Lisa Smith, Home Buyer in New York, NY

Should I get a buyer's broker before I look at homes?

Asked by Lisa Smith, New York, NY Sat Feb 9, 2008

We have an idea of the location and price range but are just not sure if we will buy right now or wait awhile. With brokers working on commission I don't want to take up someone's time (or feel pressure) if we're not fully ready but I do want to start seeing properties. I've found some promising homes online. Can we just call the seller's broker, go see them on our own and later bring in a buyer's broker if we see something we want to pursue? Does going to see a property w/o a buyer's broker obligate to use the seller's broker as a dual agent or mean that we can't bring in our own broker later?

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Jeffrey Kropp, Agent, Chicago, IL
Sun Feb 10, 2008
I agree with the posts below but also keep in mind there are different types of buyers agents. Some buyers agents primarily work with sellers and only helping buyers occassionally. They work in an office that helps buyers and sellers so you may end up seeing some listings from their own office. This creates a conflict of interest. An exclusive buyers agent (EBA) only works with buyers, and only in an office with other exclusive buyers agents. This is the best protection you can have since you know you are working with an agent that helps buyers 100% of the time. Suze Orman, Consumer Reports, Newsweek, etc. all recommend this approach. Since this is a newer concept there are not a lot of EBAs yet but you can find out if there is one in your area but you could check the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents to find out http://(
1 vote
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Sat Feb 9, 2008
Hi Lisa,

Let me start with what you should not do. Calling the the listing agent of a property to show you the home. That can indeed place you on the road to dual agency and cause complications down the road if you want to bring in a buyer's agent at a later date.

Dual agency is a terrible deal for you and I would avoid it at all costs. One agent cannot represent both sides in a transaction. It's simply not possible. It also creates a situation where an unnaturally large commission is created, which can cause the agent to develop tremendous loyalty to the deal, and not to you OR the seller.

So to avoid that, simply retain your own buyers agent. Many of my relationships with clients in a buyer's agent capacity are measured in months to years. If you were honest and upfront as someone else mentions, most agents would be happy to work with you. You can offload some of the wasted time by driving past the exteriors of homes you're interested in and only scheduling interior inspections of homes that are of particularly high interest.

If you have any other questions, just contact me through my website and I'll be happy to answer them. Good luck Lisa!

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1 vote
Gina Chirico, Agent, Fairfield, NJ
Sat Feb 9, 2008
My advice to you is to get your own buyer's agent and take it from there. If you call the listing agent it will become a dual agency (which isn't always a bad thing) but you will not be thereafter able to bring in your own agent if you want to proceed on that house. Having your own buyer's agent is a definite plus when house hunting - someone working with you and for your best interests is the very important. Good luck!
Gina Chirico
973-228-1000 ext 132
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Sun Feb 10, 2008
I suggest getting a buyers agent and being honest with them about your motivation. I also remind you that the seller's broker is working on commission also, and isn't going to like showing homes and having the customer bring in another agent.
0 votes
Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Sun Feb 10, 2008

Get some recommendations from family or friends for an agent they used and liked. If you can't get any recommendations, look through websites (like Trulia!) and agent websites. Then, talk to those agents one by one and you should make some kind of connection with one of them. Explain your situation to each agent and weigh the responses to see who understands you best and will work under your terms.

You also can go to the open houses for the listings you like and others. Open houses are a great place to find an agent to work with. Just be sure to tell them that you are working with someone or you will be bombarded with different agents calling and emailing you (if you give them your information.) Then, you can pick and choose your agent on your terms.

The way you are going about looking is very common these days as most buyers start their search on the internet. And, while most properties are on the internet, some are not. Find a buyers agent who works with FSBO's, too and you will get even more properties to consider.

The reason you don't want to see the homes with the seller's brokerage company is that in NJ we have what is known as procuring cause. If you see a house with the sellers' company then try to bring in your own agent, the sellers' broker legally has procurring cause as they have showed you the house first.

Find an agent you like. It may turn out to be someone who will work with you as a dual agent. However, if you trust and respect that person first and foremost, you should know they will do a good job for you in either buyers agent or buyers agent/dual disclosed.

Good luck!
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0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sat Feb 9, 2008
Yes, I would recommend getting a buyer's agent, and be as upfront with them as you've been here. You may find there are some agents who won't want to wait the potential long-term you're describing, but I think you'll find that many, if not most, will be happy to work at your schedule... without pressure, and without pushing you into a purchase you're not ready to make.

Going to a property without a buyer's agent doesn't necessarily obligate you to use the listing agent as a dual agent (although new construction can be an entirely different animal) but it can sure complicate the issue big time.

Give a buyer's agent a call... we're not that intimidating, and we're not that scary... in fact I think you might find one charming and helpful.

good luck.
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