Buyer’s Agent, Listing Agent and the Dual Agent – Who should you trust?
Why You Should Use a Buyer’s Agent
It’s important that you choose an experienced agent who is there for you. Your agent should be actively finding you potential homes, keeping you informed of the entire process, negotiating furiously on your behalf, and answering all of your questions with competence and speed.
First, find an agent who represents you and not the seller. This is beneficial during the negotiation process. If you are working with a buyer’s agent, he or she is required not to tell the seller of your top choice. In addition, he or she is also focused on getting you the lowest asking price.
Also, when you use a buyer’s agent, you will see more properties. Not only are they plugged into their Multiple Listing Service, but also they are actively finding homes that are listed as FSBO, or homes that sellers are thinking about listing.
Be Wary About the Listing Agent
Traditionally, buyers would stop at a house for sale and be shown the property by an agent sitting there. But the problem with that method is that the agent sitting there is usually the listing agent. And in most cases, he or she represents the seller.
Be careful about what you say to a listing agent. A listing agent’s role is to find a buyer, and to get as high a price and as good terms as possible for the seller. He or she is required to inform the seller of any facts that may influence the seller’s decision about whether to accept an offer or not.
For example, if you mention to the listing agent how much mortgage you are qualified for, don’t be surprised if the seller knows too.
Always keep in mind that you want the lowest price and the best terms. If an agent is not directly working for you, they could very well be working against you.
Be Careful of the “Dual” Agent
Some agents will represent both buyers and sellers; they are called “Dual” agents. In many cases, the same agent will list the property and submit your offer. In fact, they are required by law to remain confidential with both clients. There is nothing legally or ethically wrong here, however it is hard to understand how the agent can negotiate to the best of his or her ability on your behalf. Instead of becoming a negotiator, they often play the role of mediator.
It is easy to assume that no agent can represent buyers and sellers as well as an agent who declares for just one party or the other.
Buyers and sellers opt to use “Dual” agents to get a savings in commission. An agent who represents both buyers and sellers doesn’t have to split the commission with other agents and may be willing to throw in some of that commission, which, in effect, will get you a reduced price.