Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Common Myth - Working with the listing agent will give you an edge...

There is a common assumption out today with many buyers that if they use the Listing Agent of the property they desire for their representative not only will they be able to get the property easier - but they will also get a better deal. Many think if the list agent represents both the seller and buyer that he will cut his commission in order to pass savings along to the buyer as gratitude for signing with him. The first thing one needs to know is that the commission on any house is decided/ fixed in a contract long before any buyers ever enters the property so that 6% is coming off the top no matter what. The goal of every agent is to make money on the properties they represent. When one is fortunate enough to cover both ends of a transaction - all there is to do is claim the whole commission for oneself. Not many Realtors will give up half of their commission for a buyer - especially when they are in the type of market where others are waiting to purchase the property.

I'm not convinced having the list agent as a duel agent is in any buyer's best interest. When an agent agrees to list a property, his duty is to fulfill the best interest of the seller in that transaction. Sure, he would also have the same responsibility to the buyer but how adept is anyone at debating and negotiating with oneself? The best one could hope for in duel representation is a compromise somewhere in the middle. I'm pretty sure I would rather have an outside agent representing me and not conceding my interest just to push a sale through. As for having an edge on the competition, one would be hard pressed to find any seller who would take a lesser offer because his agent represents the buyer and is advising him to do such. Would you? In fact, I would be very skeptical of my agent's motivation. It's plain and simple - the best offer will be accepted no matter who is representing whom.

Overall, the person you decide to represent you in any home transaction should be someone you feel confident will represent YOUR best interests. Buyers should review their agent's performance during the process leading up to the act of submitting an offer. Are they answering/returning phone calls and emails in a prompt manner? Are they properly advising you on the homes you are viewing - pointing out upgrades or potential problems? Do they know the market and how fast the homes are selling? There are no fool proof ways of getting around the sales process but having a knowledgeable, competent agent is your best bet.