Monday, November 9, 2009

2 people a homebuyer should never talk to

There are two people a homebuyer should never speak to until safely ensconced in their new home. The first is the listing agent. The second is the seller.

Even though the vast majority of homebuyers still use an agent when it comes time to buy a home, many now prefer to shop for a home themselves on the internet before ever consulting/hiring a Realtor. Generally speaking, I consider this to be a good thing. Where some buyers make a mistake, in my opinion, is in directly contacting the listing agent of a home that interests them rather than hiring a buyer's agent to get more information about the home. Here's the problem with that scenario.

The listing agent is HIRED BY and REPRESENTS the SELLER. The listing agent is legally and morally bound to work in the best interests of their client, Mr./Mrs. Seller. Talking to the listing agent (and/or the seller) puts you at a DISADVANTAGE because you are likely to give away information that will help the agent get more money for the seller. If, for example, the listing agent realizes that you have fallen in love with the house, or that you can well afford to pay the full list price, the agent will use this information to the seller's advantage while negotiating the contract.

This is not a situation where you are cutting out the middle man. The listing agent CANNOT give you a better deal/price than you would otherwise receive. Quite the opposite. You are likely to end up paying MORE for the home because the added information gives the seller the upper hand.

Think of it this way. Talking to the listing agent of a home you want to buy is like talking to the prosecuting attorney in a court case where you are the defendant. You don't want to inadvertently give away information that may help convict you!

When you find a home that really interests you, THAT IS THE TIME to find and hire your own agent, who will work for YOUR best interests. Let the professionals do the haggling. That's what we are paid for and that is how we can best help you.

It is possible for both the buyer and the seller to agree to be represented by the same agent (who then earns a double commission), but do you really believe the agent can work for the best interests of two different parties?

Have questions about the role of a buyer's agent? Give me a call for a free, no-obligation, no-pressure consultation. 206-708-9800.