I am always scratching my head when I hear a buyer say I only work with the listing broker and often ask them why do you want to only work with the listing broker? Do you think you will get a different level of service? Do you think the agent will do a better job if they are the listing broker for the listing of interest? Do you think you’re going to save money working with the listing broker?
When you’re working with the listing broker the buyer must realize the listing broker doesn’t work for you they work for their seller. If you’re the buyer the seller agent will be respectful to you and will try to do their best, but they are not working for you the buyer they are working for the seller. When you work with a buyer’s agent, that agent sole responsibility is to protect you and your interest in the sales transaction. Working with a buyer’s agent they could care less about the seller unless it harms the buyer.
Working with a buyer’s agent can save you a lot of time. When you work for a buyer’s agent they not only have access to all inventory on the market, but they might know of a listing coming on and might be able to give you a heads up the listing is coming down the pike before it even hits the open house market. This can be helpful when it’s an in-house listing. The listing broker might be able to discuss the listing to there in-house agents, but might be told they can’t post it in MLS. This is often called a quiet listing.
Working with a buyer’s agent as I said they have no loyalty to the seller. Their loyalty is with you so they can be very honest with you. A Seller agent whatever they disclose to you they must disclose to every single person that walks thru the door so they might not be forthcoming with some information knowing they must disclose it to all future parties. Some buyer’s agents do more research on listings then the listing agent does. You never know you could be working with a listing agent who doesn’t know the neighborhood at all and the buyer agent might work more in the neighborhood so they might be able to help you more or ask questions you might not think to ask.
Buyer’s agents can effectively negotiate an offer and have knowledge of contracts. I will never forget the time I represented a buyer in the North End and the listing agent who was also the owner never disclosed in MLS that she was also the owner, and she had no clue on procedures, forms and her lack of knowledge almost prevented the buyer from closing. The buyer looked for guidance from me their buyer’s agent to help the seller agent get the deal done. Had this buyer been working with seller agent directly they would have missed the knowledge that I had as the buyer agent. Most listing brokers have knowledge on how the transaction should go but don’t think working with the listing broker you’re going to get the same level of interest in the transaction. Some agencies do not even allow dual agency since they feel the buyer doesn’t get the same level of service as they would if they had a buyer agent who worked for them and the listing broker worked for the seller. Other agencies don’t allow dual agency which is what you have to agree to when you’re working with a listing broker. The listing broker is representing you and the seller in the transaction. Some feel there is a liability when you enter into a dual agency as well.
Working with a buyer agent costs you nothing. The seller pays the commission, not the buyer. The only person who makes less money in the transaction is the listing agent instead of collecting 6% or 5 % they are collecting 2.5% or 3%. Again you don’t pay the broker fee the seller pays it. At the end of the day, the transaction is about service. It’s a lot easier to have two agents balance their roles in a transaction versus having one agent do both. The seller most likely isn’t going to get shortchanged it will be the buyer. I often think about my clients if I was in their shoes and if I was in their shoes I would rather have one agent represent the seller and I would represent myself the buyer but if I wasn’t an agent I would never want to work with the listing broker representing my interests I would seek out an agent to be my buyers agent. I want everyone on my team working 100 percent for me not 50% me and 50% seller.
I want to know the investment I am making has a person attention 100 percent. Yes, working with a listing broker you might know of a listing a few hours before it hits the market, but in a hot market they might be telling all their clients who want to work with listing brokers only, and really how much of an advantage is that. Some listing brokers will do the right thing and submit all final offers to the seller and leave it up to the seller, but others will just come back to the one person who offers the most and never give the other parties a chance to counter. I would be annoyed if I was only working with a listing broker and they never gave me a chance to counter. Yes, I could have the same situation play out working with a buyer agent, but I would be less annoyed since I would feel a false sense of an edge working with a listing broker versus feeling I am on equal playing field working with a buyer agent. End of the day it’s about service and making sure all your needs are met every single step of the way. If you’re in the market to buy a new home or have some questions about this blog entry or about buying a home. I am always free to speak to current and future clients looking for a buyers agent who will put their needs first.