How does a highly motivated buyer (with millions to spend) locate a buyer-only agent who deals in high-end San Francisco (city only!) residential real

Asked by ArbSecure-AAA, San Francisco, CA Mon Dec 30, 2013

How does a highly motivated buyer (with millions to spend) locate a buyer-only agent who deals in high-end San Francisco (city only!) residential real estate? We have worked with "agents" in San Francisco for 30 years. In our experience, we have found that they have consistently placed their own interests, and those of their sellers (and other agents' sellers), well above ours as the purchasing entity -- which is why we have never used the same San Francisco agent for more than one purchase (or sale). If anyone has any thoughts regarding how to locate a trustworthy, and highly ethical, buyer-only agent, feel free to contact us via: .

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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 30, 2013
First, I doubt there are many agents who only represent one side or the other anymore. Second, buyers are much better served by agents/brokers who work on both sides because they will be more familiar with how the market is affecting both side much better than a buyer only agent.

And there are many highly-skilled, ethical agents/brokers in this city who will look out for your interests. One of the easiest ways to learn if you are working with one of them is this: when you go to look at property are they telling you what's wrong with the property or just telling you all the reasons you should buy it? If it's the latter, keep looking.
1 vote
Thanks for your comments. I decided a long time ago that we were going to do business the right way and the let the $ fall where they may. I like the way they've fallen just fine. I also have a lot of construction in my background and have done numerous projects in the city, so I can help you avoid getting into buildings with issues and/or give you accurate remodel costs. I would also add that our buyers always call us to sell their place when they're ready because they know they can trust us.
Flag Mon Dec 30, 2013
Lance, thank you for your useful and sincere comments. It is quite true that the vast majority of agents with whom we have dealt do focus solely on the selling points, rather than sharing with us with potential or actual problems. You offer great advice, and it is much appreciated. Perhaps we will be able to do business soon in the next calendar year.
Flag Mon Dec 30, 2013
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Mon Dec 30, 2013
You don't need to use a "buyer's only" (or exclusive buyer's agent) in order to have your interests properly represented. You simply have to hire your own agent, and not use the same agent who is representing the property.

Any agent (one who represents both buyers and sellers) can assist you with your purchase, and vigorously represent you, and only you! If they don't do what you want, you're in control... simply fire them, and find an agent who will represent your interests properly.

Good luck.
1 vote
Thanks so much, Alan, for your polite and responsive commentary. In the old days (1980s), when we first began interviewing residential realtors, we were actually able to find a few who claimed anyway to represent buyers only. Now, a few decades later, perhaps the realtor profession has evolved as a completely dual service enterprise, wherein any agent typically represents both buyers and sellers. That makes me sad, because it would seem that, in such a system, the interests of sellers would be favored. (Of course, when we are selling, it works to our advantage.) But as buyers right now, we are committed to finding an ethical realtor who will, for once, represent US as the people paying the big bucks. Thanks again for your remarks.
Flag Mon Dec 30, 2013
Jason Walter, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Fri Jan 3, 2014

I referred my SF clients to a fantastic SF real estate agent that did an amazing job for my clients. They just closed on a very nice house TODAY and my clients were very pleased with the service and professionalism of the agent. I would be happy to pass along her contact information if you like.

Jason Walter, CPA
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Dec 30, 2013
- Thanks so much, Alan, for your polite and responsive commentary. In the old days (1980s), when we first began interviewing residential realtors, we were actually able to find a few who claimed anyway to represent buyers only.

That was right after the industry shifted from only representing the seller.
0 votes
Yes... we had "subagency" here in Northern Illinois for a long time... where the buyer's agent and the seller's agent BOTH represented the seller... and the buyer was rarely truly aware of that distinction. Happy to see those days gone.
Flag Thu Jan 2, 2014
Bellings Bro…, , San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 30, 2013

I agree with my colleagues and Greg who say that finding a good, experienced, and ethical Realtor is really the first and most crucial step in the searching process. You want to consider interviewing more than one Realtor and find the one that connects best with you and you feel like you can trust. My brother (business partner) and I pride ourselves on honesty, integrity, and hard work with all of our clients, and we would of course treat you as we treat all of our clients, like family! I would always recommend working with a Realtor exclusively for your buying needs, rather than what I see a lot of people do, and that is write offers with the listing agent. I agree with Greg that there is a fine line in that situation, and would be surprised if anyone didn't feel like those situations are a conflict of interest. As long as you find someone you like and trust who has experience in the San Francisco market, I don't think you can go wrong! I would appreciate any opportunity to learn more about you and what kind of home you are looking for in the coming months, so please feel free to reach out directly to me as well.

All the best and good luck with your search!

Aaron Bellings
Realtor, Vanguard Properties
BRE #01915431
(415) 601-3000
0 votes
Greg Bryan J…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 30, 2013
That is tough now a days. Most realtors represent both buyers and sellers as the market changes from a buyers market to a sellers market at different times and client's needs change.

I understand exactly what you are saying when you talk about realtors placing their own interests above their clients as I have seen this happen in multiple situations with off market properties, properties on market but agents not actively returning phone calls or replying to inquiries from other agents or parties interested, etc. The worst for me was a short sale where I had a buyer and the listing agent basically stone walled our offer, sold the property to one of their own clients who then offered to flip it to us at a higher price. Ironically we would have paid the higher price to the initial party, but not the new one after what had happened.

There is also the whole double ending the deal where the same realtor represents both sides of the transaction which I feel is an inherent conflict of interest.

The best advice I can give, but that is not full proof is to use an agent that does not have any current listings. Alternatively form a relationship with a realtor that focuses on the long term relationship, expectations and not the individual current transaction.

Good luck with this as I think you are in a difficult situation. If you want I can refer you to someone whom I feel is ethical, but she definitely has her own listings. I used to work with her and partnered with her before I left McGuire Real Estate. If interested let me know.

Gregory J. Bryan
GB and Associates
Cell (415) 640-4341
Fax (415) 946-3467
Web Reference:
0 votes
ArbSecure-AAA, Home Buyer, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 30, 2013
Lance King and Tony Ngai: We hope that it is O.K. to say here that we look forward to locating and interviewing you in the coming New Year! Thanks also to Alan May for his great comments. Sorry, Alan, that you appear to be located outside of the S.F. area. Please let us know if that changes. So, to Lance, Alan, and Tony, many thanks -- and Happy New Year!
0 votes
No plans to relocate to San Francisco. (although my daughter lives in Alameda, so I'd love that)... I'd need to triple my income in order to be able to live in the style, to which, I'd like to become accustomed, in San Francisco. You have a beautiful city, but it's pricey.
Flag Fri Jan 10, 2014
Have a fantastic New Year to you, your family, love ones, and all my fellow agents here.

Sharing my top 10:

1. Drink plenty of water
2. Sleep 7 hours or more
3. Walk 10-30 minutes daily
4. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about
5. Forget the past, make peace with it so that it won't spoil the present
6. Smile and laugh more
7. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...
8. Life is too short. Don't hate, but forgive and love
9. Do the right thing
10. Be grateful to your one ones and friends.
Flag Tue Dec 31, 2013
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Mon Dec 30, 2013
You write more about how bad agents are than your needs - I don't "buy" your explanation.
0 votes
Why would I tell you our needs. You are not our realtor. And I don;t think that you are a very nice person do be so jaded.
Flag Mon Dec 30, 2013
John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Mon Dec 30, 2013
Alan and Lance - this guy is an arbitration service hawking for business, this isn't a real question.
0 votes
Sorry you don't like my email address. Clearly you are unaware that arbitrators cannot be selected by parties. Advertising is pointless, as it destroys one's neutrality. My email address is my email address -- I had hoped to receive comments related to our next major home purchase in San Francisco, and am horrified that you would take my posting as anything other than what it was. You should be ashamed of yourself for hurling such accusations at BUYERS!! I think your comments more or less prove my point.
Flag Mon Dec 30, 2013
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