Home Buying in 08536>Question Details

Twinkle, Other/Just Looking in New Jersey

Hi - what does a buyer need to do, to represent themselves when talking with a listing agent?

Asked by Twinkle, New Jersey Fri Dec 5, 2008

To amplify, i have come across more than one situation where i have inquired about a property as a prospective buyer and the listing agent insists that they should become your agent too - not just for that property but in general.
Also how do we know that 'a' particular agent is really the actual listing agent and not an agent of another agent ...

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Twinkle,

What you are talking about, and correctly trying to avoid, is dual agency. This takes place when the listing agency attempts to represent both sides of a transaction.

As a buyer, there is NO EARTHLY REASON for you to accept or consent to dual agency. Simply tell any agent you come into contact with that you will not consent to dual agency, do not want dual agency, and will have your own agent contact them if you are interested in pursuing the property.

A good listing agent will be HAPPY to agree to this. But the listing agent's happiness is irrelevant. You should ALWAYS have your own representation.

Here are some things you can expect from a good buyer's agent:

1) Your buyer's agent has the same goal as you: obtaining the property for the lowest possible price.
2) A good buyer's agent will look for trouble with the property that would cause you to lower your offer. These problems include physical problems, functional problems, and locational problems. After inspecting tens of thousands of properties, I will spot things you will miss. Things you will DEFINITELY want to know about before deciding on the correct offering price.
3) A good buyer's agent will look for trouble with the seller that would cause you to lower your offer. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, divorce, impending relocation, frustration with past deals falling through, the list goes on. The listing agent will NEVER tell you any of this. You need a good buyer's agent to cut through the BS and learn the truth about the seller's motivation.
4) A good buyers agent will help you explore the market effectively and waste as little time as possible looking at houses that won't make the cut. This means handling all the logistics of gaining access, scheduling showings, etc. In short, making it easy and fun to inspect your next home!
5) Transaction management. Once you finally find your home and get an offer accepted, there are a million traps and pitfalls to avoid prior to the closing. A good buyer's agent will be indispensable during this process. Analyzing the home inspection, dealing with the attorneys, handling the appraiser, dealing with the various trades if repair estimates become necessary, etc, etc.

And guess what this costs you? Zilch. The buyer's agent is paid out of the commission already agreed to by the seller. That's why dual agency is such a trap to be avoided. For no extra cost, you get your own representation. If you fail to get your own buyer's agent, what happens? The listing agent gets 2 commissions and you get ZERO representation. Does that sound like a terrible deal for you the buyer? Of course it does!

So to avoid this, retain your own agent before actively inspecting homes for purchase. You DO NOT have to sign anything! Simply interview agents and pick one who is experienced, highly qualified, and friendly!

It is vitally important to realize that special rules apply for new subdivisions. Most builders will pay your buyer's agent's commission. BUT ONLY IF YOUR AGENT SIGNS YOU IN ON THE FIRST VISIT! If you walk into a builder's sales office alone, you have pretty much lost your right to your own agent. The builders advertise and spend a lot of money on marketing. They will NOT pay a buyer's agent after the fact if you walk into their sales office alone.

So again we come to the same correct procedure as before. Retain your own agent FIRST before you do any physical shopping. It costs nothing. There is no obligation. You do NOT have to sign anything. You can dump your buyer's agent at any time if you feel they are not doing their job.

As far as what to look for in a buyer's agent:

1) Experience as a Realtor. You want someone who knows the ropes and will actually contribute to the deal by saving you time, money, and hassles.
2) A related skill is also good: A Realtor who also has experience as a home inspector, appraiser, or mortgage professional brings more to the table than someone who has only sold. For example, I've been an appraiser for 20+ years.
3) Full time Realtor: You do not want a part-timer or dabbler. You want someone who is in the trenches each and every day.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask on this forum or contact me via my profile.

And for further info on the pitfalls of dual agency, just Google "real estate dual agency" and learn the ropes!

Good luck!

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 5, 2008
No, telling a potential buyer that it is in his best interest to find an outside agent is in the best interest of my seller. My loyalty goes to the client who hired me. I am not going to compromise my loyalty and advocacy in order to collect 2 commissions. At this point you've demonstrated conclusively that you think dual agency is fine, so I suggest you stay with what you believe and I will stay with what I believe. It is a free country after all.

If a client trusts me enough to buy or sell through me, they deserve my undivided attention and undivided loyalty. That's what they can count on from me, and that's what they will get.

On a more personal note, I want to thank you. Thank you??? Yes, thank you. These dual agency threads have directly resulted in 3 clients signing on with me to handle their purchase. One was a $800,000 plus home that I closed in Ho-Ho-Kus. I owe it all to you, yet I don't have to pay you a referral fee! Thanks, and keep those arguments for dual agency coming!

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
No John, I do not "admit" I cannot act ethically in a dual agency. I assert that no one can, including you. You see, I do not define ethics by what NJ law allows. My standards are higher than that. The standards that allow dual agency are too low and need to be changed.

If someone comes into my open house and wants to purchase the house, I advise them that it is in their best interests to use a buyer's agent OUTSIDE my company.

I then explain to them why. Most of the time they do not want to buy the open house anyway. But they are usually quite shocked by my response. And they often end up retaining me to buy another home.

But if they do want to buy that home, they should go to Weichert, or Coldwell, or Re/Max and get their own agent.

Do many other agents do that? Frankly, no. They do what the law allows. Not good enough for me. I want this profession to be respected, not tolerated. One way to accomplish that is refusing the short term benefit of the double dip for the long term benefit of having my clients know that they can count on me for unfettered advocacy and protection of their interests. To me it's like a marriage: "Forsaking all others until settlement do us part".

4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
I can't speak for your state, but in North Carolina, when you contact the agent with the sign in the yard of the property you are interested in, you are most likely contacting the actual listing agent. The property is actually listed with that agent's firm. If you want buyer representation, why don't you interview several agents to see who is the best fit for you? I suggest asking around, maybe you know someone in the same area you want to move that has some recent experience with an agent. Word of mouth referrals from trusted recent buyers should be a good start.

BTW, agents love signs calls (when someone like yourself calls the number on the sign in front of the property for sale). You are a hot prospect... you are out looking for a home to buy! If you let them sell you the property they get both sides of the transaction, i.e, they don't have to split the commission with another agent. That's pretty selfish in my opinion, but that's human nature... who wouldn't want to get both sides of the commission rather than splitting it with another agent? A true buyer's agent puts YOUR interest before their own. A listing agent can be your buyer's agent for other properties not listed with their firm (in NC), but for anything they show you that is listed with their company, they are the seller's agent or sub-agent, or could be a dual agent... depending upon whether they represent you already as a buyer agent... Confused yet???

In North Carolina any agent you are working with MUST (upon initial contact) hand you (and explain) a Working With Real Estate Agents pamphlet which explains agency so that there is no misunderstanding who the agent represents. In sum... when contacting any agent, don't tell them anything that will put you in a potential negative bargaining / negotiating position, i.e., don't tell them you have a couple of million burning a hole in your pocket and you will pay anything for THAT house!

Hope this helps... A good real estate attorney can also advise you on this matter.
Web Reference: http://www.AgentOutlaw.com
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 5, 2008
Dunes, unfortunately, Twinkle probably lost interest a long time ago, such as it is with forums like these.

I have to agree that Dual Agency (in all of it's forms... ie: transactional) is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The sellers did not hire us to be "fair and even handed". They hired us to represent their interests. Suddenly changing horses midstream (for the sole purpose of enriching ourselves) is unacceptable and a complete betrayal of the marketing agreement we signed.

We can no longer advocate for them in negotiations, nor can we advocate for them regarding inspection issues. That is not why they hired us.

In those states (such as Illinois) that allow designated agency, we should do just as Marc Paolella suggests. Turn the buyer over to a "designated" agent (either within our company, if allowed by law, or in a different agency if necessary) to thoroughly and vigorously represent the buyer's rights.

If the buyer is adamant that they opt to represent themselves, then I would have them sign a form that indicates that "I am not their agent, and they are unrepresented"... but I would want to make sure they fully understand what rights they're signing away.

Good discussion (albeit a bit personal at moments).
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
John said in part.... "I act as a dual agent, yes even after explained to these clients what dual agency is and I sell the house and nobody gets ripped off, lied to, cheated, screwed or financially damaged. If fact, they end up referring people to me." They don't get advocacy either.

All forms of agency require honesty and no one should get lied to or cheated. That includes stating or implying to a consumer that there is no difference between single agency and dual agency when it comes to the effect on the transaction.

All agents in NJ KNOW there is a difference. Some agents find that fact inconvenient and so they claim there is no difference.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
Hi all, in a situation where the agent is the listing and selling agent themselves, dual agency presents the greatest challenge. In these situations, I am quick to offer the support of my manager or an associate to enter the process if the buyer or frankly, I, feel uneasy.

However, in situations in which I am selling a buyer I am representing a home that is listed by another agent in my firm, I feel no pull in any direction except the buyer's I am representing. I understand my role, it is to represent the best interest of my client, not my firm. And so in answer to the question, in a dual agency situation, am I truly representing the best interests of my buyer, the answer is a definite YES and if I think otherwise, I would insist on drawing in another resource.

Twinkle, by now you must be totally confused - read thoughtfully through and process all the information you have gathered here. Formulate your questions and identify any concerns you have and talk it through with the agent you feel most comfortable with. In fact, it is a long way from search to close, and the value of working with an agent you trust and respect cannot be overstated. In spite of what has been said here, I do not believe you need to sacrifice that agent relationship if the opportunity arises to buy a home listed by your agent or more broadly by his/her broker of record.

Creating urgency is one thing - but inciting fear or panic about price or any aspect of real estate dealing is not ethical or professional. Take a step back Twinkle and proceed calmly. Thanks again for getting the juices flowing here on Trulia, you've clearly hit a nerve.

Good luck to you and best,
Jeannie Feenick
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 8, 2008
Score card:
Company A lists seller A's home. Company A is the seller's agent.
Agent A is licensed at Company A. Agent A is an Agent of Company A which is the Agent of the seller.

Buyer B comes along and talks to Agent A (Company A has lots of agents - they are all Agent A). The Agent Buyer B is talking to is an agent of the listing company - not another agent. Agents are never agent's of agents. They are agents of companies which represent a seller or a buyer..

Companies may also represent a buyer. If they are representing a buyer that is interested in the home of Seller A though they are a dual agent.

The only way to be sure the agent is "YOUR: agent is if the company they represent does not also represent any of the seller's whose homes you may want to buy.

The only way to be absolutely sure is if 'your' agent is working for a company that only represents buyers and never sellers.

You may be able to find one (depending on what part of NJ your look in) by going to http://www.naeba.org , the website of the national association of exclusive buyer agents.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 5, 2008
Hi Buyers House,

With the 100's of answers to this question, I am sure you didn't get a chance to read all the replies :) I don't think anyone here was bashing Buyer agents at all. To comment on your post:

1) we discussed dual agency ad nauseum...it is LEGAL in NJ with proper disclosures. There was major disagreement with peoples views of this type of agency, but again in NJ, from the Consumer Information Statement we are required to provide to all clients from the very beginning, to the listing agreement and other addenda, there is plenty of info given to both buyers and sellers regarding dual agency and what we can and more importantly CANNOT do in this situation. The biggest disagreement, and to me the most disheartening, was how other agents inferred that ANY agent who finds themselves involved with this type of agency MUST be immoral, unethical and/or a liar.

2) we discussed buyer agency, seller agency and the fact that buyers can represent themselves when making an offer on a listed house (but suggested they get an attorney to do the negotiating for them)

3) I personally asked how agents from another state can give advise in NJ when clearly real estate rules and regulations vary from state to state.

4) I don't think anyone here gave legal advise per se...i think they just gave advise to someone who clearly needed information on how to procede if they wanted to represent themselves, but a few let their opinions get in the way of truth and fact.

5) we discussed how the selling agent wants to get the seller the highest price and the buyers agent wants to get his buyer the best "deal" (personally I hate that word, this is not E-bay) and why having an agent with experience represent you, on either side, is more often better than doing it on your own.

TO Twinkle: Please do not let some of the inane, uninformed, or outright nasty comments from people here give you the impression that all Realtors are bad or prone to attacking one another. Personally, I spent the first 23 years of my life working as a registered pharmacist. If any job in the world teaches you ethics and morals that is the one, and I have carried along those lessons into this new career. I know there are thousasnds of other Realtors who carry the same high standards along with them with every client. Who aren't afraid to ask a question if they don't know the answer. Who have, as I have done, tell their clients, I am not going to sell you a house just for the sake of making a sale. Who have treated every buyer and seller with equal respect and represented them to the best of their ability. All I can tell you is that we as Realtors sell homes and represent buyers or sellers more often in 6 months than "lay people" do in their lifetimes. We are experts in what we do and provide a service, and are one of the only professionals (other than pharmacy) who willingly give out advise without charging a consulting fee (try this with your attorney, physician or investment broker). Remember we only get "paid" if a transaction closes.
Whatever you chose as your course of action, I wish you good luck. Hopefully you have been able to glean the information you needed from this lengthy and often acrimonious discussion to make an informed decision.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
All Seller and Seller agents will agree to get the deal done.
patently untrue. Some sellers and seller's agents might agree... but ALL... ? not gonna happen.

and this one:
JR AGAIN lies! You are very unethical JR. You and I both know that the seller never even sees the commission money. Agents have taken their pound of flesh before it ever reaches the seller. You blatant lies will not protect your obvious attempts at cheating people out of their hard earned money. Go back to selling cars by the side of the road.
1st.. Patrick you are clearly not a Real Estate Professional. No Real Estate Pro would conduct themselves this way.

2nd. What if the seller is upside down... they've sold for $300,000, but they owe the bank $350,000 (and they're going to bring $50,000 to the closing)... so the buyer pays $300,000. The seller now pays the bank $350,000 PLUS they pay the Realtor $15,000. (and no, it's NOT with the money the buyer brought to the table... because that's already gone to pay the mortgage).

Yes, the buyer brings money to the table... but at closing it becomes the property of the seller (whether he SEES it or not) and the sellers determines where to spend it. That makes the commission paid by the seller.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
OK beating the dead horse YET AGAIN!!!

Patrick, I don't know about your state (Washington..which also brings to question why you are answering in a NJ forum when Real estate laws differ greatly by state) but here in New Jersey , the listing agreements we sign with SELLERS, IF they are Exclusive Right to Sell (ER) agreements state:

"SELLERS agree to pay BROKER a Sale Commission of (X%) ...if the sale or exchange, or lease of this property or any part of it is made by BROKER, cooperating agent, SELLERS, or any person during the term of this listing agreement." That means if it's a total X% commission, no matter who sells the house the SELLER is still responsible for payment of the FULL commission. (only to whom the monies get paid will change)

To say ..." (if a buyer represents themselves with no Realtor representation)...that leaves half of the commission on the table for either the listing agent to steal from the buyer, or the buyer to negotiate out of the sale price" is misleading. STEAL from the buyer?? Are you kidding...yes in a round about way the commission comes from the buyer through the purchase price but ultimately it's the seller who wisely choses a Realtor to market their home who pays the commission as a "fee for Service".

As a matter of fact, with all the work and time we as agents put into closing a transaction, (which we don't take into account and a lot of which no one ever sees or knows about) I would say that we earn every penny for what we do and getting to closing in a smooth, orderly way.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
First of all thank you John for the more realistic way of explaining the situation. I got a good chuckle out of that scenario. What I was trying to say but more succinctly. :)

Reading Natalees most recent post, she says that in her state, the listing agent represents the seller. I am assuming that means that in all cases the buyer has no representation unlesss they have an exclusive buyer representation agreement.

It's different in NJ and perhaps that's where the issue occurs. We have numerous disclosures that explain and henceforth ALLOW dual agency where we represent both buyer and seller equally. In ANY case I would expect the agent involved to behave ethically, and if need be exceed expectations of ethics whether its written (NAR/local/regional code) or not.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
I was at an open house a month ago at one of my listings. Buyers loved the house. Buyers decided they wanted to make an offer. I represent the seller and have been seeking to get the highest possible price for the house. The buyer wants to get the house for the LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICE. As the seller's agent, I CANNOT act as an advocate for both parties. It's illegal and unethical.
Do you find it impossible to explain to the buyer, just like you just did here, that you have been hired by the owner and that you will be working in the owner's best interest, and does the buyer understand that if there is anything that they do not want the seller to know, such as how high they are willing to go, they should not tell you because you have a duty to disclose anything you learn to the seller,and you can't give them any advice?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
You are apparently seeking 'trade' information without wanting an agent in the picture.........at least that is what seems to be the case.
That seems to be exactly the case. The poster wants (real estate agents to give them) a step by step explanation of what they should do. I think it is not out of line to ask why? Is this an effort to save money? If the poster goes to the listing agent, they aren't going to save anything, since the commission is determined by a contract between the Listing Agent and owner and has nothing to do with the buyer.

In addition, if the poster wants to use this information to say “hey there’s only one agent here, take a commission cut”, then they are going to use the free information they get (from read estate agents) in order to cut the salary of the listing agent!

Second question : "how do you know a particular agent is really the listing agent?" This indicates a mind boggling lack of knowledge about real estate, and tells me that even being given the step by step process they are asking for, the listing agent is going to do an astounding amount of educating and hand holding in this sale anyway.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
Hi Twinkle,

In a FSBO situation or any offer, you want to provide the Seller with a strong Pre-approval letter, when presenting your offer.

1. Pay for and order a preliminary Title report on the property, to make sure that what you are buying, is what you are buying.

2. Find a Home inspector to conduct an inspection on the home. ( Make sure that you have an Inspection contingency, in your offer ) This will be the best $ you ever spend and make sure that they are qualified and include a pest inspection as well.

3. Find an Escrow company to or Real Estate Attorney to close your transaction and that your Earnest Money is kept in a Trust account with the Closing Company.

4. Contact your Insurance Company to make sure that the home has never had an water claims, or anything else on the home. (This will also make sure that the home is Insurable ) Make sure that you have an Insurance contingency as well. You will also have to get an insurance binder, from your insurance company that the lender will have to have. ( This will be a funding condition )

5. Have the Seller fill out a "Sellers Disclosure" on the property. In some States like Washington, it is required.

6. If there are wells ( Well log and water test ) or On-site sewer systems ( pumped and inspected ) on the property make sure that they are inspected as well. ( These can be extremely costly to repair or replace )

7. If the property is a large parcel and they do not have a recent survey, then you should make sure that one is done and possibly make your Title policy an ALTA policy and in most cases requires a survey. ( A survey can range in price, depending on how complex it is....$1,200 and up, depending on if is an entire survey or possibly just a few corners in question. )

8. Make sure that you stay up on all dates in your contract, if not there may be a good chance that you could loose your Earnest Money if you do not close.

9. Make sure that the appraisal is done and stay on your lender to make sure that the Loan documents get to the closing agent in a timely manner. Also, stay in close contact with the lender to make sure that they have all the information that they need. You do not want to be in the 9th hour and have underwriting have you jump trough more hoops.

These are all items that that I mentioned a Realtor® or Real Estate agent will do and manage for you.

*** There are a lot of complexities to a Real Estate transaction, if you find them to be too complex. Then you need to find a Realtor® or Attorney to represent you. This could be worth the price and they will take care of all of the above and more.

I hope that this information was useful and helped to answer your questions.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
On December 7th in this thread John Sacktig said:

" There is nothing that a "buyer’s agent" can do differently for you then someone acting as a dual agent."

John has been consistent in this position. If he tells his clients that, he is lying to them. Further, he is violating New Jersey law which requires that the differences be explained to consumers.

It is clear that John believes his statement and it is disturbing that an agent would operate in such a fashion.

That there IS a difference is basic to fiduciary duties and agency relationships in every state.

Paul Howard, Broker
NJHomeBuyer.com Realty
Cherry Hill NJ 08002
MEMBER: National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 18, 2008
Marc -
it is a free country and you can believe as you see fit, I agree and I understand the psychological aspect of your need to pump yourself up publically after you have to bow out before you make any further contradicting statements with the beautiful thank you:

"These dual agency threads have directly resulted in 3 clients signing on with me to handle their purchase. One was a $800,000 plus home that I closed in Ho-Ho-Kus"

How much baloney can you stuff into that bag that you carry?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 18, 2008
IMHO when the majority of RE pros are saying each party needs to be represented by their own agent to ensure both parties interests are looked after, it's most likely something to consider. That this is a debated issue at all is what I find confusing. If I ever go to trial I don't think I'll be asking the DA if he can represent me too, even if he explains how there is no conflict of interest...
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
Still not thrilled, but at least if everything is in the open and the buyer is under no illusions about who the listing agent is representing, it would be an improvement over the dual agency system now in place.

The statement would have to include something like this: "You, the buyer, recognize and agree to the condition that the listing agent is an advocate for the seller, will promote the seller's interests, and will confer undivided loyalty to the seller. You, the buyer, recognize and agree that you are entitled to honest and ethical treatment, but your interests will not be protected or advanced. You, the buyer, are entitled to and have been advised to seek out your own independent representation, but you have elected to forego this right and all benefits connected therewith".

Of course, lawyers will have to draft the actual language, but it will go something like that.

If after all that, they STILL want to go forward, then OK, I'll give in. But who would? It makes no sense to give up your rights and the benefit of a second set of professional eyes to oversee the transaction. I am an agent and know what I'm doing, but I would still want a good agent involved if I were a principal in a real estate transaction.

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
This has turned in to a very informative Q&A. I hope Twinkle will let us know what she thinks..

I'm not that knowlegible about RE but I would wonder about the motivation of an agent representing both parties. It seems as if that senario would mean only the agents interests were being protected.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
To John Sacktig,

In NY for single agency you owe your client undivided loyalty. You can legally do dual agency, but only after informing both the buyer and seller that they are forfeiting their right to undivided loyalty. They also have to give their explicit written permission for doing so. But if they both truly understand the consequences of it, why would they want to? The agent gains an extra commission, but what does the client gain?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
No John,

Dual agency is a game for hustlers. Not professionals. I recommend that the buying public read this thread completely, google "dual agency" and select their agent accordingly.

Dual agency is one big reason why the general public regards real estate agents on par with used car salesmen.

It will one day be illegal here, like it is in Florida and other states. Only then will the hustlers be forced to amend their bad practices.

Until then John, do the hustle, I guess....

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
It would be good to remember that state laws vary.
New Jersey is not a designated agency state so the broker of record cannot name one of his/her agents as a buyer agent and one as a seller agent.
In Pennsylvania, which is a designated agency state, the broker can name one agent a buyer agent and one a seller agent but the broker of record is still a dual agent.
Both NJ and PA permit DISCLOSED dual agency.

Florida is very different from either Pa or NJ. Florida does not permit dual agency disclosed or not.
More information on Florida agency law can be found at:

Paul Howard, Broker
811 Church Rd Suite 111
Cherry Hill NJ 08002
Member: National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/paulhoward
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
Interesting reading for real estate buyers:







Buyers who read and think for themselves will correctly choose agents who put their interests first, and their short term commissions second.

And guess what? Agents who throw away double dips will earn ten times more from clients who can trust them and will use and refer them in the future.

Double-dipping is not only unethical, it's just plain stupid.

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 8, 2008
Sorry John,

It does not matter where you are from. If you are representing both sides of real estate transactions, you are engaging in immoral and unethical conduct, I don't care what the official rules allow.

You can't whitewash it or explain it away. If you are representing both sides of real estate transactions, you are hurting the public, your buyers, your sellers, and ultimately, yourself.

There are no ifs, ands, or buts. There are no gray areas or foggy uncertainties.

I think you are making a big mistake by admitting in a public forum that you are willing to do this. I think it destroys your reputation and buyers reading this thread will want to avoid you.

There's just no way around it. Agents who represent both sides of real estate transactions are bad agents.

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 8, 2008
Thank you for that comment...appreciate it.......I'm all for making this business more transparent.

Bringing in a manager or colleague or broker, in case of a conflict of interest on your part as a dual agent,..........still keeps that indivdual in the capacity of a transaction facilitator at best.
And there is still a dual agency that exists.

To tell the buyer that they now have someone impartial handling their transaction may be correct, but to tell them that they now have buyer representation is not.

Unless you are referring the buyers to another agent outside of your agency of affilliation........the relationship is still of a dual agency, isn't it ?

The only reason I see why a real estate agent would want to act as a dual agent is the double comission.
Won't talk about production here.

To Twinkle:-

There is no reason for any confusion.

You can see any listing via your own agent.

If you call on a listing or visit an open house, just let them know you have your own agent.

Develop a relationship with 1 agent who will work for you as a "buyers agent only"
You do not need to sign an exclusive buyers aagency form to establish this relationship.

Be as loyal to this agent you select as he/she is to you.

Respect them as a professional......Get references if you'd like to be sure of the expertise they claim.

You will know in your first few conversations / meeting if there is a good chemistry ....knowledge of the local market & financing.........alll necessary to get off to a good start.

Now, hope you're getting the ball rolling with all the info provided here.

This is a great time to buy if you have good access to credit & have a stable employment ( that sounds like an oxymoron, but you know what I mean :-))

Get preapproved as a first step to figure out your comfort zone.

We've had quite an exhaustive discussion. Hope it has helped you.
Web Reference: http://www.SoldByShalu.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 8, 2008
Agree with Marc............I would ask John & Jeanne & others if dual agency is in the client's BEST interest.

Besides acting as a go between- --an impartial facilitator......a dual agent cannot acutally 'Represent" the buyer's interests , esp at the 2 most important times during the transaction......The negotiation & the home inspection.

If the buyer wants the property at the lowest price that the seller is willing to accept, how is the dual agent going to handle this?

The buyer's goal is not necessarily a win-win for all parties concerned.

Buyers.....if this is what the agent you hire propounds..fire him/her.

The agent you hire is supposed to get you the LOWEST price the seller is willing to accept......not what makes all parties happy.

Secondly during home inspections, the agent's role IS to bring to attention any vsible problems that an inspector may omit to put down in the report as a concern.

This HAS happened to me a few times, that in walking thorough the home, answering the buyers questions the inspector has forgotten to omit something or .........and I have reminded them.

First time buyers are not aware of what issues to look for...........yes they hire an inspector, but this guy is human.........he can make mistakes or omissions.

And, to say that an agent cannot make any decision for the buyer/seller after the contract goes to the attorney's..............this really comes down to what level of trust exists between the realtor/client & more importantly the value the agent themselves see, bringing to the table.

As long as I am not overlapping the scope of the experts advice.............since I am not an attorney or a lender or an inspector...............I AM the clents Advisor.

And the job I was vested with was to protect the cleint from the pitfalls of the transaction AND get them the BEST Results.............NOT protecting my comission form the pitfalls of the transaction.

Dual agency may be practised ethically, but it does NOT serve the best interest of a client.........buyer OR seller.

I do feel that we, as real estate practitioners, bring our own personalities & beliefs in how we choose to conduct business.
We are all independent professionals & since our experiences vary......so do our impassioned opinions.:-)

Ultimately, please educate yourself about who is representing you & in what capacity.

Find out what expertise or specialization do they posess to best help you get what you want.

It is ALL about expectations...........your's & your agent's should match, in order to get the best results for YOU !

Good luck !
Web Reference: http://www.SoldByShalu.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 8, 2008
Quote: "There is nothing that a "buyer’s agent" can do differently for you then someone acting as a dual agent."

This statement is so tragically wrong that to properly express my disagreement would require language that I do not like to see in print.

A "dual agent" cannot legally advocate for the buyer. A "dual agent" cannot reveal information about a seller that would lead to a successful lower offer by the buyer. A "dual agent" cannot aggressively look for problems with the real estate and/or location that would lead the buyer to make a lower offer or avoid the property altogether.

The use of a dual agent by a buyer is a BIG MISTAKE.

Which is why it is illegal in many states and will probably one day be illegal in all states.

Advice to all buyers:
1) Never call the agent on the sign or in the Internet ad
2) Never call the listing agent for a showing
3) Always have your own agent lined up before visiting any real estate
4) Always tell the representative at an open house that you will be using your agent and do not want dual agency
5) When visiting new construction sales offices, ALWAYS have your agent with you in person to sign in. Or else you will lose the right to representation paid out of the commission.
6) In short: Never agree to dual agency, never sign a consent to dual agency, always have your own representation.

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 7, 2008
All the buyer here needs to do is to but in his offer that 1/2 of the commission of the original whole commission the Seller was going to agree to with her agent by reduced and that credited to the price. Not hard. Totally legal. All Seller and Seller agents will agree to get the deal done.

Maybe Twinkle can copy that wording and add it to their offer: "1/2 of the commission of the original whole commission the Seller was going to agree to with her agent by reduced and that credited to the price."

LOL I can just imagine writing an offer with this in it. It makes absolutely no sense at all. You probably don't even think you need an atty.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
Yes, the buyer brings money to the table... but at closing it becomes the property of the seller (whether he SEES it or not)
How silly "Patrick" is, and how obvious that he is not an agent. Let's say the seller nets 700,000 from the sale and buys himself a 400,000 home. Did the buyer also purchase the seller's new home? I "get" the concept that the buyer brings the money to the closing, however I have always supected that the argument was devised because when buyer's agents came into vogue, some seller's balked at paying someone who didn't represent their own best interest so people explained that THEY weren't paying them, the BUYER was. I have never bought that concept. I prefer the concept of "who cares, do you want to sell your house or NOT?!" They should pay the agent because it's in the seller's best interest to SELL THE HOUSE, who cares where the buyer came from?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
I believe that the long "debate" raging here is a clear indication that all too many have way too little to do with their time. I suggest that everyone go out and work with a client and quit wasting time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Thank YOU Twinkle for the thank you to Natalee and I. You got a lot of info and there were some heated debates but all in all I think you finally got enough information.

Questions are never wrong, stupid or anything else.

Good luck and I hope we (well most of us) gave you what you need to make an informed decision no matter what you decide. :)

John, I too got a chuckle on the ass. broker....I needed a good laugh. Sorry Jill, it does read funny even though we got what you meant. :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
Alright.. the 12 year old in me is laughing way too hard...

"I am an ass. broker in NY."

Sorry Jill.. I know... I know... :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 1, 2009
I am an ass. broker in NY.The answer to your question is ,an agent that represents the seller can represent you too ,the buyer,as long as they disclose thet they represent the seller,in that case the agent becomes a DUEL agent.if you do not feel right about it,then you can ask for another agent to represent you the buyer.
Jill Ofer
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
If someone asks a questions they should be prepared for honest answers. Even if they don't agree with them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009

Thanks Natalee (Thurston) and Mary (Petti) who specifically answered both of my questions (one on what steps, and the other on understanding who 'actually' represents the seller).

This is what i was actually expecting right from the beginning - a simple understanding of the steps involved 'in case' i wanted to represent myself ... of course that's not necessarily what's going to happen :-).

I've never been afraid to ask something i do not know or understand and we teach our kids the same. I was surprised by one rude response - "This indicates a mind boggling lack of knowledge about real estate".

This is like the attitude of that character in 'Dallas' and reminds me of the listing agent who tried absolutely forcing me to sign her up as my agent on the basis of one short meeting or call. This is a public forum - If someone does not like a polite question seeking knowledge, they should not waste their time posting a response.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 28, 2009
Perhaps we are reading too much into the question. I think Natalee actually discussed this in one of her posts as well.

If the buyer sees the house with the listing agent and then wants to represent himself in the sale (IE submiting a contract on his own) he/she can do so. How (and if) the broker gets paid, and who does the negotiating of that contract depends on the type of listing agreement, ER or EA.

Minimally a buyer doing this should have an attorney representing them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009

I speak for myself and outline my own conduct. Buyers and sellers who sign on with me get MY ethics and MY code of conduct.

Just like buyers and sellers who sign on with you get yours.


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director
Member, Worldwide ERC
Licensed Realtor NJ
Licensed Appraiser NJ & NY
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Agent of the Year 2008
Owner: Sands Appraisal Service, Inc.
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
web: http://www.marcpaolella.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Here we go again...

I have a question. Is this just your opinion regarding dual agency -or- does the office of Century 21 Joe Tekula
answer the phone on their own listings and refer them all to Weichert?

I wonder how that goes... HHmmm..

Ring -ring: Good morning Century 21 Joe Tekula, how may I help you?

House buying customer: Hi, I would like to see your listing on Blah-Blah street.

Century 21 agent: I'm sorry, it would be unethical for us here at Century 21 Joe Tekula to discuss that with you, as you know we do not believe we can act ethically in a dual agency situation, please call Weichert Realtors down the street ... I am sure they can help you! Have a nice day!

The arguement = Baloney
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009

I think we agree that it is not always in the best interest of the buyer, (I even stated that in my previous post). You just said it more forcefully. I agree I don't want to have it happen, and as such NEVER do my own own houses, and 100% of the time refer a buyer to another agent if they call my office inquiring about my listings. I have had that happen numerous times with my listings.

However, if someone calls my personal cell phone about my listing it's hard to tell them you don't want to work with them because of dual agency. Most buyers don't understand that when you first explain it to them. All they hear is they called an agent who doesn't want to work with/for them. Also, the chance that dual agency will become an issue in this case us usually slim. Let's face it, listings bring in buyers. To refer them away every time they call you on one of your listings is not the best for business on the off chance that dual agency will come into play. However I don't agree that once a buyer shows interest in your listing you immediately refer them t someone else.

What I was saying is that IF the situation occurs, to quote you " A good agent needs to take control of their own business and EXCEED the ethical standards", is it possible (but to me not preferable) to move the transaction along as long as everyone is informed up front. I pride myself on being of the highest moral and ethical standards, as I am sure you do, and take my job and responsibilites very seriously. My company has strict rules to enforce this, with full disclosure about what we can and cannot do, and I make every effort to explain it to my clients. This is also why we have the CIS paperwork we must give all potential clients right from the get go, and I have a printout explaining in plain English what dual agency is.

Again I think we are in agreement that is not the best situation, but I still think we can make if work if it does occur.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 27, 2009
Twinkle -

I see that you are still around.

Regarding FSBO's, When I have a client that is with me and we see a house that is FSBO I knock on the door and ask if they will work with me @ 3% commission. 99.9% agree and are happy to get a buyer into their home.

Either way, the answer is still the same, you can work with whomever you wish.

In NJ you can call the listing agent to see a home. In NJ ALL AGENTS are buyers agents and sellers agents with the possibility of becoming a dual agent.

As far as the steps to selling a home, Email me and I can send you an outline that I have that takes you from beginning to end of a transaction.

John Sacktig
Broker / Manager
Orange Key Realty
Office: 732-863-6969
Cell: 732-213-1409

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
Twinkle... I'm impressed that you're still here after all this time, and glad that you found the "discussion" educational.

What you "need to do" is going to vary depending on your location, so I'm going to let the "New Jersey" agents respond directly to that. Other than to say, when you view the home, let the listing agent know that you do NOT want them to represent you, you will be representing yourself. They will likely have you sign a form of "no agency" or perhaps a form called "ministerial acts".

Regarding commission if you're unrepresented, and you want to purchase a FSBO. In that case there IS no commission. There is no realtor on their side, and there isn't one on YOUR side, therefore no commission to be paid.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 25, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

Every state is different as to how "dual agency" is handled, and whether or not it is even acceptable. So I'll certaily defer to your New Jersey agents with regard to the "legality" of dual agency. It is legal here in Illinois, so we do, on occasion, find ourselves in that situation as well.

However, the LEGALITY of dual agency aside, here is what I tell buyer and sellers alike with respect to dual agency:

*** Unless you have an EXCLUSIVE agreement with a realtor who is representing your interests, do not disclose anything to a seller's agent (or anyone else) about your MOTIVATION (how soon you need to be into a new property), your FINANCES, your CREDIT (particularly if there are challenges), etc....and do NOT let them know if you have a HIGH interest in the property.

All or any of that information can be used against you in negotiations...so those are items you want to keep private.

*** Irrespective of the fact that in a given state dual agency may be perfectly legal, NO BUYER is required to accept a seller's agent as their own if they are interested in a particular property. BUYERS HAVE A RIGHT TO THEIR OWN, EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATION, should they choose to exercise that right! DON'T EVER LET ANY AGENT PRESS YOU into a dual agency situation. Dual agency is not for everyone, and you do have every right to exclusive representation!

In the event you DO decide you love the house, that you feel very comfortable and have trust and confidence in a particular agent who also is the listing agent, that agent should be cautioning you as to what information they will or will not be able to share with you about the seller....and what they will or will not share with the seller about you! If, after being informed of your rights and risks, you still feel comfortable with the situation, it certainly CAN be done ethically and professionally. You simply need to understand what the risks are BEFORE jumping in.

Most of the time, when you see a particular property with a listing agent, that property winds up NOT being what you want. At that point, if you're not already represented, if you feel comfortable and confident in the listing agent and you want them to represent you going forward, by all means. The important thing to remember is that the agent you choose is responsible for helping you through the largest single investment of your life. Care should be taken to select someone to help you who is competent, skiled, ethical, and worthy of your trust!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 22, 2008
Hi Clif,

I do the same for my buyers here in northern NJ, but I receive my commission from the proceeds of sale. Keep in mind though that the average selling price here is north of $500,000 so a 5 or 6 percent commission is more than enough to pay both sides of the transaction. If I were dealing with $220,000 homes, my pricing would be similar to yours.

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 20, 2008
I don't think any thread is really mature until the answer count is at about 300. Unfortunately, Twinkle is now approaching retirement and considering a 55 and over community...

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 18, 2008
It is at moments like this that I wonder where the "twinkle" has gone - Happy Holidays all, I think we have collectively driven this one into the ground.

Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 18, 2008
Hi John,

You asked for a delivery of bologna. Here it is:


The buyer came to me as a direct result of dual agency threads.

Oh and I am not bowing out. I'll be here correcting your misstatements and protecting the citizens of Gotham for years to come!

Web Reference: http://www.marcpaolella.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 18, 2008
We, here in Illinois, actually have a form called "no agency" ... which spells out that the listing agent represents the seller, and cannot advise the buyer in any way shape or form.

Or, of course, we could have them sign a form indicating that the listing agent is performing "ministerial acts"... (like showing the property) which does not interfere with his obligations to the seller, and in no way means that they are representing the buyer...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Ask, the agent these questions; Who, What, When, Where,Why &How
Who are you?
What can you do to help for me
When can you help me
Why would you help me
Where can you help me
How can you help me

Have them put all of answers in writing. Based on the replies you receive you could a find a good agent.
A good agent is a great asset in finding the right property.

Read Jack Schlenk Blog Appraisal Value or Market Value = Sales price and other articles.
Web Reference: http://WcuAppraisals.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
I would never recommend using the same agent for the buyer as for the seller. NEVER!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
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