Kate, Other/Just Looking in

We love our broker. However, after an appt. we drove by a "For Sale By Owner" open house and really fell in love. What is realtor etiquette on this?

Asked by Kate, Sun Feb 10, 2013

We've been working with our broker for about a month now. She's helped us find a temporary rental while we look for our new home. She didn't charge us any realtor fees for the rental as the expectation is that she will eventually find us a home. While she has found some homes for us, we haven't found "the one". Until today when leaving after an appt. It was "For Sale By Owner". What's the appropriate why to handle with our broker. Not ready to put an offer yet, but we're thinking about it.

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Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sun Feb 10, 2013
It depends - do you want to pay your broker, or do you want to avoid paying your broker?

I think it's hard to pay brokerage fees out of pocket. When they're rolled into the transaction, it's generally palatable, but for a buyer to have to add several thousand on to the price . . . you start wondering, "How much value did I really get from this agent, anyway?"

On a smaller scale of purchase recently, I was tempted to go around the vendor to a discounter, but then I realized that without the guidance and, yes - education, from the sales rep, I wouldn't have made such an educated decision and may have bought the wrong product, or missed out on the right one.

Only you can decide which path to take. Often, FSBOs are willing to pay a brokerage fee, however, so your broker doesn't necessarily have to get cut out of the deal.

All the best,
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Neil Blair-B…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Sun Feb 10, 2013

as in any transaction involving real estate, when you deal directly with a FSBO you are walking on to the sellers home court. Ask yourself these questions;
1. Do you know how to properly read and understand all the documentation involved in a real estate transaction?
2. Do you know the property values and prices that are being paid in the neighborhood in which you are looking?
3. Are you aware or do you know how to find out if there are any material defects to your prospective home that might not be disclosed? Are you aware of any zoning/construction/environmental issues that might materially affect the value of the property?

Your answers obviously affect your next move, but these are things that your agent looks for. Alan is absolutely correct in his description of how the process should flow from here. But keeping your agent involved would be the best thing you could do.
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Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sun Feb 10, 2013
I would suggest calling your Realtor, and telling her that you're interested in that house.

She will then contact the FSBO, and tell them that she has a client interested in the property, and she will negotiate her commission (paid by the seller) in order to make the appointment.

No worries, this is common, and FSBO's are often thrilled to cooperate with a working Realtor... as they only owe approximately half of what they would have paid, had they hired a Realtor to market their property.

Good luck.
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