Using a Listing Agent to buy?

Asked by Virginia, Quakertown, PA Fri Jan 4, 2008

We looked at some houses last week. Are considering putting in an offer.
We saw the house with the listing agent. So my question is, because she is the listing agent for the house, do you think she will be a little less truthful about details of the house?

Any advice?
Thank You

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Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Jan 4, 2008
Dual agency is legal in New Jersey. In other states, even when dual agency is not permitted, a form of represetation that is some form of it, but called by another name, might be.

While I think that most Realtors will be upfront about all details and material facts about the property, I am still not a fan of dual agency. There are instances where it goes smoothly and works well for all parties. When there are no disagreements between buyer and seller, having one agent can actually make things siimpler and faster. There isn't another party to be contacted for mulitple discussions or appointment setting. My objection and concern with dual agency has to do with the fact that one person cannot serve two masters when the buyer and seller do not agree. What happens when buyer and seller look at the same factual info, but take differing positions? For which party does the agent negotiate?

While there might be a few bad apples out there, most Realtors willfully disclose all material facts about a property, and most make diligent efforts to encourage their sellers to provide full disclsoure.. A Realtor with an established relationship w/ their seller client will not disclose personal information about their seller that would be disadvantageous to the seller in negotiations. Nor should they.
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Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Fri Jan 4, 2008
Hi Virginia:

In some states, dual agency is illegal (sorry, I don't know about yours), so it may not even be an option for you.

And if it is allowed, the seller may not have agreed to it in his listing agreement with his agent.

And if the seller has agreed to it, you are not obligated to use that listing agent as your representation, as in a dual agency situation, all parties to the transaction must agree to it.

In other words, I agree with Thomas.
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Thomas Hall, , Chicago, IL
Fri Jan 4, 2008
Hi Virginia - great question. While the listing agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller, not the buyer, the listing agent owes both buyer and seller honesty. Misrepresentation regarding a property is illegal. Understand that the listing agent does not have your best interests in mind - they have been hired to secure the best possible outcome for the seller.

I strongly suggest that you obtain your own representation - find a buyers agent that can protect your interests and negotiate a favorable outcome for you.

I hope that helps!
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