Home Buying in New York>Question Details

Curious, Home Buyer in Forest Hills, Queens,...

Using Buyer Agt for coop;some realtors won't deal w/a BA, BA says she's essential, do nothing w/o her. This has me against a wall. Do I?

Asked by Curious, Forest Hills, Queens, NY Fri Feb 12, 2010

need a BA?

Help the community by answering this question:



I want to reiterate that you and/or your agent can reach out to the owner. It is NOT a violation of any governing or trade organization rule, nor is it tortious interference providing the contact is made with the following condition(s): (1) If contact is made by your agent, he/she MUST do it in writing and must also send a copy to the listing agent. The content cannot request or solicit a new listing agreement (i.e. fire the current listing agent), fully explain that the offer was originally given to the listing agent with no response, and that a copy of the letter is being sent to the listing agent as well. In short, the letter must be clear that it is only being sent to inform the seller that an offer has been made. Or (2), If contact is made by you, the letter must also indicate that you made an offer through your agent to the listing agent. It's best to copy the listing agent on the letter.

Either way, keep this in mind: You (and your agent, although never a principle) are a third party to the listing contact and, therefore, cannot affect the terms of the listing agreement. Simply put, the listing contract doesn't involve you. PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT to be construed as legal advice. I am simply trying to offer a possible route for you to make the seller aware that an offer exists.

The ways of Queens may not be the same as other parts of the city (or the country). However, as long as you don't try to sidestep a contract between other parties, you have the right to have your own representation. Yes, you may have to pay for it yourself, but, it would come off the amount that goes to the seller anyway. It all balances out. You can have a contract with your buyer broker just like the seller has with his broker.

I take great issue with anyone who would tell you that you don't need representation. I don't stand to personally benefit from your purchase, since I don't work in Queens. But saying your don't need protection/representation is like saying, "Go ahead. Write the contract without an attorney. And while you're at it, why don't you have the local butcher take out your appendix." Perhaps this analogy is a bit extreme; but, nothing like a little hyperbole to make a point.

Protect yourself.


John R. Wuertz
Vice President, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 13, 2010

I have read and fully understand the REBNY code of ethics and the RLS agreement. Further, unlike the majority of agents in NYC, I am also a member of the National Association of Realtors. Therefore, I am also obliged to follow the Realtors' Code of Ethics, which is much more pervasive, detailed and "restrictive" than REBNY's.

If a firm doesn't belong to REBNY/RLS and doesn't pay or accept payment from co-broking, the agreement doesn't apply to them or their listings. As you mentioned, much of Queens does not co-broke. I will point out that "wild fronteer," "being tamed," and "Until one day when a more rational approach prevails" are your own words in describing the practice of real estate in Queens.

Your initial answer seemed to focus on payment of commission for the buyer's agent. Not all agents consider payment first. Several agents I know, including myself, are willing to assist a buyer purchase a property and (especially) if the commission is less than the area average or non-existent will push for referrals so that they can earn a commission from another transaction, Perhaps the agent is willing to do exactly as the code of ethics instructs: put the client's interests first. Clearly, if the agent is willing to submit offers for this particular buyer, the agent risks not receiving a commission or must ask the buyer to pay directly for representation. Alluding to the first focus of agents being the payment of commission only further reinforces the public's perception.

By my "butcher/appendix" analogy, I did not intend to offend you or cast a bad light on our industry. Instead, as my answer clearly said it was a hyperbole, I was trying to draw an exaggerated analogy to demonstrate my firm belief that all buyers should have representation. The Codes of Ethics were originally based on the term "caveat emptor" meaning "let the buyer beware."

Incidentally, I personally ran into the exact scenario that "Curious" described and my manager and the buyer's attorney suggested that they handle it in the way I outlined. She wrote a letter to the listing agent and to the owner. If you'd like more info on that particular deal and what eventually happened, feel free to contact me directly.

Richard, I firmly believe this is not the forum for back and forth between agents; however, I recognize and respect the fact that your passion seems to match mine. I'll also note that it's refreshing to encounter another real estate professional who knows his stuff. Much can get lost in email or posted responses. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you'd like to continue a conversation. I truly meant no disrespect to you and didn't mean to imply that the listing agent was unethical. One of our goal as agents is to help buyers find and purchase the right property.


John R. Wuertz
Vice President, Associate Broker
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 14, 2010

You need and deserve representation. I can't imagine anyone going into a real estate transaction with no agent to protect them. A seller's agent has an obligation to present ALL offers. Of course, if you and/or your agent are encountering listing agents who don't want to co-broke, there is a good possibility those unethical agents won't present offers from other agents to the seller.

Here's a suggestion: for any offer you wish to submit, have your agent send a copy of the offer to the listing agent and deliver a copy of the offer to the seller (personally or by mail). There is nothing unethical about this course of action, as long as a copy is sent to the agent as well. I've used this tactic in the past and it has been quite effective. Usually, if the listing agent knows that the seller will be receiving the offer directly, he will deliver the offer himself anyway.

The most important point here is that all buyers should utilize the services of a buyer's agent. The services provided cost the buyer nothing but could save thousands of dollars and lots of time.

Good luck in your search.


John R. Wuertz
Vice President, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 12, 2010
most forest hills brokers are not part of rebny but are part of libor which is a nar based organization is your broker a member? If so she(he0 cancomplain. However, some sellers want to save commission and only offer sellers rep compensation in that case the buyer can pay his own broker (in that case work it out with your buyers broker of course that will mean that you pay less to the seller) it all comes off the total anyway. You definitely should be represented
klara madlin
president manhattan mls (Manhattan Assoc. of Realtors)
Web Reference: http://www.klaramadlin.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 13, 2010
Is your agent licensed and with a broker? If she is there is no reason for a realtor to not work with a buyer's agent in fact that is probably against REBNY, NAR (realtor's organization) ethics and rules and definitely against the NYS laws of agency. http://www.dos.state.ny.us/cnsl/dualagcy.html
Here is a link to the NYS DOS Real Estate legal counsel page http://www.dos.state.ny.us/cnsl/repops.html
(I'm not familiar with the Forest Hills MLS/ NAR and don't know if the realtors there are also members of REBNY) FYI "a realtor" is a member of the National Association of Realtors and must also be a NYS licensed
real estate agent or broker or attorney to represent a buyer or seller of NYS real estate and get a comission but being a realtor is not a requirement to buy or sell real estate in NY.You have every right to be represented by a buyer's agent! It's likely that you and the agent could file a complaint with those ruling bodies
The only reason I could think of is if is not actually listed with the "realtors" you mention but a "pocket listing" or an "open listing" or if it is an owner that is selling. Whether the buyer's agent will get paid the co-broke may or may not depend on her having a co-broke agreement with the firm the seller's agent and /or realtor but that is up to the buyer's agent /broker to confirm.
I am not a lawyer and I can not give legal advice so you might want to discuss this with a competent NYC real estate attorney. I hope this has cleared things up for you! Please take a look at my blog "Everything you wanted to know (and more) about buyer brokerage" for more answers to questions about this type of matter.

Jolie Muss
Licensed Real Estate Broker & Brokerage
Office: 212 721-3301
Email: jolie@joliemuss.com
Website: http://joliemuss.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 12, 2010
New York City is very behind the times in not having a true MLS which is the source to the difficulites you describe. Yes, there definitely are some real estate companies in the boroughs that do not co-broker, which means they insist on dealing only with a direct (non-represented) buyer. This is pure greed, it does not serve their seller well, as they are eliminating the majority of buyers, and most serious buyers have agents. It also does a disservice to buyers like yourself who choose to have representation. In Manhattan due to the Real Estate Board of NY and in much of the downtown parts of Brookyn it is a "given" that most transacations will have a buyer's agent and a seller's agent. There is no easy answer for you, as you certainly have the right to an agent, but there are parts of the city that are still very old-school and behind the times, thinking having an exclusive means they give no access other than to direct buyers. You are absolutely correct that you are "against a wall." You also don't know what the listing agreement between the seller and the listing agent says about co-brokering. In our REBNY system your agent contacting the seller directly is a blatant violation, but clearly this company is not part of that system. I would go out on a limb here to say to initiate direct contact with the owner and say you are interested in the property and your agent has tried unsuccessfully to begin a dialogue with their agent. In all likelihood they will tell their agent to deal with you and your agent.

Hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 13, 2010
Hi Curious,

I hope this will work out for you to your benefit.

Unfortunately, some Realtors, who in my opinion do not have their Seller's best interest at heart, continue to ask the seller to allow them not to co-broke, sometimes in return for a "better" commission. If the seller agrees with that, either out of trying to save on "commission" or mis-information by a real estate agent, then yes that agent then will have the right to not deal with other realtors. However, this "not dealing" with another agent is purely based on not splitting the commision. As a matter of fact if you bring a buyer's agent it will "save" the listing agent the time/ work of doing both sides of the deal. You can pay a commission to your buyer's agent to represent you, so that the splitting of commissios is not an issue anymore. If you really want the property than it will pay for you, because your buyer agent will negotiate the property vigourously for you where you get a good deal that might make the commision that you would pay awash. If you don't feel comfortable paying or signing with a buyer's agent and the property isn't "that hot" to warrant the extra expense for you then mov on to a home where you can be comfortably represented by a competent buyer's agent and where the seller has common sense to pay a full commsion, so that his/her buyer pool isn't shrinking which never is a benefit to the seller in any market.

In short pay for representation or move on to the next home (Seller will get the point eventually that that might have gotten what they bargained for). Then there is the "iron fist in a velvet glove" rule - make the offer (with a smile - that's were the velvet comes in) and negotiate in the offer that the seller through YOUR buyer's agent - is responsible for the buyer's agent fee (whatever you negotiate with the seller). I believe that the law (I'm not a lawyer, but..this is how I understand it) requires for every offer to be represnted to the seller, unless the seller already supplied their representative in writing to not, under any circumstances, present him/her with an offer where they ask the seller to pay all fees....highly unlikely!! Put the ball in their court and see if they want to play : )

Best regards,

Anoir Redouane
Professional Real Estate Consultant
Halstead Property, LLC
T: 212-381-4209
F: 646-775-4290
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 12, 2010
You need to feel comfortable and trust your realtor. I do not suggest buying into a coop without using a Buyer's Agent, but you have the right to use whichever agent you want and are according to REBNY rules, can notify all parties of whom you are working with... Let me know if you want to discuss privately with specifics! nycrealestate@amycasey.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 12, 2010
I can relate to the question. I'm working with an agent and I'm looking in Queens and Midtown East. I want to be near the bridge. I work there and I like the tram. She has hit some bumps along the way in Queens, but she's making things happen. She's been able to knock the problems out of the way and I've seen a dozen or so places there.
I agree with Aptbuyer. Richard's must-have-the-last-word answer comes across as not nice and not professional. I'm glad my agent is friendly along with her professionalism.
Only my opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 17, 2010
Curious, I got a friend in queens who had the same prob but her agent found a great place for her. I think my friend paid the comission but she helped her get the place for a lot lesss money then another place that went for more at about the same time. she told me to use that agent but she doesn't do manhattan. maybe she could help you. write me and i'll look for her info.
john, i liked your butcher comparison. it made me laugh.
good luck, curious. i got some good ansers from here but some of the brokers make it about them instead of just answering the questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 15, 2010
I would use a buyer's agent with a co-op - but that being said, you have the choice of having representation or not.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 13, 2010
Secret: You can call or write the Seller directly and tell them your problem. I bet you that will get the Listing Agent to move or get fired! Good luck!
Web Reference: http://flavors.me/fredglick
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 13, 2010
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