As a buyer, what's the best way to go about hiring a realtor? I know often times, it's the seller paying the

Asked by David, 11417 Thu Feb 14, 2008

commission, but isn't that a conflict of interest? I know buyer brokers (who only represent a buyer) are available. What's a good way to get the best representation at an affordable price? thanks.

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Gail Gladsto…, Agent, 11743, NY
Thu Feb 14, 2008
David, ultimately, the buyer is always paying the commission. Commissions are built into the selling price and are paid out of sales proceeds.

All Realtors MUST disclose to you in writing whom they represent BEFORE showing you any property. If they do not, they are out of compliance with our Code of Ethics.

You may or may not sign an agreement with a Realtor to represent you. The Realtor generally collects their commission share from the listing (see above). The agreement states that if the commission is not received, you will be responsible for it. This is pretty much unlikely to happen.

If you see a property with the listing agent, they must also disclose to you that they represent the seller and not you. It is not a conflict because their fiduciary responsibility is to the seller and they only have a responsibility of honesty and trustworthiness to you. I would hire a Realtor to represent my interests, provide me with comparable sales in the area and negotiate on my behalf.

Interview must be comfortable with the Realtor.
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Donald Mituz…, Agent, Chappaqua, NY
Sun Apr 6, 2008

Find an experience Realtor in the area you are looking. If you know someone who has bought a home in the area, ask them if they liked their Realtor and if so, ask for their name.

There are different types of buyer agency agreements. One is an agency disclosure that says who the agent is representing and the other is an exclusive right to represent. Working with an agent who is working for you in a buyer's agency capacity gives you the opportunity to go with other agents in the area. If you are satisfied with the agent I would not recommend this. It wastes everybodys time, including yours. If you sign an exclusive right to represent, then you are tied into that agent for a period of time. This can be both good and bad. It all depends on the terms of the agreement. In some instances you may have to pay the agents commission, others not. If an agent is hard working and finds you a for sale by owner that may be a bit underpriced, it may be well worth you paying the commission.

A few responses here were wrong. NEVER assume an agent works for anyone. It is a very poor assumption. The law requires that at the first substantive discussion about purchasing a home a licensed real estate salesperson in New York is REQUIRED to go over agency law. They should explain the different types of agency and how you want to be represented. You should be offered an agency disclosure form to sign explaining agency disclosure in New York. Please take a moment to read this disclosure form located on the NY DOS site at This form should also be read, printed and memorized by those who posted to assume an agent represents the seller.

Donald A. Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
VP - Putnam County Association of Realtors
Instructor - New agent orientation and the Realtor Code of Ethics
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1 vote
Joseph Ferra…, , New York County, NY
Mon Feb 18, 2008
In NY, virtually all agents work for the seller, unless a contract says otherwise.

The best way to go about hiring a realtor is asking a LOT of questions-- how long in the business, have you handled co-op/condo/whatever transactions (some agents are not that familiar with the co-op buying process). Ask about the fee.

You should also know there are discount buyers agents who will rebate a portion of their fee to you. If you have any further questions, call me at 646-714-2720
1 vote
Jodi Strober-…, , Bucks County PA, Montgomery County PA
Thu Feb 14, 2008
David - in New York you are right. Unless you specifically have a contract with a Buyer's Agent to represent you - assume that all agents are representing the seller and it is a conflict of interest.

In Real Estate New York is a bit behind the times. (i guess that depends on how you look at it...) but in PA and other states across the country, Buyer Agency started in the mid-eighties but really get into action until the early 90's. So buyers have their agent and sellers have their own.

But - in NY you can still make use of a Buyer Agent - just make sure that you know up front if you will have to pay the agent, or if they are going to get paid from the Seller's Agent (Seller).

It is a good idea to work with a Buyer's Agent because it is their duty to be loyal to YOU and if you give an agent your loyalty as well, they will work their hardest to find you your next home - if you keep switching from agent to agent - only calling the listing agents, they are not going to take the time to sit with you, go over your criteria, your financials etc. You are basically working alone.
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Jon Phillips, , New York, NY
Tue Apr 8, 2008
There are already many good answers posted here that address the agency disclosure law in New York State. A few practical considerations should be brought into your decision process:
You are writing from the Ozone/Jamaica Queens. If you are looking there you will be best represented by a broker who is thorough and familiar with the neighborhood and resources. You are likely looking for a 1-4 family home, which will require that an agency disclosure be proffered between the buyer and sellers broker the first time you step into the property you wish to view, so you will be dealing with this issue very thoroughly. You will need to have your 'ducks in a row' if you see a property that you are interested in making an offer for, and toward that end I recommend that you interview brokers as well as an attorney to perform your due diligence and go to contract, a mortgage banker or broker to help evaluate your borrowing options if you plan to finance, and a home inspector to help you evaluate subject properties. If you are not only interested in looking in Queens, but might also be considering other boroughs or neighborhoods, you might want to consult other brokers with specific expertise in the neighborhood that you are interested in. There are no legal restrictions on the number of buyer brokers you can use, but there are practical considerations that you should give to how they will be spending their time on your behalf. Good luck.
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Mikem, , 01803
Sun Apr 6, 2008
I would think that an agent's biggest interest would be to have a satisfied client (you) not to force their client to buy somethign for 10k more and get an upset buyer (but hey! your agent would make 300$ more that way!)
Just find an agent that you feel comfortable with and who you think will do the best job.
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;, , Riverhead, NY
Sat Apr 5, 2008
Locating a buyer broker is very possible outside of NYC. Limit those that you are considering to this agency- any agent not working directly for you, with or without a "contract", is a conflict of interest (with representation available, why would a person NOT seek this advantage)? Once you've located a few buyer brokers, narrow the field from there. An agent that represents the seller may have a terrific personality, but the bottom line is you want someone that is on the buying side of the transaction, not someone looking out for the seller.
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Shawn Steinm…, Agent, Westhampton, NY
Tue Feb 19, 2008

There are a few simple Real Estate Reality's, real estate is local so find an agent in the Area that you are looking to relocate too. This will allow you to find the best buyer rep that is familiar with the area and the market in that area. So far as commissions goes you the buyer are in most cases the only that brings money to the table. So every thing gets paid from that, The Seller, his Mortgage company if one, The title company, and so therefore also the comissions. As well in most cases the compensation is already being offered to the buyer rep so there fee is already set depending on your contract there may or may not be discounts or additional commission owed. But you can find a Certifed buyer Rep ort Accredited Buyer Rep in many place via the WWW. or let me know and I can help in finding a buyer broker
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Ronnie Shuma…, Agent, New York, NY
Fri Feb 15, 2008
Hi David,

The only way it is a conflict of interest is if the agent is representing the seller as well.
The best way to select a broker to represent you is to meet with them and go with your instincts.
Aside from professional qualifications, the right broker will give you the right feeling. They will listen to your needs, give you a good choice of options for your needs and budget also be someone who you like.

I have found that this can often be a the difference between a simple and pleasurable experience or a long and difficult one. When two people who are driven actually like each other, great things can be achieved.

Feel free to write me or call me anytime if you are having difficulty at all or have any questions!
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LS, Home Buyer, Dallas, TX
Thu Feb 14, 2008
Hi David. If I understand your question correctly, no it's not a conflict of interest. Now, if your realtor/agent is ALSO the listing agent on the property of your interest- yes this would be a conflict of interest. (because the agent is worker for both parties- buyer and seller and will likely get all the commission) In my area, most buyers are accustomed to our agents being paid by the seller. Hope this helps.......
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