If our broker is a realtor- are we obligated to use him as our real estate agent or can we just use him for the loan?

Asked by Vern, New York, NY Fri Dec 14, 2012

We are first time home buyers and we have a question. We have a real estate agent (for one week- he's been extremely helpful) but he is unable to get the exact loan we want, so we've found a broker who also is a realtor. It's obvious he wants us to use him as his realtor, but we like the realtor we've been talking to. Is it frowned upon to use someone as a broker and someone else as your agent? Since we're new to this we don't know what the proper etiquette is.Please help!

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The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Dec 15, 2012
It’s totally normal for your Realtor to not be able to find a loan that works for you – that’s why Realtors frequently use loan brokers to locate loans they otherwise would not know about. I refer all of my buyers to a competent loan broker. As a Realtor, I would NEVER refer to a loan broker who could do the loan but then, as a realtor, try to steal my client.

That’s a clear violation of the code of ethics.

As stated below by Laura, it’s also a conflict of interest for a loan broker to provide your loan AND act as your Realtor – while it can make the process easier for the broker, it also removes some of the protections you have as a buyer when working with both a realtor and separate loan broker.

My recommendation? Use a competent loan broker for the loan and the realtor of your choosing for the purchase.
2 votes
John Dutra, , Fremont, CA
Sat Dec 15, 2012
I have never seen a good realtor/loan officer combo. I have seen great realtors and I have seen fantastic loan officers, but when you put them together what you usually get is a so-so realtor and at best an average loan officer.

I have been a banker, broker and a correspondent lender, but now have all three where I work which helps my client greatly.

I can provide funding to any of the loans we underwrite for (banker/correspondent) which helps when it comes time to fund the loan and underwriting for a majority of our lenders gives my clients nearly all the choices they will need when it comes to the loan they want. If not, I am able to broker the loan to help meet their needs.

It is completely fair and right to let the realtor know that you truly appreciate their realtor skills but that you have a lender of your choice that you want to work with. Don't be shy - this is the biggest purchase of your life and you have the right to the best representation from both sides.
1 vote
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Fri Dec 14, 2012
Your loan broker should be pleased that he can provide you with a quality loan product for which he will be financially rewarded.

Ask him why, given that you already have a Realtor with whom you have a satisfactory relationship, you should dump that Realtor to use this loan broker as your real estate agent.

The answer may help you to decide who this person is really working for – you or himself.
1 vote
Laura Coffey, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Fri Dec 14, 2012
I would NEVER use anyone that does both loans and real estate sales. It is a complete conflict of interest and usually you get taken advantage of without knowing.
If somebody is wearing two hats they usually know each half ass. They don't excel at one.
I am Realtor, I specialize in selling residential real estate. Yes, I know about loans but I know enough to help my clients buy homes.
I also look out for them. Make sure the loan they get is best for them and they are not being charged to much. I also make sure the lender is performing per the contract and staying on task.
I strongly advise you choose one to be your Realtor and one to be your lender.
Web Reference:  http://www.LauraCoffey.com
1 vote
Roland Vinya…, Agent, Sprakers, NY
Fri Dec 14, 2012
If you are happy with him, stick with him and tell the mortgage broker that you are very loyal people and will stick with him to get your loan. And, if he appreciates loyalty, he will understand why you want to stay with the same agent. He saw you first, has been working hard for you, established a good rapport, and so on.

But no law requires you to stay with another that you have not signed a contract with. You are free to go where you please - but I see no reason to do that in this case.
1 vote
The issue is this- my fiancees parents are helping us with the loan- through their very trusted broker/realtor. But we've been working with my sisters realtor. They feel it would be offensive if we only used their broker for the loan and not as a realtor. I know legally, we're not obligated, I just want to know if it is generally frowned upon to do this. My goal is to make my fiancees parents feel comfortable with the decision either way
Flag Fri Dec 14, 2012
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Fri Dec 28, 2012
Hi Vern,

You've been given good advice leaning toward the importance of taking a course of action that will protect you from a "conflict of interest" by using one agent for two very different services. We strongly agree that you should not use the same agent.

Let's look at this from a practical perspective and read between the lines. You have an agent that appears to be wearing two hats at the same time. A simple question of which is his day job and which is his night job? Does he have a specialty? Which one is his full time position? What are his other jobs?

The bottom line is that the level of service you receive could be compromised.....there is risk involved when considering a real estate agent that is less than full time. Those of us that have been in the business a while can truly see the differenct between full and part time agents.

If you are OK with receiving less than full service......go for it, but you deserve much more! Since you met this individual as a loan specialist, the best course of action may be to leave it at that.

Good luck,

0 votes
Terry Farnsw…, Agent, Lisle, IL
Fri Dec 28, 2012
I agree with the answers below - I don't know that I'd want any "one" person in complete control of both the mortgage and the representation. There is an inherent "check and balance" by having two separate parties handle the different aspects of the transaction. If you like and trust your current agent, I would simply tell the broker "thank you", but you are more comfortable and obligated using the agent who you started off with.

There is no reason why he should "take offense" to that, as it's perfectly understandable that you are already working with someone and have developed a good relationship with that person.
0 votes
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Fri Dec 28, 2012
No, you don't have to use the same agent for both loan and purchase. I would advise you not to - I don't know anyone who would does loans and real estate sales together and does it well. Be careful because the mortgage broker also may be promising something he won't be able to deliver...
Web Reference:  http://talisrealestate.com
0 votes
Jeremy Irvin, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Thu Dec 27, 2012
It's up to you, however I have never seen a loan broker be a good real estate agent and vice versa. It's probably not a smart idea though. If a person wants to handle every angle of a transaction, more than likely a person may not be working in your best interest. I am not claiming this is the case though.
0 votes
Claudia Mull…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Fremont, CA
Wed Dec 26, 2012
As a long agent, I do not see how a loan agent dueling as a real estate agent can do either job, at the same time, well.

Lending is complicated. Selling a property is complicated. Doing both could be considered a confilict of interest (which I cannot see why it would not be considered that).

Lenders are specialists.
Real estate agents are specialists.

Give yourself the best of both!
0 votes
Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Sun Dec 16, 2012
You like the first agent, stick wth that person and use that mortgage broker for your loan only if you wish. It's unliley that the mortgage broker can excel in both financing and selling real estate and I dont know which came first for that person. However, if you are feeling the ;pressure I might seek an alternative mortgage broker because greed might be kicking in and fees might be hyped that you are unaware of making your closing costs higher than it need tto be.
0 votes
Juliana Lee, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Sun Dec 16, 2012
You should always just pick the best real estate agent to be your real estate agent. Don't let the loan determine who your real estate agent is. If you have been happy with your real estate agent stick with him/her. If your real estate agent knows you are counting on her, she will make you one of her highest priorities and deliver you the best purchase results.

Banks, loan companies, and mortgage brokers have been changing their rules constantly. The one who was offering the best loan may no longer be doing that. It would also be rare that the best real estate agent is also able to provide the best loan. If you are in a competitive bidding situation for a property, being pre-qualified by a loan agent who is trusted by both your real estate agent and the seller's real estate agent can be a significant advantage.

With the advice of your real estate agent there may be times when you want to be pre-qualified by two different lenders. The "trusted" loan agent may not be able to deliver as good of a loan but will be willing to be in a back up situation and jump in it the other loan agent doesn't deliver.

Normally a loan agent is recommended by a real estate agent when they deliver competitive loans and can be counted on to do what they say they will do. The real estate agent doesn't want a purchase to fail because a loan agent doesn't deliver.

I have a web page with basic information about mortgages at

Juliana Lee, MBA LLB
Cell 650-857-1000
Top 3 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty

Over 20 years experience
Over 1000 homes sold in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties
Web Reference:  http://julianalee.com
0 votes
Sally Blaze, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Fri Dec 14, 2012
Dear Vern:

Wow! Are you in New York? Is it cold? We think it's cold here in the San Francisco Bay Area...about 32 degrees last night and a high of 55 today...Anyway, back to your question!

It is your decision on who to use for what service. I appreciate clients who are up front with me and tell me who they will be using for their lender, realtor, etc. And I tell my clients that they are putting a team together in the purchase of their home, and it is the responsibility of all the team members to work together to get you the best home, at the best price, with the best terms. Oftentimes, my clients will ask for recommendations on inspectors, contractors, title companies, etc. I provide them with these contacts, but recognize it is ultimately the clients choice on who they hire.

Good luck in the purchase of your first home...in San Jose? Hope you enjoy our weather!

Sally Blaze
DRE 01856137
0 votes
charles butt…, Agent, san jose, CA
Fri Dec 14, 2012
Thank you for your question, Vern:

As the previous responders said, you are free to use anyone that you wish.

It is best to discuss this matter up front with each one, and let one know that you want him to do the loan for you and the other to represent you on the purchase of the house.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
American Realty
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
0 votes
Lamson Dang…, Agent, San Jose, CA
Fri Dec 14, 2012
Dear Vern,

Great question! I think you got the answer. Again, you can use service from anyone you wish. You're not required to use both services from one person. Just let the Mortgage Broker know that you would like to work with your known Realtor.
Best wishes,

Lamson Dang
Web Reference:  http://lamsondang.com
0 votes
Jon Nichols, Agent, Framingham, MA
Fri Dec 14, 2012
You are not obligated to use anyone. You should not be forced into working with any vendor in the process of purchasing your home. If you have a buyer broker, they can recommend people that they have experience using, but ultimately it is up to you to decide the vendors you want to work with.
0 votes
So if you were a broker/realtor, you would not be offended if somebody only used you for brokerage purposes? Does this happen often?
Flag Fri Dec 14, 2012
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