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Asked by Hlep, Los Angeles, CA Wed May 29, 2013

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Jay Hofstadt…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Wed May 29, 2013
terry's analysis is valid, as far as it goes. there are several other points to consider, however.

first, is your agent showing you all of the mls listings out there, or just his/her own, those of his/her office or of the company. unfortunately, there are some agents who weight their searches to their own or their company's listings. why? obviously, if they sell their own commission, they don't have to split it with another agent. many companies give their agents a bonus if they sell properties in-house. unfortunately, they don't not understand that their primary duty is to the client, not themselves.

many for sale by owner ("fsbo") listings are overpriced or have various issues and defects that you might not be aware of.

however, an alternative that any good agent could propose is that if there is a fsbo listing for which the owner is not willing to pay a commission but which is a good deal, that you could pay the commission. while not popular in los angeles, there are many jurisdictions where buyers pay commissions to agents who represent them. some agents work on a fee basis.

if you don't feel comfortable with the job your agent has been doing and discuss your concerns and alternatives, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Jason Ling, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Wed May 29, 2013
Hi Hlep,

The only way for you to find a place not on the MLS and not a pocket listing is to have your agent door knock or contact specific houses that fit the criteria you are looking for and ask them if they are willing to sell. It is hard to find a agent who is willing to get into the trenches for their client but not impossible. Depending on your price range and criteria I may be able to help you. Feel free to contact me to discuss further.


Jason Ling
Rodeo Realty
(310) 625-5902
DRE# 01920134
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Abe Chang, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Wed May 29, 2013
You've been looking for over a year and haven't anything you like? Sorry to say maybe it's not the agent...
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Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed May 29, 2013
What other listings would you expect him to have? That's all any agent has access to!
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Alyssa Fry, Agent, Studio City, CA
Wed May 29, 2013
Most listings currently available are posted on the MLS. I am going to assume that you are actually referring to possible pocket listings available. In that case, they are called pocket listings for a reason. Generally speaking, an agent holding a pocket listing is primarily looking to get both sides of the deal or an agent from his/her office. Yes, as an agent we may be email blasted a pocket listing from other brokerage but what I have seen lately are in the multi-million dollar range. Basically, you were hoping to get the same thing every buyer/investor right now is hoping for - a huge advantage over what is currently listed on the market. Competition right now is fierce among buyers and inventory is still lower than demand. Homes are still selling for above listing price in many areas. Buyers have to be able to offer the seller top dollar - preferably cash, and a quick escrow with little to no contingencies. Finding a new agent isn't going to change the facts.
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Terry Farnsw…, Agent, Lisle, IL
Wed May 29, 2013
Any agent you hire is likely going to send you listings from the MLS exclusively. Why? Because these listings are typically offering him a percentage of the sales price as commission.

Are there other listings out there? Sure. There are likely some "For sale by owner" properties that aren't listed with a real estate agent. These won't pay any commission to any agents who bring them a buyer. You can search for these yourself however, as an agent probably isn't going to want to spend their time showing you listings that they "typically" aren't going to get paid anything on upon purchase. Sometimes, a FSBO will agree to pay a small commission to them if you end up buying, however a lot of agents simply don't want to spend the extra time it takes to haggle with them over paying a commission.

The question ultimately becomes - is an agent doing a disservice to a buyer by ONLY showing listings that will ultimately earn a commission? Every agent is going to answer this question differently, depending on the level of service they provide to their clients.

Some will say "I'm not wasting my time showing a buyer 30 houses, only to have them buy a FSBO that won't pay me anything" - others will say "My job is ultimately to find a perfect fit for my client - so that means showing them everything and hoping that house that is picked is one that pays me".

If the agent is a strong enough negotiator, they should often be able to convince the sellers to pay them a small fee for bringing a buyer to them. Truth be told, the VAST majority of homes are listed on the MLS, and the ones that aren't - are usually overpriced.

Hope that helps!
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