Andrea, Home Buyer in philadelphi

Can I make an offer directly with the seller's agent, leaving my (buyer's) agent out?

Asked by Andrea, philadelphi Wed Mar 26, 2008

I know it may not sound ethical, since he was the one who showed me the house; but I hate to have so many people involve in the process of my purchase of my house. I know they all got to eat, but I have to tell my agent a number, then my agent (buyer's) will tell the seller's agent, then the buyer...I mean, it is a very hard and difficult process that gives me headaches. I don't know who the seller is 'cause is some kind of develper's company, ...Can I go to the seller's agent directly to make an offer???? and also, can I legally do that??

Help the community by answering this question:


If you saw the house with your buyer's agent it would be unethical (not illegal) to do an end-run around him. There's no reason, however, that you couldn't tell your buyer's agent that you want to be directly involved with the negotiations, and ask him to set up a meeting with you, your agent and the other side (listing agent and seller).

You can present your case directly to the seller, the agents can sit back and watch, and you have your agent there, just in case you have a question.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Sounds like you might be a tougher negotiator than many people are! Good for you! Keep in mind that your agent is supposed to be working for you, and you can certainly ask to talk directly to the listing agent if you feel that is in your best interests. (remember that the seller may want to NOT be as involved and ask that you present the offer to their agent.)
Assuming that your agent is experienced, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and ask if there is some reason that he feels that offer is inappropriate. He may be working harder for you than it seems at first glance, and be able to explain why he is hesitant to make the offer you suggested.
If you don't get an answer that satisfies you, or if he is a newer agent, you might want to talk to him WITH his broker. The broker has many years of experience AND has the responsibility to oversee the agents in his/her office. That should get you some satisfaction, and hopefully a sucessful buy :-).
Thanks for asking. Hope that you are able to sucessfully complete this purchase and enjoy your new home.
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3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
It is funny how some buyer's don't "trust" their buyer's agent. Why did you bother going through him in the first place? Don't be offended but my comment but, it is not very nice to use his time and expenses for free. The commission is based on the purchase price? If some people wonder how is that working for them, perhaps they should get a calculator and find out how much more money are we talking about.
If you feel that you can negotiate better than your agent, it's fine just make sure that he is still involved in the transaction. Have him/her arrange a meeting directly with the seller's agent or better yet, with the buyer! There's nothing wrong with it and who knows, maybe his expertise in the business will come handy. After all, he was the one that presented the business opportunity to you right? So give him a little bit of credit. Good luck in your new home purchase!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
Procuring cuase is powerfull in every state. Just seen an agenthold up an escrow last month with a commission demand. It was either pay or hold up the esrow untill it can be settled in court. The seller will either pay or back out.If they have a written sale agreement thier going to win! This girl is not deserving of some of these negative posts. We are here to educate. Go to the Principal broker at the brokerage they will be able to help. Remember you have the right to write any offer you want. I would show you agent some of the negotiating tips, and the buyer should read about buyers agency law on
Justin Thayer
Team Thayer Keller Williams
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
Procuring Cause is one thing. That might entitle your agent to a portion of the commission, simply because they helped you find the home, and wrote the first contract. But if you feel that the agent is working against your interests (or not working hard enough toward them), then you, as the consumer, have the right to work with whomever you want.

I would strongly suggest that you go to this agent's managing broker (call his main line at the office and ask for the manager) and explain the situation, fully, calmly, and with any dates and documentation that you might have. Tell him/her that you'd like the manager to replace your agent with another agent from the office who WILL work hard for you and help you obtain this property, without denigrating your idea of the value of the home. If the manager can do that, it will resolve any procuring cause problems, because the office will deal with that issue internally.

If you'd rather not deal with the same office, you can fire your agent now, and go hire a different agent.. Make sure to explain the entire situation with this new agent and the managing broker of that office. The two different offices will have to negotiate some arrangement regarding which agent gets paid, and how much... but that too, should be internal, and not something you need to worry about.

Good luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 27, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
thank you for all your help. My problem is that I belive that my buyer's agent is not looking up for my best interest, in other words he is not fighting for the price I want for the house. I have my doubts about whether he even send the offer to the seller at allt. When I first told him my number he was not happy about my offer and he even said that the seller's agent was a tough one to deal with which kept me thinking about his ability to negotiate. I felt he was not bein agreessive enough as I would like or as I think I would be; specially when now it's a buyer's market. I offer 86% of the house value, he wanted me to offer 95%. The house has been on the market for over2 years now and the seller's has decresed its $50,000.00 under the listing price. I don't think I made a bad offer to begin with given the situation, I even got another agent to work with who agreed with my offer, but I had already made the offer through my first agent so I could not do anything. I don't know what to do now, 'cause I want the house but I got a bad negotiator... If I want that house do I have to do it through him regardless.?? how long do I have to wait to fire him... I am just not happy...
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
My first response is "why would you want to?" Elvis gave a very good response. If you would like to be more involved in the process, let your agent know. It CAN be "a very hard and difficult process that gives(people) headaches" as you say. IT still gives me headaches sometimes after more than 2 decades in the business, but I figure that if I work thru the headaches my clients don't have to. That's why you have an agent working FOR YOU!. They are looking out for your best interests and will negotiate on your behalf. ( I hope that you did sign a contract with them that spells out your what they are contracting to do for you, didn't you??) Help them to work for you. The pay that they receive should be considered money well spent if they are doing their job. (Most are!) Talk to them and explain your frustration at the process. Hopefully they'll be able to clarify what is going on and answer any questions you may have, and maybe speed things up.
It may also be that you do not realize that the listing agent is looking out for the best interest of HIS client- the SELLER, and is trying to get the very best deal he can for the seller. If you choose to go directly to the listing agent with your information and offer, you may be giving away your own negotiating position. I don't think that is your intent.
Good luck as you find that special home.
Hope that helps
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
It's always good Andrea, to have a licensed, professional on your side. That is your Buyer's Agent. Why would you want to enter a transaction without someone who is knowledgable and experienced in this "difficult process," working exclusively for you?
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 8, 2008
It is funny how some buyer's don't "trust" their buyer's agent. Why did you bother going through him in the first place?
Better yet, don't trust their own agent, who is looking out for their own best interest, but want to go thru the listing agent, who is looking out for the SELLER'S best interest.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
In reality, how much more or less do you think they would get? I do a great job for my buyers and from that, I get referrals. If I try to make them pay, let's say, $20,000 more for a place, first, it has to appraise if a mortgage is involved, second, it only makes me a few hundred more. It is not worth it in the end. Any agent that thinks it is will not be around very long. I will take more referrals over a few hundred any day!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
it isn't a headache when you had this agent take you around to represent you. My mother always said if you have to ask if its right or wrong its probably wrong. How would you feel if at your job you developed something for your boss and then were bypassed and removed from the process. We are licensed professionals and have rules and regulations to adhere to and this agent Represents you let them do there job maybe you'll be surprised. I am not an agent in PA but feel strongly about my chosen profession and my peers.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
Do you have a buyers agreement signed with your buyers agent. If you do you must get a release. If not your buyer agent can make the selling agent pay him commission. But more important then that it costs you nothing to use a buyers agent. They will protect you and have your interest in mind. The selling side is only looking out for themselfs. there could be leins, inspection issues, money whoes. and so on. Protect yourself and go with the buyers agent you will be better off in the long run. And if you want to move in quickly only the buyers agent is going to keep the sellers on track ....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
I wonder how this turned out.
Pretty much, if it doesn't sound ethical, and there's not a punch line somewhere in the story, it ain't ethical.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 24, 2009
why not set up a meeting with the seller and both agents to present your offer directly. My advise would be to make no impulsive decisions wait 24 hours before answering and keep it professional. Its a deal not a personal decision therefore don't let it become one.

Have your offer in writng along with evidence, supporting documentation, that you are financially able to meet the finacial requirements of this deal.Make sure your offer is not binding for at least 5 days and requires your ATTORNEYS review before it becomes binding..

After you meet with the seller talk with your agent and any others you respect etc., however don't be penny wise and pound foolish and forget to involve an attorney who specializes in real estate transactions.

In reading your posting I a sense a level of frustation that may cause you to act impulsively remember at the end both parties will agree or disagree and probably never see each other again.

Stay cool, use your agent, but seek competent legal advise before placing your signature on any binding offer.

Good Luck and if this isn't the right deal continue to look for the one that is.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 24, 2009
Next time - do not get an agent at all.

We DO need lawyers to use their knowledge and skills.

We do NOT need agents. You will still have to spend time processing the offers, looking for properties, figuring out the price to bid at, scheduling the viewings, examining the properties.

In my case, I had to find the property I wanted to lease myself, without the agent's help. The agent scheduled the viewing. The agent did the paperwork. She got 50% of monthly lease for that. Then she delayed the closing arrangements to the last week before possession.

If you can read and write and do business, do NOT hire an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 24, 2009
If you think it's confusing going through your agent, why the heck do you want to cut them out? These real estate agents live on their cellphones, and if you aren't down with buzz-buzz-buzz, keep your intermediary.

If you want to make an offer at 86% of listing, by all means go for it with your agent, and tell your buyer's agent my following anecdote. The first firm offer for real estate I ever tendered in my life was way back in 2002 on a tragically rehabbed trinity just off 3rd street (it was all fine and cute except the kitchen, with low end Home Depot cabinetry hung crooked, and open holes into the crawlspace) They asked 138K, I offered 100K. The BRT website showed me they had bought within the year for well less than that, unless it was a total junker and they had spent for structural work, I personally found my offer to be entirely fair. My agent was worried that would be insulting; the next day the seller's agent said "that's insulting" and a month later (after I had a different contract working) the sellers agent came back and asked my agent if I was still in the market. So I guess it wasn't insulting so much as the market telling a deluded dude what his property was worth. Stand by your guns, you know what your offer and limits are, and it's not so much your agent wearing down the buyer in this negotiation (I don't know what you are expecting in terms of "negotiating" from your agent - you are the alpha and omega for the entire offer, and your agent gets to deal with the photocopying and the phones and correct language for you) as you having a live, 3-day-to-expiration written cash money offer ready to move and get the moneypit off their hands. You should offer them speed and no complicated contingencies if you are lowballing, but the dollar amount is entirely in your control and don't let your agent tell you otherwise.

Your agent is making 3% on the deal, if this really offends you, keep them and ramp down to 81% and move forward with your life. It can be up to the seller to ask the two agents if they're willing to take a haircut to close the deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 18, 2009
Andrea, if you have a signed agent relationship contract you can go ahead, but the agent will still be able to obtain a commission.

However, you are not paying your buyer agent anything and your buyer agent is looking out for your interests. If you feel he or she isn't contact his or her broker and discuss why you feel your agent isn't performing or protecting your interests.

Your agent should be helping you and counseling you throughout the entire process. Have faith in your agent if they are worth their weight in salt.

Good luck!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
Andrea by doing this you leave yourself completely unprotected. You also put the other agent into a dual agency situation (not good for anyone). The selling agent has a responsibility to the seller and has a had a previous relationship with the client. You will get no better deal by dealing with the sellers agent directly. I strongly suggest you get an agent to represent you directly and for your own interests only. Your position is not at all a good one. Do the right thing get representation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 8, 2008
A realtors job is to represent his or her clients. And when you have a dual agent it is not always the best option. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of agents that can do a great job representing both, however it is always the better option to have your own representation. That being said, your realtor will be able to negotiate for you only. If you went through the sellers agent to do everything, they are not only representing you but also the seller, which some people do not like. In addition, if you have signed an exclusivity contract with your agent, they can technically collect a commission no matter if you use them to make the offer or not. Bottom line, if YOUR realtor shows you the property, it is in your best interest to use them.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 8, 2008
It is hard to trust that an agent is working for me, the buyer, when I know their commission is based upon the sale price. The higher the price, the more they get. How is that working for me?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008

In life you can do what ever you want, just as long as you can deal with the consequences. Without getting too long winded, it's unfortunate that you don't feel this agent has anything to bring to the table. A good agent can help guide you through the process because no matter how educated and knowledgable you think you are with buying real estate I guarantee you there is an Realtor out there that knows a heck of a lot more. It sounds like the second agent might be a better fit for you.

Whether you decide to use or not use your agent in the transaction you might not have a say whether they get to collect a commission on it. My guess is that the agent can already state a claim for "procuring cause" because they did show you the property and you showed a subsequent interest. Also if you signed a buyer broker agreement with that agent they might still come after you for the commission if you buy the property.

This has the potential of getting ugly quick so here is what I would do:
Contact the agent’s managing Broker (the manager of his real estate company). I would only deal with this person directly. Explain to him/her that you didn’t feel the agent was following his fiduciary duties to you and you are extremely unhappy with his performance. Tell the broker you are still interested in the house but do not want to use that agent. Here the Broker might recommend using another agent in their company. If you truly don’t want to work with that company any more just let the broker know and that you will also like to be released of any financial obligation to them or their agents. If you signed a buyer broker agreement I would ask them to cancel it.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 5, 2008
Interestingly enough, I help a gal from Philadelphia buy a home last year here in the York area and her name was Andrea. A buyers agent is well worth it!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 5, 2008
Your agent works for you! If you want to write an offer they cannot tell you no. They can give advise, or choose not to represent you, but not tell you what to write! As far as firing on this house they are the procuring cause so not gonna happen. Your agent can only be as aggressive as your offer. I am an agent in Oregon an extremely aggressive buyers and listing agent . My clients get the best deal possible. This is a market where buyers can get away with allot. I look at it this way. I just might have to sell this home in 6mo if something where to happen where my clients can't make the payments anymore. In this market price rules. Be sure to do some research before you work with your next agent. In the mean time tell your agent to get tough. The seller agent wont get you the best deal! They work for have a relationship and a fiduciary responsibility to the seller.
Justin Thayer
Team Thayer
Keller Williams
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
There is a reason buyer's agents exist. And "it's one more person you can pay" is not that reason. Why did you hire a buyer's agent in the first place if you feel that not only does she/he not add any value for you, but actually complicates the process and makes it, for you, worse?

Generally one of the big things a buyer's agent brings, is their ability and experience in negotiating. Obviously you don't feel your agent brings that or perhaps you feel like you could negotiate better than your agent ever will.

Once again though, why did you use an agent in the first place? Seeing how you are on trulia, you already know where to look for houses on the market, so you don't need an agent to tell you what's available. So, what did your agent have to offer that made you decide to work with one?

Regardless, if your agent still gets paid (ie. you just want to present an offer yourself, but don't fire your agent) you should be able to do it (even if your agent will wonder why you'd want to do it) if you fire your agent and go directly to listing agent (who will love you, twice the commission for them, though more work) then there might be some problems since your agent showed you that house, so they may have some objections to not gettign paid as they acted as a procurring cause (this depends on your state and a number of other factors)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
You could be "short-changing" yourself by not having your Buyer's agent assist you in your purchase.
You may be feel that it is an overwhelming process, but that is exactly why you would want to have your agent by your side.
I have in the past had face to face negotiaions on properties if the Buyer or Seller wished to do it that way. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Just have your agent clarify with the Listing agent that you wish to have negotiations taking place that way.
I just had another agent give me all her Buyer's terms "verbally" the other day, as they wanted to work things out, before putting it on paper. We got things worked out, and now have a written offer in hand. Whatever works for the situation.
Good Luck to you.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 26, 2008
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