buyers agent

Buying Through the Listing Agent … Get a Better Deal?

Buying Through the Listing Agent … Get a Better Deal?

Do you really get a better deal if you’re buying from the listing agent?

As a Realtor I work with either sellers or buyers but almost never both in the same transaction.  One Real Estate “Urban Legend” that comes up fairly regularly is that it is better for you to buy a house directly from the listing agent. The belief is that you will either get a better deal on the price or actually get a reimbursement or kickback from the agent because they are getting “both sides” of the deal.

As a consumer, you have a right (and in my opinion a real need) to representation … here’s what happens when you work only with the listing agent. The Consumer Protection Act and the Licensing laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts require that an agent representing two clients in the same transaction must work as a disclosed dual agent.  According to 254 CMR 3.00, “a dual agent will not have the ability to satisfy fully the duties of loyalty, full disclosure, reasonable care and obedience to lawful instructions, but shall still owe the duty of confidentiality of material information and the duty to account for funds”.  There is a consent form that you both must sign and “the consent form must also state that a dual agent assists the seller and buyer in a transaction but shall be neutral with regard to any conflicting interest of the seller and buyer.”

So one party (the Seller who has a signed representation contract) gets an agent who is “providing less than full representation”, while the other (you) gets an agent who is “providing less than full  representation”. Why on earth would you want an agent working for you who can only  unlock a door and write an offer, they can’t advise you on what price or terms to offer, can’t provide you with “comps” to ensure you don’t overpay, can’t recommend inspectors or attorneys, can’t advise you about inspection issue negotiations, and aren’t able to tell you about any location issues or defects in the house? It just doesn’t make sense.

Here’s why buyers need representation, preferably by an Accredited Buyer Representative, ABR …  shameless plug for myself

1.    A listing agent works for the seller
2.    The listing agent’s biggest responsibility is to get the most money and best terms for the seller
3.    Despite rumors, I have NEVER heard of a verified situation where the buyer got a kickback from the listing agent
4.    If you think you’ll get “inside info”, i.e.  what the sellers want in price or conditions so that they’ll accept your offer over others’, you can ask, but they won’t tell you. The listing agent is only ALLOWED BY LAW to share their client’s confidential information with you it the seller gives them permission (I’d want to see it in writing) and can lose their license if he/she does without permission.
5.    During the inspection, how objective will your (oops, I mean the seller’s) agent be?
6.    The listing agent has a vested interest in your buying THIS house and will not encourage you to look at similar ones of better value, condition, or location.
7.   The Listing agent is not obligated to inform you of any traffic or environmental conditions or smell/noise/light pollution from nearby locations that might be part of the reason their sellers are moving.

A buyer agent (ABR) is the only person in your house search and offer process looking out only for YOU.  They are your advocate in a major and life-affecting purchase.  Using a Buyer Agent costs you no money, and may even help you save money in the initial negotiation and by using inspection issues to re-negotiate.

How about if I say it another way: Would you want to go to a court trial having the Prosecutor do double duty as your defense lawyer?

Absurd and ridiculous?

It’s like asking do you really get a better deal if you’re buying from the listing agent?

Sellers & Buyers Negotiate … Agents Advise

Sellers & Buyers Negotiate … Agents Advise

The ability to negotiate successfully is crucial not only for successful real estate transactions, but also for daily life events in general. As your agent my job is to advise and counsel you and present your offer/counter offer in the absolute best way possible, but you are the only one who can negotiate in a real estate transaction … it’s your money and your choice what to do with it.

Here are some general guidelines:

Challenge the ideas that are presented to you

Negotiating requires you to be assertive and question what you are being told. If you disagree with someone regarding the price, value or condition, speak your mind. Of course, be sure to do so diplomatically.

Become a good listener

Listening carefully and critically thinking about what you are being told can prevent a considerable amount of confusion and ensure that the negotiations run smoothly.

Be prepared

If you’re buying, what exactly does the property have that could take away from its value? What is community like? What is the average selling price in the neighborhood? If you’re selling, know your property extremely well; you cannot allow yourself to be taken aback by what a prospective buyer might say.

Aim high

If you’re selling, try marking the price of your home about 5% above what you would actually want. This will leave you some negotiating space to come down. If you’re a buyer, offer a price that is lower than what you normally would; enter negotiations with the optimistic attitude that the seller will come down.

Just a little patience

Relax. This could take a while.

Be diplomatic

Because negotiations may be a long and tedious process, it can be very easy to get irritated. Getting frustrated with negotiations that seem to be going nowhere will only perpetuate any difficulties you may be having, and may even result in an end to all talks. Keep your cool.

Be aggressive

While you don’t want to be hostile, you do want to be assertive and dominate negotiations. When negotiating with the prospective buyer or seller’s agent, be sure to try to take control of the negotiations. Talk with a strong and confident voice, and be sure to have responses for any potential arguments that may be thrown your way.

Don’t get nothing for something.

Whenever you agree to give something, be sure to get something in exchange. For example, if you are the seller and you agree to lower the price, you may want to hold back on any additional goods that you may have initially been willing to give away (like furniture).

Always give the appearance of being willing to walk away

Even if you are in love with the property as a buyer or are dying to sell as the owner, never reveal your desperation. Always give the impression that you will be willing to walk away.

Time is on your side

It’s most likely that you and the other party are eager and pressured to resolve the transaction. Acting calm and under control, in addition to taking time to think rationally, will help you in the long run. In short, just think before you speak.

DO’s & DONT’s When Applying For a Mortgage

DO’s & DONT’s When Applying For a Mortgage

Okay, you’ve found a great home to purchase, but you’ve got to replace your car and your furniture is hand-me-downs from your grandparents. Before you start doing your duty to the God of Consumerism, here is some wise advice to follow:

DO’s

  • Notify your mortgage broker of income changes … any changes from when you applied need to be above board
  • Keep documentation of any large deposits … lenders will need to verify where you received the money from
  • Pay all your bills on time … keeping current on all existing accounts is extremely important
    (a single late payment 30 days could affect your credit score between 50 and 100 points and may change your mortgage rate)

DONT’s

  • Apply for new credit of any kind … credit scores will be requested and this will be recorded, your score could be adversely affected
  • Go over your limit on credit cards …try to keep your balance below 50% of your available credit limit on any/all of  your cards
  • Consolidate your debt over 1 0r 2 credit cards … appearance is reality, it will look like you’re maxed out on the remaining cards, again could adversely affect your credit score
  • Change or quit jobs … if anything – especially your employment changes from your initial application your approval may change or be revoked.

Your mortgage company will verify your employment and credit score approximately 2 days before the closing, so keep everything steady and calm and you’ll be fine and get that great home you wanted.

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