Should I get a buyer's agent or go straight to the listing agent?

Asked by Sarah E. Moore, Raleigh, NC Tue Apr 17, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Apr 18, 2012
The choice is entirely yours; see link regsrding NYS agency disclosure that may help you decide. To consider, would you be more comfortable working with an agent that you have an established relationship with, or working with an agent with no established relationship...
1 vote
allan erps,A…, Agent, Pearl River, NY
Wed Apr 18, 2012
Sellers Agent is supposed to remain neutral, but cmon who did they initially meet, who do they really have more loyalty to? Thinking people will "cut their fees" or get you a better deal is "neanderthal"! Have done this 3x in 11 years + one that is closing very soon, and it is very difficult to please both parties equally + not the right way to go as a Buyer. The one exception I might make is in New Construction where most things price set and a "few extras/incentives" may be offered dealing direct. Best of Luck
1 vote
Kimberly Cra…, Agent, Garden City, NY
Sat Aug 10, 2013
Every agent owes a fiduciary duty to the Seller, even if showing you, the buyer, a home. Therefore, they are actually required to negotiate against you. So, what do you think? Do you want to have an agent working for YOU, or for the Seller? Seems pretty clear to me....

As a Certified Buyer Representative I understand how to work with buyers to find the right home at the right price. And I help you every step of the way.

You can find out more at my website: or email me at, or of course, feel free to call my mobile at 516-426-9459.

Send me your criteria, and where you want to live, and then we will make an appointment to review the available inventory and the home-buying process.

Happy House-Hunting!

0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Apr 18, 2012
It's a simple answer who is going to work exclusively for you? The SELLER's agent or the BUYER'S agent?

I can legally represent myself since I am an agent, but even I hired agents to represent me when I bought or sold.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Thomas Brady, Agent, Plainview, NY
Wed Apr 18, 2012
A listing agent is legally obligated to work in the best interest's of the seller, they are not neutral. You need an agent that is working in your best interest which would be a buyer's agent. Many transactions go through with only the seller's agent, but why take a chance? Make sure that the buyer's agent you use is willing to take whatever the seller offers as their total compensation, then there will be no cost to you. Please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance.
Thank you
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Notary Public, Retired N.Y.P.D. Lt.
"We treat you like family!"
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.
255 Executive Drive - Suite 104
Plainview, New York 11803
0 votes
Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Wed Apr 18, 2012
That is entirely up to you. When an agent represents both the buyer and the seller it is called ‘dual agency’. Whether your agent represents you or the seller or both, they owe you certain fiduciary duties; Obedience - your realtor must obey your instructions unless doing so would be a violation of law or some other ethical duty; Loyalty - Undivided Loyalty (and that is where dual agency becomes tricky, I'll explain in a moment); Disclosure - your agent must disclose everything that is said to him about or during the transaction including confidential information that the other side should not have revealed; Confidentiality - your agent must keep confidential anything YOU tell him, for example, what price you are ultimately willing to pay for the property; Accounting - Your agent must account for any monies entrusted to him during the transaction; and
Reasonable Care - Because your agent is an expert in real estate transactions they must exercise reasonable care to ensure your transaction goes as smoothly as possible under the circumstances.

In a dual agency situation the second duty, undivided loyalty, becomes an issue because, obviously I cannot have undivided loyalty to two parties, right? All the other duties still apply however. What changes is the realtors’ role. They become more of a mediator and less of a fierce negotiator. They still owe both parties confidentiality, though disclosure gets a little tricky. I explain it to my clients like this, let's say I represent both the buyer and the seller. The seller says, "Suzanne, we are listing our home for sale at $225,000 but we would be happy with an offer of $200,000". I must keep that information confidential. Then the buyer comes along and says, "We are going to initially offer $175,000, but we would be willing to pay $200,000" I have to keep that confidential as well. I am the only one who knows the '-magic number' but I can't tell anyone! So, without disclosing anything to anybody my job becomes getting everyone to $200,000 or very close to that number so that everyone is happy.

By the way, both the seller and the buyer have to consent to my acting as a dual agent, and either one can refuse but since the listing actually belongs to my broker, and not to me, that too can cause problems if you are dealing with a very large brokerage because no agent in their entire organization would be able to represent you. I have had situations where my clients absolutely wanted someone representing them and them alone and contacted me for that purpose. Most of the time, though, clients don't have a problem with dual agency once it is explained to them, as long as they know their agent is trustworthy and understands what they can and cannot do in that capacity. But I do also understand the pitfalls.

In my office, when faced with these situations, we have another agent step in for the purpose of negotiating the price. If home inspection issues arise, we ask that same agent to step in temporarily to negotiate those as well. It's a good compromise.

Realtors’ adhere to a code of ethics that requires us to put the best interests of our clients ahead of anything else, including our own interests. And, with only a few exceptions, I think we are a pretty honest and ethical group. If you feel your best interests can be represented by the sellers’ agent, then by all means feel free to use them as your agent as well. If not, then find yourself a good buyers’ agent. It’s really up to you.
0 votes
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Wed Apr 18, 2012
Absolutely, positively you should never go direct to the listing agent unless you really want to make their day and don't care about getting representation.

North Carolina permits "Dual Agency" One agent in the middle working both sides of the transaction. The only person well represented under dual agency is the agent and you the buyer and their original client the seller have nothing but a greedy agent in the middle whose only thought is, "What can I do to get these two knuckleheads to agree so I can keep all the money" Dual agency should be abolished, it's a conflict of interest and any one who says otherwise is not being truthful.

However it is legal and actually standard operating procedure here in the Triangle and North Carolina. I haven't yet met an agent (unless they work at my office) who doesn't do dual agency. Our office prohibits one agent working both sides and if the situation arises where an agents buyer wants to pursue one of their listings that agent is pulled out of the transaction and another Broker is assigned to the Buyer and a second to the Seller each of whom know nothing about the other party. This is referred to as “designated agency” and we believe it's in the best interest of the company's clients.

I've attached a link below to one of my more popular blogs here on Trulia on how to find a great agent.
0 votes
Nina Harris, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Apr 18, 2012
Buyer's Agent - You are the client and the agent works in your best interest.

Listing Agent - Seller is the client and the agent works in the best interest of the seller.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
In My Neighborhood in Bellerose Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more