Hi Is buying a home from seller agent without own buyer agent is a good idea?

Asked by Raavi, Ashburn, VA Sat Nov 3, 2012

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Janet McCart…, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sun Nov 4, 2012
HI Raavi,
The sellers agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the the seller. The agent has a contract with the seller to provide them with the highest level of care and attention to help them get the house sold. The agent does not get paid until the house is sold, however the seller agent pays for advertising, promotion and any other things necessary to market the house, not to mention their time. That being said they can still represent a buyer, but only with both the seller and the buyers permission.
Although it is legal, it is not in your best interest because you will have no one focused on your needs.
Buyer don't pay the buyers agent, so why not find an agent and get the help you need?
Janet McCarthy
Professional Realtor
Connect Realty
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My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Sun Nov 4, 2012
Absolutely Not! It's the worst thing you can do unless your objective is to make the listing agent do a happy dance.

You need a buyer broker whose fiduciary responsibility is solely to you. Buyer and Sellers who allow one agent to represent each of them in a single transaction have essentially thrown themselves under a bus. The only person well represented in this situation is the agent, Buyers and Sellers are essentially on their own and have set the agent up where a conflict of interest is highly likely.

Any agent telling you otherwise is simply talking out of both sides of the mouth and should not be trusted.

I've attached a link below to one of the most popular Blogs I've posted here on Trulia on how to find yourself a great Buyer Broker regardless of where you may live.
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Sonal Goda, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Sun Nov 4, 2012
Hi Raavi - I had a client that was also interested in this subdivision and has given up on his search on his own. But while he was working with me, we were under contract two times - one time the short sale came back for a little higher price and the buyer didn't want to go for it. Second time the short sale went to foreclosure after waiting for months for the approval. We found out later it was because the owner did not agree to the terms of the short sale (there was some money that the bank was requesting).

Another issue with what you have stated is that you have limited your search to one subdivision - the search should be broader to have success.

To be honest, there have been times when I felt that I did not get the full story from the listing side. However, most of the time, I felt that the agent was equally fair to all buyer agents. Every detail is important - how clean your contract is, how many times you talk to the listing agent to demonstrate your buyer's interest, how quickly you go to view the property/make the offer, not missing any new listing, etc. And I would never fail to submit an offer if the listing agent doesn't have an offer and is just talking about a higher price. There are too many buyers looking for not so many listings - can't give up so easily.

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Misty Mount, Agent, Yorktown, VA
Sun Nov 4, 2012
I would strongly suggest you find your own agent. I am not sure of all the details in your situation but the list price and market value are 2 different things. Have your agent check the market value before putting in an offer next time. Its also a good idea to have your agent ask about other offers before putting your offer in. You may be able to get info about the other contracts from the listing agent.
Dual agency is never a good idea for the buyer. Good luck
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Raavi, Home Buyer, Ashburn, VA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Thanks for all the responses.
I have been looking to buy a single family home in Ashburn's Ashbrook sub-division for the last four years without luck. I have hired a good and honest real estate agent. We wrote seven or eight contracts for short sales and regular sales homes but every time our contract was not accepted.
For one of the short sales, we put contract to buy the home for $517,000 and it was sold for $517,500; the bank put an asking price of $450,000.
For another short sale, we put contract to buy the home for $515,000 and it was sold for $516,000.
I think the bank short sale was approved for $520,000.
There was another regular sale by owner and they were asking 540,000. We went to see the home and liked it and was ready to put a contract for $520,000. We talked to the seller agent and she, the greedy agent, said no away, the home is going to sell for 540,000. So my agent told me not to even put a contract because we were not close to the asking price. And guess what, it was sold for $512,000. I am not kidding. This home is located on Mohave drive so you can check the selling price.
By now my honest and hard working agent is fed up and told me that the honest way of doing business does not exist in America any more. It is very clear that the seller agents was talking to their 'friends' and telling them the insider story and giving them the highest price information. So that their own guys/friends can come up $500 or $1000 more than what we are willing to pay.
If we know that the home we are willing to pay $515,000 is going to sold for $516,00 then why in the world we will not pay $516,000. It clearly means that there is big time price manipulation and if we can have relationship or kickback to seller agent, we will definitely get the home.
No wonder why America is in bad shape today...............
That is the reason that I have no choice to just go directly to the seller agent and make a deal with him. And trust me, a number of my friends who were all fed up went this way and bought their homes recently.

I hope everybody understand what is going on here...........
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sadaf alhooie, Agent, ashburn, VA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Buying a home from seller agent can be done but not a great idea. I just want to mention that the seller/listing agent has a fudiciary obligation to the seller and to protect their rights and what is good for them. So how could that agent be fair to the buyer and protect them and be able to negotiate on their behalf.
So to be fair to both sides, I would definitely recomment you getting a realtor who is there to work on your behalf and do all the negotiation.
And please pick a real estate professional who is familiar with the area and do business in the area where you are interested.

(703) 727-8700
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Sonal Goda, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Hi Raavi,

I would say it is not a good idea. During the past 5 1/2 years, I have helped over 50 buyers with their purchase, and I think only about 5 of the transactions were smooth, meaning there were no complications. A good buyer's agent does all the things that Matt mentioned, and is a trusted advisor, guiding you through each part of the process so you are well-prepared and know your options at every step. A good buyer's agent also has done training above and beyond the licensing requirements, and has experience from multiple transactions, so he/she will know a lot of little tricks to help you out.

The seller's agent will not advise you on all your options, unless it is in the best interest of the seller. Would you go through a divorce and trust your spouse's attorney to represent you as well as your spouse?

Furthermore, you are not saving money by skipping on a buyer's agent. The buyer agent commission is paid by the seller. If there is no buyer agent, the seller's agent gets both parts of the commission. So there is no monetary incentive to skip on the buyer's agent, at least the way most listing agreements are structured.

Let me know if you would like to meet for a no obligation initial consultation to go over the home buying process and so we can discuss your questions in more detail.

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Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Hi, As long as you know the sellers agent represents the sellers best interest all of the time and are ok with it. Anyhting you say can and will be used against you in a negotiation...
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Alain Picard, Agent, Puyallup, WA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
As everyone here is pretty much saying, It is usually a good idea to have your own agent to represent you.
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Matt Elliott, Agent, Reston, VA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Good afternoon, Raavi,

Short answer is not at all.

Longer answer is not at all, because...

1) Seller's agent contractually represents the seller; who then, is looking out for you?
2) Dual representation is a farce; no one can "serve two masters" - ie: how can someone negotiate BEST for the seller AND the opposing side (you)? Can't happen, even though the state of Virginia allows it.

When you work with a true professional (note: not all agents, unfortunately are true professionals), you get someone who researches the comps, values for the home you're buying; they negotiate well on your behalf, they present alternatives, they give you the negatives of that house from a resale standpoint (what characteristics exist that you can not change that will negatively impact your value when you ultimately sell?), and they make certain you are well represented during the home inspection, the financing aspect, the closing process and then beyond.

Going it alone, or via the seller's agent, is never a good idea.

Hope this helps; if you'd like to discuss at all, feel free to call at 703-627-2167.


Matt Elliott
Keller Wiliams
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PJ Riner, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Ask yourself who would be working in my best interest? The Listing Agent is representing the seller. Although dual-agency is legal with consenting parties disclosure, I am not comfortable with it at all. I believe you need your own representation. Respectfully, PJ Riner
Web Reference:  http://Www.pjriner.com
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Doc & Ellen…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Hi, Raavi,

NO! It is NOT a good idea. Think of it this way: The Seller's Agent has loyalty to the Seller. His or her job is to SELL that house for as much money possible. Your Buyers' Agent's job is to help you to find exactly what you wan, and then negotiate the best possible deal for you. Those two interests are directly opposed to each other. You can't be on both sides in a gun fight! If the Seller's agent offers you a discount, then ask, whose interest is this agent promoting - the Seller's or his own? Why is he throwing his Seller under the bus?

Since the Seller is going to pay for your agent anyway, get the best Buyers Representative you can find. Here is a more thorough discussion: http://www.trulia.com/blog/ellen_doc_stephens_realtors/2010/…

Good luck,

Doc Stephens, REALTOR
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allan erps,A…, Agent, Pearl River, NY
Sat Nov 3, 2012
Although I have represented both parties several times in my 12 years, this is probably not a wise idea unless it is possibly new construction. Whose interest would that Agent really have more loyalty towards is the question you should ask yourself.
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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sat Nov 3, 2012
As a real estate agent, of course, I'm going to tell you that I think it's important for you, as the buyer, to have your own representation.

If you've done lots of real estate purchases, and are intimately familiar with the process, you can probably attempt it on your own. Even then, I would strongly recommend having a real estate attorney involved to handle the details.

Good luck.
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