I'm planning to sell my 1 bed apt and buy a 2 bed in the same area. Is it typical and advisable to use the same RE broker for both transactions?

Asked by Mlnyc, New York, NY Thu Nov 12, 2009

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John R. Wuer…, , New York, NY
Tue Nov 17, 2009
Dear MInyc,

Not all listing agents make good buyer's agents and vice versa. Trust is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship including between client and agent. Interviewing a few agents can help you choose the best listing agent for you. Since our current market conditions make it wise to list first, you'll have time to watch the agent and decide if you also want to work together for the buy.

NY law only requires an agent to disclose agency relationships to anyone buying a 1 to 4 unit dwelling. In other states, the agent must disclose for whom he/she is working to everyone. I prefer to disclose my relationship and fiduciary responsibilities. One of the ways I build trust with my clients is to maintain transparency from the beginning. I think it's silly that the law has different requirements based on the number of units in a building.

In regard to the disclosure form, providing it proves that the agent has disclosed the types of relationships to you and attempts to clarify his/her role and responsibilities to you. Buyer brokerage or representation is relatively new in NYC. I've worked in NJ for many years as well as NYC and have taught agency relationships for years. Disclosure is required for all clients and buyer representation has been common for more than 20 years there. I find that the majority of agents in NYC don't fully understand agency relationships and the responsibilities that go with each type. Without proper guidance, agency can be very confusing for the agent and also the client.

As a Buyer's Agent, the agent would represent you for any property that is listed with a company other than his/her own. If he/she shows you a property that is listed by his company, (without an informed consent to dual agency) he/she cannot represent you in the transaction. In this instance, he would revert to being a sub-agent for the seller and protect the seller's best interests.

Partly because the disclosure form is not well-written, many don't understand that "Agent" means the person working personally with the client and "Broker" means the company or Broker of Record. All listings are an agreement with the Broker of Record, in other words: the Company. The agent (whether salesperson or associate broker) is just that: an Agent for the Broker. If you keep that in mind, this confusing description might make more sense.

If you have a Buyer's Agency Relationship, your agent has certain fiduciary responsibilities to you (think CCLOAD--Care, Confidentiality, Loyalty, Obedience, Accountability, and Disclosure). The same is true of the agent representing the seller. Now, if both agents work at the same company, the relationship changes a little. Remember, without a confirmed Buyer Agency Relationship with your agent, the moment he/she shows you a property listed with his company, he works for the seller. With a Buyer's Agency Relationship, in a transaction for a property listed by two agents from the same company, the relationship becomes Dual Agency. This is the part that the vast majority of agents don't understand. You see, the BROKER (Company) owns the listing AND the buyer. The agent is a representative of the company. That's it.

In this example, there are two agents involved. Still only one Broker (Company). It doesn't seem that difficult. However, it's assumed through imputed knowledge that both agents know everything there is to know about each others' clients. Even if they've never met each other, each others' clients, or even worked in same office. Most experts in agency relationships believe that this would constitute "Dual Agent with designated agent." Either way, it's still Dual Agency.

Let's take this one step further. Say you attend an open house and haven't hired your own agent. You speak with the listing agent at the open house. You decide you like the apartment and want to buy it. The agent should inform you that he/she works for the seller. You can say that you would like him/her to represent you in the transaction. If he/she agrees, the relationship would be Dual Agency. As the disclosure states, "A real estate broker may represent both the buyer and seller if both the buyer and seller give their informed consent in writing. In such a dual agency situation, the agent will not be able to provide the full range of fiduciary duties" Full disclosure and undivided loyalty are impossible. There are risks to both sides unless the agent is extremely competent and ethical.

A very long answer to a short question.
If you'd like more info on agency and representation, please don't hesitate to contact me.

John R. Wuertz
The Corcoran Group
2 votes
Rex Gonsalves, , New York, NY
Sat Nov 14, 2009
Real estate is the third biggest dec esion you will make -after marriage and having children.
i agree with filling disclosure forms meant to protect the consumer but in the end it comes down to TRUST.

- You will have to disclose personal & financial information to your agent aditionally he/she needs to understand you and your needs [and quirks] - It is easier for the client to use the same agent as long as both trust each other and you feel comfortable working with the agent. Test the agent- ask questions, check their knowledge, see how quicky they return your calls/ emails. Are you first on their list?
- A good agent will try to build lasting relationships with their clients.
Rex Gonsalves
Halstead Property, LLC.
0 votes
First Last, , 90002
Sat Nov 14, 2009
I would only do this if your listing broker will also sign a disclosure form that says that they will be acting as a BUYER'S BROKER for you.

The State of New York has a nice form for this that I use all the time:


In New York State by default, all agents/brokers work (as sub-agents) for the seller. They are supposed to disclose this in writing if it's a house, at least orally if it's a co-op or condo. [As an aside, who cuts the check to the broker does not determine who the broker represents--not in New York. Strange but true!]

So, in the absence of this buyer's broker disclosure, you've got an agent who's working for you to sell your apartment, and then simultaneously working for the SELLER of any apartment you might want to buy.

As your listing agent, they almost certainly are privy to confidential information about you. It's hard to avoid that, in my opinion it's not even wise to avoid that. If they are working for the seller when you're looking to buy, they could use that information against you to benefit the seller--which is, by the way, their job when they are representing sellers.

So I would insist on a buyer's broker arrangement with whatever listing agent/broker you choose. If they won't do it, look at you blankly, or if they propose dual agency instead (you can read the warning about that on the state disclosure form referenced above), if I were you I would not work with them to purchase a property. I would find someone else and get a buyer's disclosure from them as well.

The other thing that can happen is an in-house listing--your listing broker also has the listing for your dream apartment, let's say.

In that case she or he can't be your buyer's broker, because they've already signed on as a seller's broker. The common solution is a designated agent is appointed within the brokerage to represent you. That's fine--but ideally, you should also get a buyer's broker disclosure from that person, in my opinion.

Not all agents/brokers work this way, a lot of people think the whole disclosure legal requirement is silly. I strongly disagree, obviously. These laws exist to protect consumers and to provide transparency in these high-stakes transactions. Transparency and proper disclosure (who is representing whom as an agent) ultimately benefit everyone.

Karla Harby
Vice President
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Charles Rutenberg Realty, LLC
127 East 56th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 688-1000 ext. 383
(917) 365-0876 cell and text messages
(212) 688-1919 fax
0 votes
Richard Leci…, , Tucson, AZ
Thu Nov 12, 2009
You may get a better commision rate on the selling side if you use the same agent. I do that when I know the seller will use me on the buying side also. You should interview several agents and see what they do for marketing in order to sell your current home and just ask them for a better deal.
0 votes
Anoir Redoua…, , SoHo, New York, NY
Thu Nov 12, 2009
Dear MInyc,

First of all I wanted to wish you all the luck in your endeavour.

In general it takes a more experienced agent to sell your place and help you with your goals (including but not always limited to obtaining the best price) than to buy a place. So I would set out and interview several agents at reputable companies and find an agent that you trust will do the best job for you.

The reason why I mention "including but not always limited to obtaining the best price" (before anyone starts kicking and screaming "that they will ALLWAYS obtain the highest price") is because sometimes, timing and individual circumstances will not always allow for you to obtain the highest possible price for your 1 bedroom; for example if you find your dream 2 bedroom apartment that you need to move on quickly, then perhaps you need to give a little to gain a lot and move on with your life. As long as the total of the sum is in the positive for you.

Then I would recommend highly to use the same agent, because in general the agent that you entrusted with selling your place, should be more than capable of helping you search for and streamline your next property.

Please let me know if you need any help and allow me the privilige of attaining your goals.

Best regards,

Anoir Redouane
Professional Real Estate Consultant
Halstead Property, LLC - SoHo
451 W Broadway
New York, NY 10012
T: 212-381-4209
F: 646-775-4290
0 votes
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Nov 12, 2009
If you need to sell first, as most people trading up do, I would say list your 1 BR with an agent you have interviewed and have great confidence in (not sure if you've chosen one yet). When you have a serious buyer for that apt., you will be able to judge how you feel about that agent. If you have a very good working relationship with that listing agent, and that person works as a buyer's agent as well, I would say go ahead and keep working with the same person; they've earned your trust and the rest of your business. If, however, in the course of them working as your listing agent, you don't feel entirely comfortable, then I would find another buyer's agent.
Hope that helps.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
(212) 381-4268
0 votes
Francisca M.…, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Nov 12, 2009
It is the smartest thing to do to use the same broker, most especially if you have developed a tried and true business relationship with this broker. It makes sense and advisable to use him or her for the same area. Just make sure you have qualified a broker to know their area of expertise. The best of brokers will go out of his/her way to get you the best price at the least possible time making your sell/buy journey a pleasant one.
Please contact me if you need help and good luck.
0 votes
Marco LaPadu…, Agent, Bayside, NY
Thu Nov 12, 2009
It certainly couldn't hurt. The agent selling your apartment knows your financial situation and exactly what you will walk away with on your sale. Also, he knows the timing - especially with co-ops, this can be tricky. Also, he already has a fiduciary responsibility to you. If he represents you as a buyer, he should be able to give you a full market analysis of any home you are interested in purchasing - give you sales info, average sale price, price differential between asking vs. selling price, etc. - and devise a strategy so that you do not pay over market value.
Web Reference:  http://www.teammd.net
0 votes
Mitchell Hall, Agent, New York, NY
Thu Nov 12, 2009
Yes, It makes the most sense to use the same broker. If you need to sell the 1 bedroom first in order to buy the 2 bedroom the same broker selling your 1 bedroom will be able to coordinate the timing of your search based on the progress of your sale.

I just went into contract on a 1 bedroom for a client that is about to purchase a 2 bedroom. I can help sell your apartment and find you a new one.

Please contact me:

Mitchell Hall
Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
Web Reference:  http://nycblogestate.com
0 votes
Pat Moyer, , West Chester, PA
Thu Nov 12, 2009
If you have a Realtor you like, is knowledgable and does a good job for you by all means do both selling and buying with that person. You'll find that having only one Realtor to talk to, plan strategies with etc. will make both transactions go smoother. The right Realtor will be able to manage both transactions more smoothly since you won't have to repeat or tell a second Realtor anything about the other transaction. Saves time and stress when trying to coordinate selling and buying.
Web Reference:  http://www.MainLineWest.com
0 votes
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