between houses). Times are tough right now (not in TX, but in other places), so agents that are somewhat on the fringe, meaning they don't have tons of consistent business, could be trying to limit the cash that they have to outlay to make a sale. To me, that seems very myopic. He could easily pay for a couple tanks of gas if he sold you a house!

As for your concerns about a conflict of interest with your price of home and the agent's compensation, I really wouldn't put too much stock into your feelings about that. For me, my primary objective is to help my buying clients find a great house that they love. I have talked clients out of buying a more expensive house b/c I knew it wouldn't meet their long-term needs. I think that if my families are happy, and I've done something to guide them toward their perfect home, they'll call me when it's time to move up, or their friends are moving.

Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 4, 2008
You specifically called me out on this by directing your post at me and asking "Let me know how you are deducting the money you spend for gas.". Once again here is the answer. Included in your miles deduction is a deduction for gas. They are bundled together. more miles = more gas = less taxes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 4, 2008
Clint,

You didn't say miles in you earlier answer you said: "As a real estate agent, he is an independent contractor and can deduct his gas off his taxes. It is a cost of doing business." You said gas. There is no way to deduct the cost of gas. As far as miles driven, yes you can deduct them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 3, 2008
I don't know about you but my accountant asks me how many miles I drive every year. More miles = less taxes. Speaking of the code of ethics, I do believe as Realtors, we are to put the best interest of our clients before ours or anyone else's. The customer is right. Their best interest is to see as many properties as possible that fit their needs. By telling a customer that your gas tank is more important then them seeing all the possible choices available to them is clearly putting the agents interest before the customers. I do think it would be a good idea for the agent and the buyers to sit down, talked about the needs of the customers and then narrow down the choices for them to go see.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 3, 2008
Great answer Gerald! It does sound like sour grapes to me, but we don't know the agent or the buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 2, 2008
I don't believe there should be a hard and fast rule--Each home is different, just like each buyer is different. I know that some companies like Redfin will charge something like $250 to show houses. Hey--If you want to pay me $250 per three hour block of time, I'll show you 1000's of houses LOL. Personally, I try to guage the seriousness of the buyers. If they're ready to buy and just can't find anything good, I'll spend as much time as necessary. (I've been working with some buyers for over a year). But if they're just not serious and don't return my calls, then I have to write them off.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 24, 2008
Wow. I have to admit I'm a little stunned at your Realtor's attitude. I can understand becoming frustrated with "professional tire kickers" as someone said, but to come up with a hard and fast rule like that is ridiculous. You got some great advice, especially by Kevin.

I also agreed with Chris Freeman, who suggested that if that's his policy, you make sure your agency agreement says that he releases you from your contract after he's shown you 24 homes.

I would seriously consider switching agents if I were you. You seem like an agent's dream- you know what you want, and you're doing research to find homes you want. He doesn't appreciate you for what you are- an educated buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008
Dan, overall I believe you have gotten some great advice, except for poor Megs answer, see it could be worse. Cathy Sloan had a great answer and I think nailed it. I find it a real simple task, if buyer and realtor can communicate what the buyer's exact criteria is, including the location and price range, it shouldn't take previewing more than 12 homes to find the right one for any buyer, unless your in the high-end bracket. And the difference in a realtors compensation on a $300K and a $250K sale is not enough for a realtor to care which one the client buys. If you don't have that kind of a relationship with your current realtor, then hire a new one. Goode Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 27, 2008
Bad advice from Meg, and shows how little she knows about real estate. Meg, why are you giving advice about something you don't have a license to do? Oh wait, that just applies to us agents, we aren't supposed to talk about financial issues because we only have a real estate license. The general public can give advice about everything. Sorry!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
Dan

Sounds like your agent was not a good match for you. Having had two good agents before, you know how things are susposed to go. I think you have made the right decision to move on to another agent.

Wishing you the best in finding the right professional.
Web Reference: http://www.cathysloan.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
I would suggest ou move on to another agent, because it seems that this agent may not be the right one for you. I know if it was me, I would already have been working with someone else.
Web Reference: http://www.shoookie.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 25, 2008
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