Many home buyers have the misconception that when purchasing a new property it is much more beneficial for the buyer to seek representation through the listing agent. As an exclusive buyer’s agent myself, I’m here to explain why that is not the case.
First when selecting that perfect property you need to hire an experienced expert who is solely working for just you. Finding an agent who’s agenda is to get you the best possible deal is always the best way to go. I always tell my clients imagine if you were both a listing agent and buyers agent at the same time? How would you represent both parties equally and fairly? A perfect example is: trying to stay out of arguments between your two best friends because you know if you side with one the other will be hurt.
Something else to think about it is when collecting data for clients. It is imperative to pass along or include all data for a fair and accurate CMA (comparable market analysis). In some instances I have heard of agents deliberately leaving out some comparable properties in order to make the listing in question appear to be a better deal then it actually is. Furthermore, knowing your client’s needs inside and out is privileged information and if discovered by the opposing side could result in overpaying.
Another important aspect many overlook is if the agent acquires a listing they usually have created and established a great rapport with the seller already. This is usually because of previous work experience, referrals from family and friends, etc. – all leading to them thinking of the seller as their “real” client…Hence this is why they are called the “seller’s agent”.
One of the most commonly asked question I get in my initial buyer consultations is:
If I go directly through the listing agent will I get the property for less because the listing agent has twice the incentive to get my offer accepted?
The answer to this question is almost certainly false.
It would be false because the listing agent has a listing contract written up before the property is placed on the market where the commission is clearly stated. Whether or not the property is sold by the listing agent solely or with a buyers agent the commission is almost always the same percentage, usually about 5%. In all honesty, some contracts at most have a 1% deduction (not 2.5% typical buyers commission) if the listing agency does sell it solely but given everything else mentioned in this blog if you are not at least 1% ahead of the game by using a buyer agent then you may have chosen the wrong representation. Also it can be unsettling / unethical for the sellers agent because in markets like the Boston real estate market area which are currently “sellers markets” they know the property will sell quickly so them advising to sell the property a lot less then the initial asking price (which they came up with) could appear very upsetting and suspicious to sellers.
Bottom line, a good buyers agent will walk you through the process in full detail, help you realize what’s important and what’s not, and help you land a better deal on your new home.