As a buyer, can I represent my self with out an agent ? What are the Pros and Cons of doing this ?

Asked by Satees, Jersey City, NJ Fri Jul 15, 2011

Just as an owner can sell a property without a Listing Agent - can a buyer buy the property with out an Agent ? What are the Pros and Cons of doing this ?
What happens to the commission in this case ? If I have a Buyer's Agent, my Agent would get half of the commission. But if I represent my self can I get the commission that would have been paid to my buyers agent ?


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Xtreme62484, Home Buyer, Jersey City, NJ
Mon Dec 28, 2015
Yes you can represent yourself. Do your homework and understand the laws and requirements. I am no longer licensed in New York as I opted to not to renew as I feel the whole industry is not needed, manipulative and generally crooked. The only best interest they have, is the money they are trying to put in their pocket. As fair as the commission, you wont get a check for the buyers agent amount, however this is less money that you need to pay overall. Make sure you do not sign a agency discourse form UNLESS is clearly marked as Sellers Agent Only. Do not use a realtor Purchase form. Consult your lawyer to ensure you bypass all shady realtor fine print, such as all unpaid commission goes to the Agent rather than just not being paid out.

Realtors have a Requirement by law to present all offers to their seller. So do not accept any other answer to include that you must use a buyers agent. If you are not comfortable with this process, ask your attorney to do the purchase for you as your are going to have to typically pay for one anyways. Don't pay commission and lawyer fees.
1 vote
you are an idiot, no wonder you left the business.
Flag Tue Jul 25, 2017
Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Thu May 9, 2013
If a house is listed with an agency, you must SEE the house with an agent. Even if you go to the house on your own, the listing agent will then technically be representing YOU as well as the SELLER. It's called dual agency, with the listing agency/agent then representing both buyer and seller equally (and ONE agent getting paid the commission). It will NOT absolve the seller of their obligation to pay the full commission.

The seller is responsible to pay the commission to both the listing and the buyers agents, so what's the problem?

The SELLER will have representation, why wouldn't you want someone who knows the business representing you?

And , no a commission can only be paid to a licensed BROKER/AGENCY who then pays their agent.
1 vote
This is incorrect. Golden key, Redfin and several other companies operate on removing the buyer side commission and charging a small flat fee.
This is something you could certainly do yourself.
Flag Tue Mar 28, 2017
I have purchased my current condo by owner, and tell you what, I don't want any representation. All that dual agency is only good on the paper. Been there, done that.
Flag Thu Feb 11, 2016
Showing a property to an individual that is not using a buyers agent does not in the very least mean you represent them in any way. Unless NJ is radically different than NY, you can very easily show a how to someone without and agent, they would need to sign an Agency Disclosure Form which would clearly state that you only work for the seller. And once again I am not sure NJ regulations, however in NY Dual Agency must be agreed upon by both parties. Even if the seller has sign a dual agency agreement, if the buyer does not sign agreeing to such then you in now way represent them as a buyer. I am not sure how you are "technically" assuming that you represent someone by default. Additionally, Sellers or Buyers should NEVER agree to a Dual Agency. It is not possible for a single agent to give full fiduciary reasonability to both. Dual Agency with Designated Sales persons is a better, but not the best options either.
Most of the posts are very misleading and one sided.
Flag Mon Dec 28, 2015
wsmaxwell100, Home Buyer, Jersey City, NJ
Wed May 8, 2013
If a property is listed for sale by a broker then a commision more than likely will be paid.

If you as a buyer find a seller who wants to sell they will not pay you a comission, it is against the law to pay a comission to someone who is not licensed as a real estate broker.

A experienced broker is worth there weight in gold. A half assed broker is worthless.

I would seek out a very active broker in your area and see if you can work together.

Don't be duped into thinking you can go it alone,

I thought the same thing and bought a property $45,000 over market price.

After that I became a broker and have done very well for clients for thirty years.
1 vote
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Sun Jul 17, 2011
Here's a stat the blew me away - of the total 17,000+ agents actively registered with my MLS - the Garden State MLS, over 40% did no business - that is $0 in closed business - in 2010 and only 3% booked over $5,00,000. To Deborah's point about the the huge number of agents in the field - this is true here as well. And among the huge field there are a few that are very, very good and get the job done! That's who you want to work with, an agent that is experienced and knows the market and inventory cold, and can negotiate well on your behalf. Find her, hire her, and you'll be happy you did. And for all that value to you, remember, the seller pays her fee - how cool is that?!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering commitment to Service
Web Reference:
1 vote
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Sat Jul 16, 2011
Commission is only paid to licensed realtors through their broker. What you are looking for is the commission savings to accrue to you in the price. The place to play that game is the FSBO market where everybody is focused on commission savings. But I encourage you to focus on finding the right house, negotiating the best deal and successfully getting to the closing table. And for that you need a good guide - and that comes in the form of a great agent.

As far as listed properties go, here is the wrinkle, if you go it alone, you are being represented by the listing agent. This is called Dual Agency and the listing side would be earning both sides of the commission. Remember that the listing agent/broker's fiduciary responsibility is to the Seller, not to the Buyer. In my firm, we make it a rule to draw in another resource to assist during pricing negotiations so that all parties are represented fairly.

Commission is paid by the seller. It is negotiated as a part of the listing agreement. If you go it alone, the commission that would be paid to your agent will be paid to the listing agent. If you decide to pursue only FSBO's then you will be in a tug of war where everybody is focused on saving the commission, rather than a process that is focused on finding the right house.

A great agent will help you find the right house, and negotiate the best deal. In my experience, an agent that knows the market and can negotiate well will earn her keep and then some, saving Buyers and netting Sellers far more than the commission amount.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:
1 vote
Linden Moe, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Sat Jul 16, 2011
Het Satees,
If you are determined to do it yourself here are acouple facts to help you out..
1. for 1 you most likely will not get a lower price..the sellers agent job is to get you to pay the highest price possible.. its not wrong ..that is the sellers agent job.

2. Do not tell any of them how much , you can really afford or anything financial, or anything about how nice you think the home is..they are not on your side..and this info will be used against you...

3. Always structure the contract with ways to get out ..if something goes wrong..such as inspection clauses
mortgage clauses...etc. The seller agent job is to get the highest earnest money deposit possible...try to negotiate that out of pocket risk...

4.if you are going to do this on your own, and want to avoid hassle and not see or let a buyers agent show you the homes..if you know you will not use them..if you see a home with a buyers agent..and then sneak behind they back to write the offer might have a new set of problems that could intefere with your deal later... you will have to do all the scheduling and going to see each home yourself...

5. Try to find comparables, yourself..similiar properties that have closed in the last 3-6 will help you negotiate better and will help you not overpay...

6. Be prepared to do lots of legwork and paqperwork yourself including finding competent attorneys, inspectors, etc..Do not ever use the one the sellers or builders rep reccommends..they are not on your side...

thats like being sued..and the person suing you trying to reccommend an attorney..or to tell you to proceed without an attorney..its not in your best intereset..

or you can avoid all of that by getting your own agent to protect your interest..
the choice is yours,..

good luck and happy househunting..,
1 vote
Baran1913, Home Buyer, Jersey City, NJ
Thu Jun 15, 2017
I bought a house without an agent. I asked the seller agent to contribute toward the price of the house half of his full 7% or there is no deal. After huggling the seller agent agreed to do it. This was good for me and the seller as we were able to close the deal. The seller agent got 3.5% which I think all he deserved.
0 votes
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Thu Mar 31, 2016
I know, asked in 20111. But I just had a buyer, also an attorney, say she wanted to represdent herself in as the buyer's broker, and deal only with listing agent(s). I believe NJ RE law says that only licensed agents can receive income from a RE transaction. I imagine an attorney can represent themsleves in the transacton but not act as buyer;s broker and agent. Am I wrong? All these years
0 votes
TheLuckyOne, Home Owner, Shaker Heights, OH
Thu Feb 11, 2016
I have purchased a condo that was advertised for sale on Craigslist, by owner. There were no agents involved, we drew a contract and signed electronically, I picked a title company and voila! I am a happy homeowner right now. I have used a Purchase Agreement from my old condo that I modified to the circumstances. IT WORKED
0 votes
thinz, Agent, Allenhurst, NJ
Mon Jan 4, 2016
Yes you can represent yourself without an agent, but I'd be careful about making sure you have an attorney review your documents in attorney review so you don't come across any surprises at or before closing. Tom Hinz
0 votes
rosa.haydee02, Home Buyer, Oak Park, IL
Fri Apr 24, 2015
there is listing agreement with agent seller agrees to pay 4000 commission to agent agent has similar listing with different seller he agrees to give agent 5000 commission
seller exchange houses does agent get commission
0 votes
Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Fri May 10, 2013
OMG... I totally missed that this question was asked in 2011. I am slipping.
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu May 9, 2013
If you do, you want to make sure you understand all of the local laws and the real estate buying process. One of the many services offered by agents are the proper guidance through both of these.

0 votes
Abu Musa, Agent, New York, NY
Tue Sep 18, 2012
Yes you can represent yourself. Legally only real estate agent can earn real estate commission.If you looking for a best price you may have a real estate agent because they are trained to negotiate for their client also they have experiences and excess to other important areas.
0 votes
Chris Huntoon, Agent, Grand Rapids, MI
Mon Jul 18, 2011
You put yourself at an extreme disadvantage representing your self , whether buying or selling. You are emotionally involved and there are many important details you may not have working knowledge about. As the saying goes, " the person that represents themselves, has a fool for a client"
0 votes
Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Sun Jul 17, 2011
I suggest getting yourself a buyers agent from a firm that offers buyer rebates (now legal in NJ). This way you will have representation in the transaction. That's the only way you can "get something" back. If you aren't an RE agent, you are not entitled to commission.

If you look at for sale by owners, I suggest getting yourself a good real estate attorney to represent you.
0 votes
Nader Rezai, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Sun Jul 17, 2011
If the property is represented by an agent, the seller would have contracted them to find a buyer for a total commission amount, that amount could be shared with a cooperating agent if there happens to be another agent. The agent that showed you that property and introduced you to that property through their efforts is your agent. The seller will have to pay the total agreed upon commission You should work with an agent, select wisely.
Nader Rezai/Realtor
Web Reference:
0 votes
Jason Jakus, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Sun Jul 17, 2011
Employing a buyer’s agent does cost the buyer anything and the result can save thousands of dollars on the transaction and can ensure a smooth transaction. The commission for the buyer’s agent is paid by the seller in Florida and the buyer would not collect it unless they were a licensed agent in Florida.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Jul 17, 2011
Satees, thanks for starting this, and I hope your question has been answered.

Side discussion: Deborah, I would assert that the "average" agent - a subset of the population that has completed the necessary educational and licensing requirements, and is actively practicing - the "average" agent is 'way better than virtually almost any amateur.

Putting aside licensees who do not record sales, such as property managers and licensed assistants and designated brokers, it doesn't take much experience to exceed 99% of the population's experience with buying and selling real estate. We "insiders" may consider an agent with 20 or 50 deals as a rank amateur, but that's still a lot more experience than virtually of our clients have.

As for "bad" agents, I think we need to set some standards before calling an agent "bad." Maybe it's a formal complaint against them? Maybe more than one? Is it a personality conflict? Is an agent a "bad" agent because they get huffy on the phone with a mortgage rep that doesn't have a good answer?
0 votes
, ,
Sun Jul 17, 2011
@Linden, Based upon your previous answers (before my comment) I already knew you "earn your keep" as a buyers agent. No rebuttal was needed. However, to my comment, I am sure you do not consider yourself to be an "average" buyers agent. I just looked on line and there are just under 350K licensed agents in the State of CA. The odds of finding a "bad" agent is far higher than finding a "good" agent. Just examine the relatively small percentage of agents who on Trulia trying to educate and inform buyers (Yes, I know we all have ulterior motives to make connections and earn the business; however, many agents and affiliates spend a great deal of time, heart and soul trying to ensure the consumer is informed and protected. As you have in your comments on this thread).

Perhaps I should have been more direct in my comment. So, direct, and to the point: A good buyer's agent is worth their weight in gold and probably twice their commission (as the same is true of a good listing agent). A bad buyer's agent (or listing agent) is much like the oft retold lawyer joke: "What do you call 5000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?" ....."A good start".

I mean no disrespect to ethical and professional agents; I just don't think all agents are of the calibre your comments have represented. And, BTW, I certainly do not think all mortgage consultant's are of a calibre to be respected. I, however, take no offense to criticism of the mortgage industry because: 1). By and large, it is deserved and 2). I know my worth and what I bring to the table for both consumers and agents.

Clone yourself or move to represent the type of professional I enjoy working with.
0 votes
Jane Shebroe, Agent, Jupiter, FL
Sun Jul 17, 2011
I once had a woman come to me for help because she saved $1,000 by not hiring an attorney..... months after closing, she discovered that the 150k she paid in cash for a house had 127k in unpaid private mortgage liens against it.
She bought the house with her life savings to retire mortgage-free, and now was retiring homeless and pennieless because she didn't use an attorney.
No one could help her.
0 votes
this is a title report and any buyer able to read the English language can see it. Both Escrow and Title company should have alerted the buyer here.
Flag Thu Oct 20, 2016
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Sun Jul 17, 2011
a little while ago I answered a question for someone back east:

They had bought a house without a Realtor and therefore, without Inspections.
They have a house full of Radon!
Whom do they blame?

Do you think you know all the in's and out's of this business?
Is this BUY important to you?

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes
Linden Moe, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Sun Jul 17, 2011
well, Deborah,
the battle cry of buyers dont pay the commission is true..
in fact,.here is a case just last week in a downtown luxury waterfront building
that just closed with my buyer last week, study on how NOT using a buyers agent could cost you $45,000 or more and worst..
proerty list price $400k
which after running comps and sold history was actually already a good deal below market..
sinnce all my buyers are educated on the market..they wanted to place a full price was already priced below market.. and i had did my homework to find out the sellers motivation...sounded very much so..
we offered $370k although my buyer was willing to pay 400k...
seller..imagine that accepted...
I also in doing my research for the buyer found out..the listing was wrong and parking was not included..
I ran the comps again and determined..that parking was worth an additional 15k..
my buyer doesnt own a car and did not care..but in attorney review I told him to request an additional 15k off the price because of thier additional savings of 15k off the list price...
plus that doesnt include all the stuff the listing agent try to do to protect his client..
that my buyer was ok with..but I didnt feel protected him enough..
the seller agent tried to put a time of essence clause that if my buyer didnt close by the date..they could charge him $100 per buyer was OK with that..I found it was removed..
it was a luxury condo and the seller tried to remove the inspection clause as well...
again unacceptable although my buyer was ok with it...
So altogether the buyers saved 45k off the price..because I had did the due dilligence on thier behalf
and since he had to gfo last minute emergency to China..
closing had to be delayed by 21 days...
because we had removed that ridiculous clause..
that saved the buyer an additional $2100 out of his pocket..
not using an agent MIGHT have costed him $47,100 dollars or worst..because the agent SELLEr AGENT..
was determined to put thier client in an unfair compettitive advantage
which my buyers was ok with..but would have been dangerous..
0 votes
, ,
Sat Jul 16, 2011
satees, Some good advice here, but thought I would weigh in from a lenders point of view. For the most part I agree with the agents statements, expect the standard "battle cry" of "buyers do not pay commissions, sellers do". I am patently opposed to the statement as a basis of fact. The real fact is that if you over pay for the property, either do to no representation or poor representation by a buyer's agent, you will be paying for that commission over the entire course of your loan. Which, is a very expensive "commission" to be paying.

That said, I absolutely believe 99% of consumers are better represented by buyers agents than by themselves. Seasoned agents know the in's and out's of both the process and the marketplace and their expertise is invaluable in helping you stay on track and accomplish your goals. There are very, very few times that working with the listing agent is a good thing for the buyer and I strongly recommend having your own representation on all transactions. Builders are notorious to encouraging consumers to purchase without their own agent...and many a consumer has paid the price in both quality of the home and the costs involved.

Seems like I am sending contradictory statements? Not intentionally. I do recommend you work with a buyers agent; HOWEVER, I recommend you get references, referrals and interview at least a few prior to employing someone to represent you. In fact, keeping the thought that you are hiring the agent to represent you could serve you well throughout the process.

A good referral is not "My son just got his real estate license" or "Work with me because I am your cousin". The worse transactions I have ever seen were with friends or relatives as agents. Use discretion and you will be fine. Best to you!
0 votes
Gina Chirico, Agent, Fairfield, NJ
Sat Jul 16, 2011

Jeanne's answer below pretty much sums it up. The only property you can buy without an agent is a for sale by owner. Buying a property listed by an agent makes the listing agent a dual agent representing the seller and you and thus the dual agent gets the seller and buyers side of the commission. Only real estate brokers can be paid commission checks at the time of closing and since you are not a real estate agent with a real estate broker, you cannot and will not get paid a commission.

Just as an owner can sell a property without a listing agent (for sale by owner) you can buy their property without a buyers agent.

Since the commission will be paid anyway to the selling broker (broker who represents the buyer), you may as well get your own agent who will work for you, representing your best interests and will be paid the commission from the sellers proceeds.

Gina Chirico, Sales Asociate
Lattimer Realty
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Sat Jul 16, 2011
Yes you can represent yourself but keep in mind the following. if the property is listed with an agent that agent represents the seller, always. Anything you say can and will be used againbst you in a negotiation. if you don't know the laws or understand the paperwork involved you can create a problem for yourself. One of the main functions of an agent these days is to guide the client through all of the above. As for the commission, you wouldn't get compensated because you aren't an agent. You would however most likely get a lower price because the commission doesn't have to be paid. Essentially it's all coming out of your loan anyway so it's not like you are getting a bonus.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
Web Reference:
0 votes
Linden Moe, Agent, Jersey City, NJ
Sat Jul 16, 2011
Of course you can represent yourself...
BUT you can not get the comiision..the commission goes to the sellers agent..
in that case , the commission will go to the person who job
is to get you to pay the highest price possible
who's job is to protect the seller in the transaction..
You can also not hire a mechanic and try to fix your car yoursel..
you can also not go to a doctor and try to heal yourself..
and who will protect you during..
contract negotiations
structure the contract in the exact way to protect you
who will negotiate any inspection issues
who will negotiate any appraisal issues
who will protect you during contract last minute disputes
if you are willing to do everything yourself
like schedule each appointment
call all those different listing agents
schedule all the units with each listing agent yourself
Pull comparables yourself to make sure you dont risk overpaying
pull the sales history in the building to make sure
look up sales history in the tax records..
If you are the do it yourself type that wants..

fix your own car..
do your own plumbing
do your own taxes
represent yourself in court

then this is for you...
if you are like most of the area busy savvy proffessionals...
representing yourself in court
fixing your own plumbing
fixing your own car
all without the help of a professional... usually just isnt worth the risk...

then it just best the hire the services of a competent professional... local area expert buyers agent...

and the best part is..
you dont have to pay them..
buyers agents are there to protect you, save you thousands of dollars,
save you massive time, and hassles and avoid painful costly mistakes...
and buyer traps and hidden cost that is involved with buying a home...

Why risk it? on the biggest investment of your life?
0 votes
Jane Shebroe, Agent, Jupiter, FL
Sat Jul 16, 2011
I can't think of any pros because the seller pays your agent's commission for you. However, here is a link to the page that lists all of all of the free services you would be missing out on:

0 votes
There are no free services... You as the buyer will be paying for these services with a higher sales price. When you represent yourself start by taking 3% off of the price or asking for a 3% buyers bonus. Remember you are negotiation for yourself. You can ask for anything and it isn't unresable to ask for a 3% DISCOUNT OR BONUS
Flag Wed Apr 22, 2015
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Jul 16, 2011
You certainly can represent yourself.....however, why do you think it is that so many educated and professional people seek the expertise of a real estate professional? Because they know that today's world is one of specialization and that using the expertise of a realtor can save them money, help them use their time efficiently, and protect their best interests.

Yes, doctors, educators, and even attorneys understand the importance of working with a specialist.

0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Fri Jul 15, 2011
The pros are that you may be able to negotiate a slightly better deal from the listing agent. The cons are one for every advantage a good buyer's agent can provide for you, which are not infinite but are extensive.

With any luck, you and the seller will be on equal ground when it comes to experience and knowledge. Otherwise, you will likely be the least knowledgeable and least experienced person in the transaction.

Commissions are, by law, a contract between the seller and the listing broker. The listing broker may, then, at their discretion - but usually with written agreement by the seller - offer a portion of that commission as a "co-brokerage" fee. The idea that the co-brokerage fee is sitting on the table waiting for a buyer to grab it is a mistaken one, as is the notion that most listing agents would rather have a sale than argue over the commission. Many listing agents - and their brokers - would much prefer that another brokerage was representing the buyer, and taking on the liability to that buyer.

All the best,
0 votes
Steve Salzer…, Agent, Hoboken, NJ
Fri Jul 15, 2011

Buyers do not pay for a Realtors services, sellers pay for their agent and yours. The commission is agreed at the time of the listing and it doesn't matter who sells the property, the seller will pay the commission agreed. Besides you'll get more information from a competent agent than just opening a few doors. It sounds like you don't yet understand the value of working closely with an agent to inform and guide you through the process.

Lastly, unless you have your NJ real estate license you can not receive a commission. You'll be best to connect with an agent that you feel comfortable with and let them help you. I'm sure when it's all said and done you'll appreciate all the information, coaching, and service that is available to you if you are open to receive it!

Good luck. Let me know if you need any help.
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Fri Jul 15, 2011
Dear Satees,
Realtor is a licensed profession. Without a Real Estate license,you cannot collect a commission, this is true in every state. If you have a buyers agent, your agent will represent you..but be paid by the seller. There is really no reason not to use an agent on your purchase. There are no pros to this idea..only cons.
0 votes
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