Isn't the buyer's agent motivated to get me to buy the highest priced place I can?

Asked by Kirsten, 10038 Tue Jan 5, 2010

After all, they are also making commission points on it, so why would they try to negotiate down the price for me or get me a better deal? I know that good ones do these things, but how do I know I have a good one? I remember with apartment brokers they always tried to push me to the top of my rental range and even over it, so I am still wary.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:

Answers

43
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Jan 6, 2010
Kirsten,
All great advice below. I would add that a good agent is more interested in getting the right place for their client whether that particular unit is at the bottom or top of their price range. A good agent is more interested in having a very happy client at the end of the transaction than one where they squeezed a few extra dollars out of the deal. It has to do with short term vs. long-term goals. I would much rather have a very happy client who will be a source of repeat and referral business, our life-line, than make slightly more on the one transaction. This really is a relationship business more than anything else. When I work with a buyer or a seller my only interest is their best interests. That is the sign of a true professional and an ethical agent and that is what you should look for in a buyer's agent. Not all operate this way unfortunately.

Hope this helps.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
jlevy@halstead.com
212 381-4268
2 votes
Le Green Sch…, Agent, Anderson Mill, TX
Thu Jan 19, 2012
Well, What a Provative Question!
I think you can find your answer among the ones from New York agents. I do want to say "Thanks," though, because I learned a lot about real estate agents in New York, and I am so glad you provoked all the interesting answers.

(I'm a Texan who loves Manhattan!)

Le Green Schubert, GRI
1 vote
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Some of the properties may be priced aggressively, because they may actually want to create a bidding war, in order to attain a greater sale price.

Anna
1 vote
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Not at all--a good buyer's agent will help you find a place suitable for your lifestyle and wants and needs--however, do make sure the agent is aware of your criteria. A good agent will negotiate the best price possible for you and should discuss recently closed similar properties in the immediate area; he/she will strive to meet your needs--after all don't we all want to be remembered and recommended to others should the opportunity arise. Choose your agent with care--make sure you like each other as you will be spending some time together.

Anna
1 vote
Kathe van Ho…, Agent, Mission Viejo, CA
Tue Jan 5, 2010
You are right, the 'good ones' will be looking out for your best interest and getting the highest price/commission should not be our goal. As a Realtor it is our duty to find you the best home for the best price. Most Realtors work on referrals and repeat business so it is really in our best interest to make you feel confident in your home choice, price and terms(and not feel pressured or duped). It is also our responsiblity to do our due dilligence to provide you all the information and comps you need to make that informed decision on the home and price and negotiate a fair market price for you. My advice to you is to make sure you hire a Realtor through a referral- ask those you know and respect who they have used and if they were satisfied. And, just as owners interview and "hire" a listing agent, feel free to call some Realtors and interview them to be your "buyers agent". Stay loyal to them and they will work very hard to get you the best deal. Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.kathehomes.com
1 vote
Dom Pascual, , New York County, NY
Sat Feb 25, 2012
Hi Kirsten,

A buyer's agent by law is obligated to get the best price and deal for the buyer. The role of a good buyer's agent is to assess the buyer's budget and find the best apartment based on many factors not just price.If a buyer wants a lower a price, then the buyer's agent must ask the seller and negotiate for it. A buyer's agent gets paid only when there is a deal. If the buyer and seller cannot agree on a price, then there is no deal or no commission.

DOM PASCUAL, J.D., ESQ.
ASSOCIATE REAL ESTATE BROKER
"We combine excellence with intelligence."
Green Homes NYC
1140 Broadway
New York, NY, 10001
Cell: (631) 741-2764
E-mail: dompascual@gmail.com
Blog: http://dompascual.wordpress.com/
Listings: http://dompascual.postlets.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dompascualesq
Facebook Profiles: Dom Pascual; Manhattan Broker
0 votes
Lindsey Newm…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Jan 19, 2012
Hi Kirsten,

The first thing I would say is that whomever your rental agents were, they were extremely short-sighted. Every experienced rental agent knows that you are a potential future apartment buyer. Therefore it is in their best interest to help find you a decent apartment at a great price, so you would refer them to your friends, and even return to them in the future to buy.

To all buyers, I make this same recommendation: It is in your best interest to have your own representation in the form of a Buyer's Real Estate Agent. The overwhelming majority of sellers hire Real Estate Brokers to market and advertise their property, in order to get them the highest price possible. Just like any major investment you make in your lifetime, you would definitely benefit by having your own Buyer's Agent to help you understand comparable apartment prices, value per square foot in the neighborhood you are interested in, and presenting offers and an application when one is accepted.

A great Real Estate Sales Agent works in much the same way. It is in my best interest to get to know you, what is the most important criteria to you, and to show you apartments that fit your price range. If I save you money, in the long run, a referral from you goes a lot further than me making an extra few hundred dollars. Keep in mind that the difference in a commission that is $10,000.00 higher in price is roughly $600.00. In most cases, this $600.00 figure is split between both the Seller's and Buyer's agencies, and then it is split between the agencies and the agents. If the split is 50% between the agency and the individual agent, then I as a sales agent would make the whopping sum of $150.00 for pointing you to an apartment that was $10,000.00 more than what you wanted to spend. Also keep in mind that a slightly higher priced apartment, in a buyer's market (which we are in now), is likely to sell for less. Furthermore, any reputable Buyer's Agent would let you know that $10,000.00 amortized over the course of a 30 year fixed rate mortgage is hardly enough money that is worth losing your dream home. So as you can see, it is in the best interest of a specialized Buyer's Agent to help you save time and money.

I hope this roundup of reasons to buy via a specialized Real Estate Buyer's Agent is helpful. If you should have additional questions, feel free to get in touch with me.

Happy Apartment Hunting,
Lindsey Newman - Senior Real Estate Sales Associate
0 votes
Kirsten, Home Buyer, 10038
Thu Jan 19, 2012
Thanks, Le Green. I guess I should probably have removed this question because it's now been two years! But you are right that it has provoked a real interesting discussion over the past 24 months and when a new answer like yours pops up it is fun to return and see a new perspective. Also hoping that it helps other buyers who are asking the same questions I used to.
0 votes
David Cooper, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Mar 24, 2011
I would hope you would ask for refrences from the agent you are using, and call them up. I would also hope the agent you use is highly recommended from someone you know and trust. I would also ask for the potfolio of rfecently completed sales, looking for the ratio of asking price vs. sold price from the particular agent. This should give you enough info to hire and trust the agent to work for your best interests.

David Cooper. Las Vegas Foreclosure House Investor. Cash Flow. Call for FReee List +1-7024997037
davidcooper@lasvegaswinner.org not a real estate agent
0 votes
Ryan Smith, Agent, Murrieta, CA
Thu Mar 24, 2011
Hello Kristen, unfortunately it's all about the money for some agents. I love negotiating the best deal for my buyers and sellers.

I would ask agents you're meeting with for a list of testimonials from their previous clients. This is give you a good feel for what type of agent they are. Ask your family or friends if they have an agent they would recommend.

Best of luck!
0 votes
Gerard Carney, Agent, Spring Hill, FL
Thu Mar 24, 2011
First of all it is not any agents job to negotiate down for anyone, we put in the offer you tell us to put in to the seller. We in no way try to inflate or deflate any price set by a seller, nor do we try to make a buyer pay the most they can. There is no arm twisting here, we are agents, we make sure the sales process moves forward, that time matters are met and the obligations are done in a timely manner. We work in a proper, professional and fair manner for both sides of the sale. If you feel that an agent is pressuring you to offer more than the asking price, then you may want to look for a different agent. You make the final decision as buyer as to what you will offer, the seller makes the final decision as to what they will sell their home or property for. We are more than sales agents that serve for the legal completion of the contract.
0 votes
Kirsten, Home Buyer, 10038
Thu Mar 24, 2011
Thanks for continuing to answer my question as it will help other buyers, but I thought I'd point out that I asked this question over a year ago before I found a great buyer's agent and I want everyone to know I no longer feel the way I did then!
0 votes
Allan Erps, Agent, Pearl River, NY
Thu Mar 24, 2011
That is a bit of a twisted statement! The hard working Buyers Agent should be showing you what you want to see and negotiating the best deal he or she can for you. The name of our business is "referrals"! If we do well for you then that information gets passed along.
0 votes
Amy Rea, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Mar 24, 2011
If you don't have trust in your buyer's broker/agent, then your question makes perfect sense to me.

I'm sorry to hear this question. Of course we're in this business, most of us, for the money. But being in the business for the satisfaction of doing a great job in negotiating the price should be where your broker's mind should be for you to feel more comfortable.

I hope you find a way to get your broker in line with your mindset. Your broker should work as your negotiating mouthpiece. You should not be feeling like you are being taken to the cleaners.
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Thu Mar 24, 2011
When you review the net of difference between higher price AND lower price does not equate to $1000's could be just a mere few hundred dollars

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
Tony Lara, , New York, NY
Thu Mar 24, 2011
You're correct a buyer's agent should fight for you and negotiate and beat up the listing broker to get you the best price. I often say that real estate sales is a contact sport and to a large extent it is. We as agents/brokers have to stick our heads out for you the buyer. We have to not only relay the offer but I always sell my cleint, their finanical assets, background etc...I'll speak for myself, I try my best to stay within the price range that I'm given, if I have to go beyond it, the majority of the time I don't go too much. After the search has been exhausted and I speak with my client they will direct me to look for more expensive units or stay within the budget. At the end of the day I'm not buying you are, and ramming a more expensive unit to try and get a few thousand dollars more is not worth it. How would you know if the agent is on your side? He/she will listen to you, stay within the price range and within the area as best as possible. Feel free to contact me if I may be of service, and best of luck.

Tony Lara
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
tlara@crrnyc.com
0 votes
Rob, , New York, NY
Fri Jan 21, 2011
There are some excellent brokers in the list below Kristen. The most important points are:

1 - the buyer's broker has a fiduciary duty to work for you and get you the lowest possible price. This is a duty recognized by state law and any broker not performing in this manner can (and should ) lose their license.

2 - almost all transactions that reach the closing table have a buyer's broker involved with them. A good seller's agent knows that without a buyer's broker guiding through the process, most buyers are simply too skittish to consumate such a large purchase. Sellers and their brokers are typically willing to give a up a bit more on the asking price of a property in exchange for the comfort of knowing that all parties are well-informed and the deal is likely to close.

3 - Social networking sites allow our clients to give direct feedback on our work. Click the link below to see what my past clients have said about their experiences with me and feel free to call me or email if you have other questions.

Good luck in your search!

Rob
0 votes
Filippa Edbe…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Jan 20, 2011
Dear Kirsten,

I hope you have found your new home by now. Did you end up on Barrow Street? That is one of my favorite West Village streets as well. 2010 was a very good year to be a buyer in NY.

As I am sure you know by now: most real estate transactions in New York are co-broke. That means that the sellers broker and the buyers broker split the commission 50/50.

Your broker's job is to inform you and help you analyze the ever-changing New York real estate market, so that your decisions are the right ones.

The buyer's broker's goal is to get their buyer the best available property for the best possible price - in the buyers case this is usually the lowest possible price.

The seller's broker's goal is the get their seller the best possible price - in the seller's case, this is the highers possible price.

If you are working without a buyer's broker on your side, the sellers broker will just receive 100% of the total commission and the broker on the other side of the transaction is looking out for their client's best interest, not yours.

My advice to you, or anyone else who is looking to buy real estate in Manhattan, is to meet and interview a couple of brokers (preferably brokers that work in the neighborhood you are interested in) and see who you feel will best represent you. As a buyer this is a great deal for you, as you don't have to pay anything to get a professional to work with you and look after your best interest.

I am working primarily on the West side of Manhattan: West Village, Soho, the High Line Area, Chelsea, Flatiron. Always happy to meet with you and explain more in detail how I work as a buyer's broker.

Filippa Edberg
BOND NEW YORK
0 votes
LG Fairmont, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Sep 2, 2010
Kirsten, most brokers in New York live and work for referrals. As a buyer's agent, the quality of my work is quantified by the savings I can generate for my clients, thus leading to word of mouth and referrals. If I negotiate a $1M property down to $900k for you, you save $100k and (assuming a 3% co-brokerage) my earned commission goes from $30,000 down to $27,000. Plus you're working toward a price that is palatable for the buyer, the better you negotiate, the more likely the buyer will take the deal. $3,000 extra is a small amount compared to losing the whole $27,000 here.

If you are evaluating a buyer's agent the first thing you need to ask is if they also represent sellers to uncover any conflicts of interest. The psychology of a seller's agent is a also very different from a buyer's agent. The seller's agent is trained to promise the highest possible price to a seller while as a buyer's agent, I want to see how far down I can take a price.

If you would like to speak further feel free to call me at 212-545-0729 or email me at dlee@lgfairmont.com
0 votes
Laura Sause, , 13820
Thu Jul 1, 2010
The best thing you can do if you are not sure if your agent is working in your best interest is to research past customers and clients of the agent to see if they would use them again. Good luck!

Laura Sause
Prudential Fox Properties
Oneonta, NY
0 votes
Bestplace2mo…, , Kingston, NY
Mon Jun 21, 2010
Definitely NOT a good buyer agent. Their job is to inform and educate their client, the prospective purchaser about the fair value for a house they are interested in and negotiate THAT for them. Also to ensure the buyers' investment in a home is a prudent one. A good buyers agent is knowledgeable of the nuances in the areas of choice, and knows how to help determine value based on current market statistics, past community and sales history, projected changes in the community, and its stability. At bestplace2move.com We have set high standards for the agents we work with to ensure they do this for our buyer prospects.
0 votes
Amy Rea, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Apr 8, 2010
Dear Kirsten, Home Buyer 10038,

Your best interests should be at the heart of the agent working for you as your buyer's broker. However, each individual is different. WHen you find the person whom you feel confident is not motivated by the money to be made, but instead who is motivated to see that you are happy with your choice, then you will be with the right Buyer's broker.

Home buying: the most expensive single item you will possibly ever buy... a Buyer's Broker should feel like someone you can trust.

Truly yours,
Amy Rea
ARea@halstead.com
What's YOUR Area?
0 votes
Andrea (Andr…, Agent, 10011, NY
Tue Jan 12, 2010
Kirsten,

There is nothing unusual about considering several neighborhoods. Some people have their mind set on location, someone else cares more about the apartment and they are more flexible on neighborhoods. Currently I am working with someone who is looking in East Village , Lower East Side and Clinton/Midtwon West - as their primary focus, but will consider Upper East and Midtown East as well. We even looked in Brooklyn at the beginning of her search and eliminated after a few visits. It does not mean she is not serious just open to several locations...... I have had buyers say anywhere in Manhattan as long as it is a nice apartment........

What is lot more important to define, is the price range and knowing what you want to or can afford to spend - ideally you want to get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified for financing. You could waste a lot of time running around and looking at the "wrong apartments" if you do not know your numbers....

In terms of the comps, it can be pretty tough to determine how good of a comp it is....... So many things can affect the pricing- the state of the apartment for example - bt a renovated apartment and a wreck in the same line there can be a tremendous difference in pricing for ex. What floor is the unit on , the amount of light, which way it faces, how recently it sold and the change in the state of the market bt the sold comp and now.....This all applies if you have something to go by in the building. At times you may have no solds to compare to within the building so now you are looking at a comp on the block or in the vicinity - also a comp, to make it even tougher ..... Plus you are unable to get inside of the sold listing to really get to compare..... Depending on what you are calling recent - the prices may have come down since the last comparable unit closed. It's not easy sometimes to figure it out even for agents.
Feel free to reach out if I can be of any help.
0 votes
Kirsten, Home Buyer, 10038
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Thanks, Jolie and Anna. This is all fascinating to me. From the discussions I have participated in here I am now persuaded to use a buyer's agent and will sign a contract with that person. I am also no longer worried the agent will try to push me past my comfort zone. I still have not decided which neighborhood to focus on. I may not be able to until I have gone out to see places. This led another broker to decide that I was not serious so I will probably not contact one till I have narrowed things down. More than anything what I want is prewar, high ceilings and reasonably spacious with maintenance or tax/fees no more than $1250. I am not tied to one area. If I could have my dream it would be Tribeca or West Village. In fact, I'd love to live on Barrow St. But if prices are too high there that all I can get is a shoebox then it's not worth it. I'd also consider UWS, Tudor City and Sutton Place, maybe others. Apparently this diversity of locations/lifestyles(?) is what made the broker think I was unrealistic.

In any case I won't know what I can afford till after February 15th at the earliest. I hope mortgage rates won't jump too much by then.
0 votes
Jolie Muss, , Upper West Side, New York, NY
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Hello Kristen, Your questions & answers are very interesting! All agents and brokers are bound to represent you fairly to some degree and this is usually defined in writing with an agency disclosure but not on NY condos or coops with more than 5 units. In any case the selling/listing broker really only owes their loyalty to the seller unless agreed to otherwise, so a dedicated buyer's broker is the ONLY one really required to protect your interests. As other have stated 1.5% +/- of $0 is $0 so no one is likely to show you more expensive properties unless thay are only showing you their OWN listings or their partners..and that is the problem in buying from a listing agent because they will make more money if they both sell and list the property. As a matter of fact a buyer's agent is legally allowed in NY to extend a buyer's rebate if agreed to at the outset and if financing allows so this is something else to consider when choosing your agent/broker. As to attending openhouses the buyer's agent could contact the listing agent and register you if it's not convenient for you to have them accompany you but it's always to your advantage to have them with you as they can shield you from being asked questions that may reveal information that could affect future negotiations. (You can also notify the listing agent that you are working with someone and there is usually a space on the sign -in sheet and also it never hurts to have a buyer's broker agreement as this may provide other incentives as well!) You may be seeing outdated listings as many agents keep them online and advertised so as to attract buyers and sellers but this is a widespread and unethical prcatice that I have encountered for many years both as a professional and as a buyer and find very damaging to the perception of the industry. It's also possible that these recently sold comps are from properties that took a long time to close or as you say that sellers finally got realistic about pricing. That is another issue that was discussed in the realdeal last year that agents/brokers were taking overpriced listing just to "trawl" for buyers & sellers.. I'm not clear if you are looking in the UWS of Manhattan or Brooklyn but I wish you the best of luck! Please let me know if I can be of any assistance when the time comes :)
Web Reference:  http://joliemuss.com
0 votes
Kirsten, Home Buyer, 10038
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Thanks everyone, this has bee very helpful. Another thing I think is funny is I see a lot of properties listed that are price lower than recently sold comps. Is this because they are trying to price aggressively, because they are unaware of comps or because their unit might have other detractions that lower their value? I'm sure that is hard to answer generically without seeing the place in question...
0 votes
Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Kristen:

I am not a lawyer, but in most states, your agent has legal responsibilities to put your needs first, especially if you have signed an "agency" agreement with this person. if you feel your agent is doing less than that, you should consider complaining to you state real estate commission and the local board of Realtors®.

Best
Ron Rovtar
Boulder, Colorado
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
Direct line: 303.473.1926
0 votes
Matt Laricy, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Kirsten,
A good buyers agent wants to get you the best price they can for you. Maybe you only saw terrible rental agents. And dont get me wrong, there are a lot of bad buyers agents out there. However, if you feel like you got a bad deal on a place, then you will tell everyone how much you hated your agent. But if you got a great deal on a place, you will tell everyone how great your agent was. This in turn will maybe land the agent more clients in the long run. I would rather have a client that loved the experience they had with me rather than make a couple extra bucks.

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
mlamericorp@aol.com
708-250-2696
0 votes
Andrea (Andr…, Agent, 10011, NY
Sat Jan 9, 2010
Dear Kirsten,

A good buyer's agent should negotiate on your behalf and therefore get you the lowest price possible.
If a broker wants to have you pay more so they can make extra then that is definitely not a good one. It is very shortsighted and stupid on a part of an agent not to do what is best for their buyer and be serving their own interests. Ethics is the number one issue here of course. At the same time any broker who takes their work seriously and is in it for the long term, knows that the way to grow their business is to do the best for the consumer.

( I always think that people are able to tell who means well for them and really cares..... but I guess it can be tricky... Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way to tell from bios and resumes..I would talk to a several brokers, listen carefully and and use your gut instinct. Then commit to one as that way they will commit to you. Never a good idea to use multiple brokers..

As far as the open house issue goes a good broker should be by your side and that means during open houses as well. Not because they are afraid to be pushed out of the deal, but because they are there to learn from your response to the property, get to understand you, and therefore further help guide you through your search.
The link to the website below may be of additional help.
0 votes
Ross Ellis, Agent, New York, NY
Wed Jan 6, 2010
Dear Kirsten,

A good buyer's broker will work with you, your lifestyle, your needs and your budget. It's important for you to discuss with your buyer's broker exactly what you want. Let them know you'd like to see apartments that are lower priced as well. By doing this, you get a good sense of what you really want to buy and no good broker should object to you seeing lower priced apartments as well as those in your range.

In answer to your other concerns ... yes you do cut your buyer's broker out when attending an open house without them. I always give my buyers labels with my name and contact information on them so they can use that on the sign in sheet. If they see something they like without me, they can contact me, we can discuss. I can present the appropriate offers and neogtiate for them, prepare their board packages which for someone who is not a broker can be a daunting experience and could lose an apartment over a board package that is not prepared properly, and do the other necessary things one must do when buying an apartment -- especially here in NYC. This will help make the entire buying process a much easier one.

There's a lot to buying a home which the average person -- no matter how good a negotiator they are, would not be privvy to that a professional buyers broker know.

If I can be of any assistance feel free to contact me.

Ross Ellis
Halstead Property, LLC
212-317-7828
rellis@halstead.com
0 votes
Kirsten, Home Buyer, 10038
Wed Jan 6, 2010
Wow, I definitely hadn't realized all this about the buyer's agent and that attending an open house without them might actually cut them out of the deal! I would definitely not want to do that. I am in sales so I want to watch for other sales people and make sure they get credit for their work. I would interview and scrutinize several agents until I find one I like so that I can sign an agreement with them and commit. To me this sounds much more effective than "playing the field" as it were. I am not a cheapskate - I could very well choose a place at the top of my range. But I want the freedom to consider lower priced options as I try to find the right property. Thanks again for all the answers.
0 votes
Robert Nicho…, Agent, Boston, MA
Wed Jan 6, 2010
Hello Kirsten,
It obviously depends on the buyer's agent but one way to ensure you save on the home buying purchase is by using a broker that will provide you with a real estate rebate. In addition to negotiating a great deal on your behalf, you will also receive 50% of the buyers agent commission at closing. My company connects quality brokers that provide a rebate with home buyers like yourself. If you are not happy with your current brokers performance, check out my website and we will connect you to a local pro that will negotiate a great deal and provide a real estate rebate that will save you thousands. Good luck on your home purchase
Web Reference:  http://www.sharpbuyers.com
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Kirsten, you so should have your agent with you at every opportunity.

Every time I walk though a home with a buyer, I learn a lot more about their needs, and they have the opportunity to learn more about properties in general from me.
0 votes
Joseph Finne…, Agent, Bethlehem, PA
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Hi Kirsten,

Your agent really should be with you for all showings. Your agent should also be the one making any phone calls to the listing agent or their company with any questions you may have.

If you wish to attend an open house and your agent can not accomodate you a few things should be done. Ideally, your agent should call the listing agent to let them know that you will be stopping by and they can't be with you. Also, as soon as you walk into the open house tell the agent at the home that you are already working with an agent and then give them one of your agent's business cards.

The open house agent may ask you if you have a signed Buyer Agency Relationship with your agent. This is a sign that the open house agent may try to bump your agent out of the picture. In order to protect yours and the agents best interests you should have a signed relationship agreement.

Also, in Pennsylvania, if you walk into new construction without your agent and wish to purchase they may bump your agent out of the picture even if you have the Buyer Agency Relationship. I am not sure about your state but a call ahead by your agent may or may not work with new construction.

Best of luck,

Joe Finnerty
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
Lehigh Valley, PA
0 votes
Eba, , Illinois
Tue Jan 5, 2010
You don't necessarily have to have the agent with you at all showings or open houses, but you'll need to be sure the agent showing you the house knows that you are already represented by someone else. Otherwise, the agent showing you the home or hosting the open house may be entitled to the commission on the home and it will be difficult for you to retain an agent on your side. Read this article for more information:
http://newsblaze.com/story/2009033110130300005.pnw/topstory.html

Best of luck to you on your house search!
0 votes
Kirsten, Home Buyer, 10038
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Again really helpful answers! Thank you to everyone. This is getting addictive. Interesting point about the difference between the rental broker and buyer's agent. When I got here in 1999 I wanted to look at studios in the $1500 to $1700 range and the company that moved me here offered to pay an apartment broker. I told her my budget and that I liked older (prewar) buildings. The first place she took me was $1800 per month and was so new they hadn't finished the lobby. She said, "I wish I could live here - I'd move here in a heartbeat if I could."

But your answers have given me a much better idea of the buyer's agent. I will look for one who I get a good impression of once I ask them a bunch of questions and then commit to them so they are more motivated. I want to wait till I have at least one more quarterly commission payment 2/15 and possible two more, so 5/15.

Do I have to have the buyer's agent with me at any showing I go to or can I go to a bunch of open houses on my own and only call him/her if I see something I like?
0 votes
Sam DeBord, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Great question, it does make sense, but in the vast majority of cases agents have mcuh more incentive to get you the home you want. Simply put:

$230k condo vs $250k condo. $6900 commission vs $7500 commission. Many agents will be paying about a grand in transaction fees to office, national corporate, referral fees, B&O and E&O insurance, etc.

Those commissions could very likely be $4000 vs. $4400 after the fees are all paid. Would an agent push you toward a property that you don't necessarily want to buy, just on the chance of getting $400 (a 10% increase) in commission? Not if they realize you might leave them for lacking integrity. Their commission would be $0.

I think most agents wouldn't do this. Just be wary.
Web Reference:  http://SeattleHome.com
0 votes
Eba, , Illinois
Tue Jan 5, 2010
In addition to the points made above, if your agent saves you a lot of money on a house, you are probably more likely to refer the agent to your friends and family. That's worth a lot more to them than you buying a more expensive home and them getting a few hundred dollars more in commission.

My only other advice is to make sure you are hiring someone who will truly represent your interests. For more information, see http://www.naeba.org.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Kirsten, consider the taxi driver - their real profit comes from the meter drop, not the distance traveled. In fact, the shorter the distance, the better the night.

The real reason that We In The Real Estate Profession push people to their financial limit is . . . because you reject all of the properties you can actually afford.

As humans, buyers tend to want a "greatest hits" collection of all the best features of all the properties they've seen in a price range, rolled up into one, at the same price! "Oh, if it was on this street with this kitchen and that bath, we'd gladly pay $x!"

That's the way it is.
0 votes
Nancy Brennan, Agent, New York, NY
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Kirsten:
I agree with what Andrew said below. There are alot of greedy agents in this business but there are also alot of very dedicated ones who work with their clients best interests at heart. I happen to be one of those agents. I get a complete financial picture of the client, know what they can and cannot afford and do not start at what they want to spend and work up. I show buyers homes that are what they want and include ones that are less than they are willing to spend. I also have taken my clients to see apartments where a lower commission is being paid to me. I always treat the customer the way I would want to be treated which was exactly the reason I decided to go into the real estate business. When you are working with a good and caring agent you will know it and I'd be happy to speak with you if you are interested in buying anywhere in the city.

Nancy Brennan
The Corcoran Group
888 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York
917-568-7701
0 votes
Andrew Feiwel, , New York, NY
Tue Jan 5, 2010
Your broker has a fudiciary responsibility to represent you with your best interests in mind. You should always use a broker that you trust. Real estate sales is a relationship business unlike rentals. The motivation for the broker you hire is to represent you professionally and competantly through the entire purchasing process so that YOU will recommend them to your family and friends for all of their real estate needs. The notion that your broker is motivated to have you pay up an extra say $10,000 for his increased commission is silly, after cobroking and allocating the commission with his own firm it is not a significant amount of money, probably less than the gift you should be recieving from them post closing.
0 votes
Amy Casey, Agent, NY,
Tue Jan 5, 2010
A good agent wants to get deals done. No good agent will push you to make an offer on a property that is out of your price range, because 1) you won't qualify for it 2) the property won't appraise high enough, and 3)the deal will die, and time is wasted an no one gets any commission!

I always tell my clients, "a good deal is when both parties are a little unhappy". They buyer paid a little more than they wanted, and the seller got a little less than they wanted!

The market will dictate what you should pay and a good agent will show you current 'comps' which are most recent sales that dictate the market.

Email me to talk details! nycrealestate@amycasey.com
0 votes
Jerry Cibuls…, Agent, Southold, NY
Tue Jan 5, 2010
I am a buyers agent on the North Fork of Long Island. I never look at the listing price of a property as the target price I am trying to negotiate for my buyer. I run a market analysis for my client on the property they want to place on offer on. We review what the selling prices are of recent similar sales, others that are under contract. That is what the value of a property is based on. Then we will compare these properties to take into account any value in terms of location, condition, amenities between the home they are looking to place an offer on and the current sales. This determines our target price to purchase. We will then look at the listing price of the home and compare it to the market values and determine a negotiating strategy from there. You have to consider terms of the offer also. How much money is going down on contract, what mortgage possibilities and inspections on the property. All of this is consultation happens with my buyer client and I before we place the first offer. If you look at the Buyer Agency Contract and the New York State Agency Disclosure form, both of these should be signed by you and your agent before you work in a buyer agency relationship. It will spell out the terms of what your agent can do for you and how they represent you in this transaction as well as how they have to work with the seller and the sellers agent.
That should eliminate and confusion for you on the question of "do I have a good agent representing me".
0 votes
Search Advice
Search
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more