Home Buying in 10001>Question Details

Robert10001, Both Buyer and Seller in 10001

I've had property in other places in the US. How come all the agents I find here only work for the seller. Good when I'm selling...not when

Asked by Robert10001, 10001 Thu Feb 4, 2010

I'm buying I been going to open houses for almost a year. I probably seen over 200 apts. When I don't want the apartment they are selling they want to take me to other ones. I ask if they represent me and they so no. In other places the agent had to work for me if I hired them. Why not in nyc.

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You would be surprised how often I hear this comment. I represent a lot of out of state and foreign buyers. Many of them have visited open houses and met several agents prior to meeting me or they’ve purchased in the city before. Although the agent may not be required to disclose their agency relationship (see the paragraph below for info on disclosure), the buyers who ask this question obviously want representation. Sellers hire a listing agent who is contracted to represent that seller. I firmly believe that all buyers should in turn hire an agent to represent and protect them. Buyer brokerage is a hot topic in the city right now. Historically, buyer brokerage wasn’t practiced in NYC. Even today, many agents feel they are to represent all sellers. I would encourage you to read my blog post here on Trulia about buyer brokerage, disclosure, etc. You may find it useful.

Other states require agency relationship disclosure and many have very strict governing bodies that monitor the actions of the agents in the state. The laws are very different in NYC than most anywhere else in the country. Specifically, the state of NY has an exception to disclosure requirements that I think is ridiculous. The law does not require disclosure if the buyer is purchasing anything that has more than 4 units. So, if you’re buying in a building that has 300 apartments, the agent is not required to tell you for whom he or she is working. I don’t think it should matter what you’re buying. I think the agent should disclose; therefore, full agency disclosure is part of my business protocol. Disclosure and agency relationships are also two topics that I’m very passionate about and I have taught agency for many years. I honestly believe that this exception to disclosure will disappear very soon. The result of eliminating the distinction between a 1-4 unit property and that 300 unit apartment building would be a more informed public.

In regard to finding a buyer’s agent, interview some agents. You may find an agent at an open house whom you like. You may not like the apartment; but do like the agent. Talk to him or her. Find out if they work with and represent buyers. Talk to them about their negotiating skills, their sales record, etc. Along with many of my colleagues here on Trulia, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you.

Further, if you would like more information on the forms of agency (Seller's agent, Buyer's agent, Dual agent, Dual agent with designated sales agents), please don't hesitate to contact me. Dual Agency is the most misunderstood form of agency. It can happen by walking into an open house... Sometimes the agent doesn't know it. Sometimes the buyer doesn't know it. That's when it's important to know about express agency and implied agency.

Best of luck to you.

John R. Wuertz
Vice President, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
One more thing... Once you hire an agent to work for you, he or she is to work for you no matter to what properties you're taken. If the property is listed by the same broker (company) that your agent is from, it's called dual agency. Some agents handle this well, some don't. But once you have established an agency relationship of buyer broker, the agent cannot go backwards. They represent you. In dual agency they represent both buyer and seller (even if it's not their personal listing) simply because the broker (company) represents both parties. The full range of fiduciary responsibilities is impossible in this relationship. In other words, full disclosure and undivided loyalty are not possible. The agent cannot favor one side over the other. The agent also cannot disclose anything about the seller to the buyer or about the buyer to the seller that would reduce or minimize either side's negotiating strength. In other words, the agent is not permitted to tell the seller the top amount the buyer is willing to pay AND cannot tell the buyer how low the seller will go. In this case, the agent is only able to ADVISE, not share.

Among other ways, dual agency can happen unknowingly when an unrepresented buyer walks into an open house. It really all comes down to what the belief and/or expectation of the buyer is in regard to the relationship. That's why I feel it's better to disclose. An implied agency is created by the words or actions of either party. If agency is not addressed, the buyer may believe that the agent is representing his best interests as well and the agent may not believe that to be the case. This can get tricky.

Again, Good Luck.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
I agree with Joseph 100%.

I'm sorry Robert, but I don't know how you ever found over 200 apartments in a period of 12 months that you thought you would purchase. When I work with serious, motivated buyers who have defined buying needs, I have difficult time finding them dozen apartments. Not because I’m lazy to put in time finding them, but because there aren’t enough quality listings in any specific search to show.
Maybe I'm wrong when I make the following assumption. To me it doesn't seem like you qualified your needs by price, neighborhood, building type, needs vs. wants, etc…
Today, brokers work harder than they ever used. When I take up new clients, sellers or buyers I make sure that when I put in my time and effort to help them that we are both on the same page and working towards a mutual goal. Time is money and this is a serious business.
Everyone who replied to your question is probably wondering, out of over 200 apartments you previewed have you submitted any offers?
Good luck with your search. Remember that there is no such thing as a PERFECT apartment, even $10,000,000 go through renovations and upgrades. One of these day’s you’ll have to pull the trigger
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 16, 2010
Just a quick thought here as so many others have given rather eloquent responses with regard to agency. You specifically, might not be able to find a buyer's broker because of your own question.

"...Seen over 200 apts... over the last year." That's a red flag to most agents/brokers. Everyone wants to find the "perfect" place. I'm just being honest with you when I say the amount of places you've seen will put off a lot of people. Mostly because it seems like you'd rather have a tour guide than a broker.

Bottom line, when someone views that much property and doesn't buy, they seem insincere as a buyer. In Manhattan there are plenty of buyers. Most don't take a year to make a decision.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 15, 2010
Wow. No wonder you brokers cant get your act together and you have the rep you do . You dont agree on so much stuff. one of you says only if its the agents listing and another one says if its the companys. one of you suggested a company that only does buyers. but the companys that do both are the better ones. and i noticed that person asked about selling roberts home. wassup with that if you only work with buyers? One of you acused robert of not being serious. what's wrong with him taking time to learn the market? At least he didnt ask you to "run around" with him. Another one on here said that NYC doesnt have writen "formalized buyer brokerage". i found out thats not true.
Some of you sound ok but your still saying things the others dont. Whos right? three of you sound like you might know your stuff.
I am getting ready to buy a condo. I was told by an agent at an open house that she could take me to other apartmnets but when i asked she said she works for the sellers. I had trouble finding an agent who would work for me. i also ahve bought houses in two other states and i had someone working for me. one was good. one was not great but ok. I thnk that one was new at it. Dianne one house was in CA and that was the good agent.
i finally found a broker here to work for me. i signed a contract with him saying he would represent me when we started looking at places. I just signed a contract last week for my new home. im very excited and had a great broker. but it was like finding a needle in a hay stack. keep looking Robert and you will find someone to work with. just be careful
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
This is a very good question and you have some very good answers below. Just to make it concise and simple, when you go to an open house, that agent represents the seller. But if that property is not what you are looking for, and that agent offers to work with you to find a property that is suitable, then they would be working with you as a buyer's agent. You have already ruled out the open house property, therefore if they take you on as a buyer (offer to work with you) they are your buyer's agent. In NYC, we do not have formalizaed buyer brokerage in the sense that we do not have buyers sign a buyer brokerage agreement the way many other states and even other parts of NY State do.
I would strongly suggest you work with an experienced agent rather than go the open house route on your own. Just as sellers have an agent, it is much to your advantage to have a professional in your corner. I would suggest you click the "Find a Pro" tab above and search for someone who seems knowledgeable and then call and see if you "click."

Jenet Levy,
Halstead Property, LLC
212 381-4268
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010

An agent at an open house does have an agency relationship with the seller. However, a buyer can ask the listing agent to represent him also as a buyer's broker...at that property and/or others. Provided that both the buyer and seller agree in writing to dual agency, the same agent CAN represent both sides in a transaction. Be sure that you are comfortable with the risks that accompany dual agency and that the agent knows the dividing line of what is and isn't appropriate.

In any situation, you should have a conversation with the agent you ask to take you to see properties. Without agreeing on buyer's agency, they may treat you as a customer (instead of a client) and only be assisting you but not working for you. It's always best to be certain.

John R. Wuertz
Vice President, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 15, 2010
Robert, to answer your question....like the weather, change and common sense seem to move from the west to the east....here in NY, it seems we are the last to become part of the modern world.

Although I am in Long Island, I will be happy to make a referral for you to a buyer's broker.

That having been said, I see you are also selling. I assume you are already listed with someone, as putting your current property on the market first would be the most intelligent way to go. That Realtor should be representing YOU in your purchase. It also makes the deal go easier to have your sale and purchase coordinated by the same person.

Let me know if you would like a referral...Gail@GailGladstone.com
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010

I think you did a good think starting to "feel out the market' by going to open houses and seeing what was out there and getting a good sense of what really mattered to you...neighborhood, size, views, amenities, closeness to a subway/park/grocery store..... BEFORE starting to work with a buyers broker.

The more informed you are as a buyer, the easier it is for your broker to help you.
Many times, it takes time for a buyer to understand the Manhattan market as it is quite different from the rest of the US. Doing your own research is always a good thing!

As for who is representing you, I think it is pretty clear from the answers below. In NYS we have something called an Agency Disclosure Form that will help to clarify who is working for who.
A buyer's agent negotiates the purchase of a home at a price and terms acceptable to the buyer. A buyer's agent also has fiduciary duties to the buyer, among others undivided loyalty, confidentiality and full disclosure.
To find the latest updated New York State Disclosure Form you can go to http://www.dos.state.ny.us
Of cause your broker should be able to provide this to you.

The Department of State has released the new Agency Disclosure Forms, which all brokers will be required to use in connection with all residential real estate transactions (including co-ops and condominiums) beginning on January 1, 2011.

Congratulations on finding your new place.

Filippa Edberg
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
I prefer to be a Buyer's agent. it involves far mor interaction with the client, searching for the "perfect" propetry is very rewarding, and when you find the right house, in the selected location, for the price your client can afford, win win situation. Much more work is involved, but in the end when the client takes possesion of their home, you know your job was well done.

Anna Hershey
Prudential California Realty
La Jolla, California 92037
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 2, 2010

Most agents in NYC are seller's agents whose legal fiduciary responsibility is to the seller. We are buyer's brokers who represent buyers. We have no conflicts of interest and are not given incentive in any way to drive buyers to specific properties.

I am an expert deal finder and a trained negotiator. If you are seeking assistance (at no charge to you), please give me a call at 212-545-0729 or email me at dlee@lgfairmont.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 2, 2010
Agents can represent the buyer's side or the seller's side. If you are coming by yourself to a broker's listing his/her fudiciary responsibiltiy is to the seller. He/She does not work for you. It is not their job to advise you. That's why you need a broker to act only on your behalf and to make sure you are getting the best deal possible and that you are fully educated about any possible purchase. You might not be aware of certain things that would help you save thousands. I work a great deal with buyers. But the first question I would ask you is after looking at all those properties and for all this time why do you think you haven't found something to buy?

Michael Davis
Halstead Property
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 12, 2010
Sorry Robert...downstate NY is probably the most backward place in the real estate world. Although i have been doing buyer representation for 10 years...it only first started around here 2 or 3 years ago...like the weather, we are the last to get anything.

There are many Realtors who are representing the buyer and that is exactly who you should be working with.

If you need a referral to someone in your area who will look out for your interests, let me...glad to do it. gail@gailgladstone.com
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
Gettin a listing is a win win situation,The agent spends money advertising and most of the time, waits for buyer's agent to bring a potential buyer, no matter who brings the buyer, he collects his commission. Wth buyers, you could spend many month , and hours of searching until you find, or not, the right property, and in the end they may opt not to purchase, or go with another agent. There is less certainty there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 5, 2010
I said that I'd post when I purchased an aparrtment. The broker I hired found apartmnts that I didn't find on my own. He took me to about 12 different places in about 2 or 3 weeks. Some of them I found and some of htme he found. I liked a couple a them. I picked one and made an offer. My broker negotiated the deal and then helped me with the board applicaiton. That was alot of paperwork. I just found out today that I was accepted. My lawyer is going to find out the date that i'm going to close on it.

I have to say that some of the advice on here is really good. Some of it was real crap. But i'm happy because I hired a great broker and i'm buying a pretty nice place in Tribeca. A three bedroom place with a lot of windows, all new appliances, and great floorplan. The building has a gym and pool!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 5, 2010
Usually brokers prefer to represent sellers because they control the deal and have buyers come to them. Our firm focuses on buyers, specifically investment buyers. There are a lot of brokers who focus on buyers. Just have to interview them etc to make sure you get the right one.

Wei min
Web Reference: http://castle-avenue.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 24, 2010
Joe and Alen, no need to insult me. I saw about 15 more properties in the past 4 weeks. It isnt hard to find stuff to look at. I wasn't working with a broker because I wanted to learn the market and I'm glad I took my time because prices dropped alot since I first started looking. If I had chose a broker like you guys last year, you would have tried to talk me into buying then and not waiting. Prices were higher and I would have lost money. I didn't want to waste anybodys time cause I wasnt ready.
Since prices are lower now and look like they stopped dropping alot and I know more about what I can get, I'm ready to buy. Last week, I chose a broker and I told tell him exactly what I like and don't like. He said I'm one of his most informed buyers. I guess I did the right thing and learned about the market first. How many people did you let make a purchase at the high point in the market or did you tell them to wait because you knew what the market would do?
I'll post when I buy an apartment because I got alot of direct messages from other buyers on here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 1, 2010
Thank you Alen. Someone had to say it and I did. And yes, I believe others would be interested to know if any offers were put forth.

Lastly, I also agree with you Alen, regarding the amount of available property based on specific criteria such as location, price, size, amenities, pets, etc. No matter what inventory is out there, the number of true options dwindle quickly when specific criteria is applied.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 16, 2010
An agent can work for the seller at an open house and represent you when showing you other properties.

Every agent in NY State is under the same license law, but in different areas the business is practiced differently.

You should be able to find a buyer broker to work with you.

The Multiple Listing Service is not as strong in Manhattan as it is in most of the country, so a lot of the agents may be just showing you in-house or their own listings, If it is their own listing, they already ahve an agreement with the seller. If it is an in-house listing all the agents are under one broker, so it would also be an agreement or it would become a dual agency situation.

Good luck in your search.

Kevin O'Shea
Licensed Real Estate Broker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 13, 2010
Hi Robert....

Let me break this down to you in more Technical terms as in Clarification of Agency Agreement, which some agents may o rmay not be familiar with (but will be very soon). Also please keep in mind that I am talking about REBNY- Real Estate Board of New York, I have no idea what practices NAR keeps.

(1) You are a Seller’s (Landlord’s) Agent when:

• You show a buyer a PDE listing whether you are the listing agent, the selling agent or both.

(2) You are a Buyer’s (Tenant’s) Agent when:

• You show a buyer another firm’s listing.

(3) You need to be a Dual Agent when:

• You show a buyer a PDE listing and the buyer requests that you represent them as well.

• You show a buyer a PDE listing, then show the buyer another firm’s listing and then show the buyer a PDE listing and the buyer requests to be represented by you.

(4) You need to be a Dual Agent with Designated Agents when:

• You show a buyer a PDE listing and the buyer requests to be represented by another (designated) sales agent from PDE.

Mandatory Disclosure

(1) You must verbally disclose your agency relationship when:

• You are acting as an agent for the seller, buyer, landlord or tenant.

(2) You must disclose your agency relationship in writing using the New York Disclosure Form and obtain consent from the buyer and seller when:

• You are a dual agent.
• You are dual agents with designated agents.
• You are the agent of a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant in a building containing four (4) or less units.

(3) If a buyer or seller refuses to sign the New York Disclosure Form:

• You must prepare an affidavit stating that the New York Disclosure Form was presented and the buyer or seller acknowledge in writing that they refused to sign the document.

(4) If the seller’s agent is conducting an open house in a building containing four (4) or less units:

• The New York Disclosure Form is not required to be signed by a potential buyer until substantive dialog ensues between the seller’s agent and the buyer.

PDE is the firm I'm associated with, thats why you I'm sure that as an example.

I hope this helps you and everyone else understand these policies.

~Alen Moshkovich
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
Robert, Sorry but I have to clear up something Joseph just stated.
If you want to have a buyer broker represent you exclusively there is usually no charge or cost to the buyer in NY (though there may be some who work differently?) as the the buyer's broker/agent is paid from the buyer's side of the commission that was agreed to by the seller at the time of listing. What Joseph may be referring to is an agreement signed between the buyer and the broker/agent where there is a commitment to working exclusively with this agent/broker for an agreed upon length of time and if the buyer were then to buy a property that was shown to them and not use that broker/agent that they would still owe them that same commission.That type of agreement is always used when there is a rebate involved..
For more details Please take a look at the blog I just posted here: Everything you want to know (and more) about using a buyer's broker. Jolie's 27 answers to questions about Buyer Brokerage! http://www.trulia.com/blog/jolie_muss/2010/02/everything_you…
Jolie Muss
Licensed Real Estate Broker & Brokerage
Office: 212 721-3301
Email: jolie@joliemuss.com
Website: http://joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
To be clear, all agents and broker associates have the ability to works as a buyers broker. The concept of agency is one that should be discussed with a potential client at the first substantive contact (usually the first meeting) and prior to viewing any property.

Agency agreements can be signed multiple times and for various properties. Bottom line here. If a customer truly wants a buyers broker with no other agency, they should be prepared to discuss paying the agent/broker so there is no misunderstandind as to whom the broker represents. In Manhattan agency is usually pretty clear and straightforward. Make sure you understand before you sign on the line which is dotted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 8, 2010
Buyer agents do work as a buyers agent in the marketplace. You should explore the real estate agents websites and interview the agents the offer buyer agency services. During your exploration process with the agents you are considering it would be helpful if you prepare the questions and concerns that are important to you in the housing search. This will allow you and the agent to establish a course of action. You want to build a team to help you in your housing search. Ask what the transaction history has been with the agent over the past year. What clients have they represented and do you feel that this experience fits your needs. When someone is selling a home they interview different agents and agencies before they sign a listing contract. When working with a buyers agent it should be the same process and questions asked on how the agent can best fulfill your needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 7, 2010
All agents are required by law to disclose who they are working for (this is called their "agency"). There have some big lawsuits and big lost commissions because agents have failed to do this.

For coops and condos, agents need only disclose their agency orally. For other properties the disclosure must be in writing.

Below is a handy link to the form published by New York State Division of Licensing Services.

If you want a buyer's agent, have the agent provide and sign this form. The form describes several different types of real estate agents and many agents play different roles with different clients.


Karla Harby
Vice President
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Charles Rutenberg Realty, LLC
127 East 56th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 688-1000 ext. 383
(917) 365-0876 cell and text messages
(212) 688-1919 fax
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 6, 2010
It sounds like they may be only showing you their own listings. For full buyer representation your can work with an exclusive buyer's broker or agent. I am a NYS licensed independent broker and work exclusively Manhattan buyers and there is no extra cost to you and can actually help you realize a savings if we work together exclusively. Are you also selling a Manhattan home?
Jolie Muss
Licensed Real Estate Broker & Brokerage
331 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023
Office: 212 721-3301
Website: http://joliemuss.com
Email: jolie@joliemuss.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
You can get the representation you speak of in NYC. Ask for Buyer Agency. In a buyer broker agency relationship, the broker represents the buyer as a client, rather than treating the buyer as merely a customer. Buyer agency allows the broker to provide services to buyers that might otherwise be inappropriate, such as assistance in negotiating the terms of the contract to the buyer's best advantage. You obviously need and want advice, something the seller's broker cannot provide. Seller's agents are cautioned not to assist buyers in any way that might be construed as creation of an agency relationship by implication. A buyer agency agreement gives the buyer a degree of representation that is possible only in a fiduciary relationship.
Web Reference: http://www.clovelake.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
Dear Robert,

While I cannot speak for the brokers who won't show you other properties, I know many good brokers who will.

I am a buyer's broker and would be happy to work with you, showing you my properties and any others you may wish to see.

Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Ross Ellis
Licensed Real Estate Agent
Halstead Property, LLC
770 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10065
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 5, 2010
Hello Robert.

You may also find a buyer's broker to negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in the transaction.
It is also recommended cause the buyer's broker knows the market, and other technicalities that the seller's broker will bring to the table.

I have transacted deals where I was the buyer's broker, and since in 99% of cases my services do not cost a thing to my clients, they find it extremely useful and helpful to use a buyer's broker.

For more info, please contact me directly and I will be happy to assist you in your search.


Joseph Minian. President / Broker
Luxury Dwelling, Inc
Licensed Real Estate Brokerage firm
Office: 646-344-1098
Cell: 917-608-4103
Fax: 646-344-1098
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Robert: I am a buyer's agent and only represent buyers. Feel free to contact me if you like. Also, please go to my blog below where you will find a link to the NYState Department's disclosure form describing the buyer and seller agency relationships in New York. I think it will shed light on your question.
Sylvia Hueston
Charles Rutebernberg Realty

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
We wear two hats here. When you represent the seller you represent the seller. If an agent takes you to see other properties for which they are not the selling agent they will be representing you. Some agents here do not like to work with buyers. I prefer to work for both buyers and sellers and would be happy to help you out as your representative if you are a serious buyer. Reading that you've been going to open houses for almost a year sounds like you are not. Would be happy to discuss.

Nancy Brennan
The Corcoran Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Why not contact a few realty offices, interview as many agents as you want--choose the one you like best--ask the agent to expalin the NYS Agency Disclosure Form-- once explained ask to establish a buyer agency relationship.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
it is hard to believe that, nyc has seller and buyers agent. You may want to pick buyers agent and tell here or him what you want and they will work for you only. If you will like to work with a buyer's agent call me leila 9174780557 or lmwangi@stribling.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
WoW, this is really surprising to hear. Over here in California, not at all the case. We take them to any house they want to see and fully represent them. You learn something new everyday!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Buyer's agents will schedule private showings for you and you don't have to go to open houses. Then the agent will be working SOLELY for you, unless you want to purchase a property where your agent happens to be the exclusive listing agent!
I would be happy to help!
I specialize in buyer education and NYC is different from ANYWHERE else in the NATION!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
You need to find a broker (eg, me) who is willing to run around with you to open houses, showings etc. of apartments that you haven't seen on your own. A committed broker's buyer will be happy to work with you if they are confident that they will be able to find a place that you will like.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
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