8 Things Buyers May Want to Consider Before Working Directly With Listing Agents by Aaron Zapata, IMPACT Properties

Updated: December 2016

I get calls from the signs and the Internet (sites like Zillow) on my listings from prospective buyers.  After giving them a status update, they often want to ask about other properties. Of course, I offer to help them find a different home if they are not interested in the one I have for sale.  Many of them respond with, “We only want to work with the listing agents.”  I often ask why, and the most popular response is that they think they can get a better deal if they work only with the listing agent.  Here are some thoughts to consider before you decide to only work with the listing agents.

    Agents that promise to get you a “better deal” by working directly with them are actually in breach of their fiduciary duty to the sellers.  The listing agent has an obligation to the seller to get as much money as the market will bear for the property.  When the agent makes the claim that they can get you a better deal than another agent, they are crossing that line.  Be cautious when they make that claim.
    Listing agents don’t want to upset their clients, the seller.  This is a simple truth; the listing agent will not want to present an offer from a buyer they think is “too low” because they risk upsetting their seller.  A buyer’s agent who does not represent the seller has the most incentive to get the buyer the best deal and will write offers regardless of the seller’s feelings.
    If a listing agent has five listings they may be getting numerous calls each day from multiple buyers.  The agent has no way of knowing if a prospective buyer is the one motivated buyer that will make the offer or just someone who wants to see a house.  Some agents may never call you back.
    If you are looking for a Bank Owned home, you will rarely, if ever, get a hold of the listing agent.  These agents have multiple offers within hours of the home going on the MLS.  By the time you call them, the house will be sold.  Additionally, many agents have to sign an agreement with the bank stating that they will not represent the buyer on their listing.
    Homes on the Internet are posted after REALTORS get notified.  Depending on the website you are looking at, they get notified of new listings within 15 minutes or as late as 24 hours.  The best buys will be gone by the time you see them.  REALTORS get notified through their MLS system immediately when a new home goes in the MLS and can immediately work with their clients to secure a sale.
    Signs don’t mean anything anymore.  Today, in the day of Short Sales, where homes can take up to 12 months to close escrow, For Sale signs stay up forever.  The recent trend, however, is to simply NOT install a for sale sign.  In a neighborhood near my office, 3 of the 6 listings for sale don’t have yard signs.  Additionally, the sign usually goes up 2 to 5 days after the house has come on the market and may have offers already from Realtors who saw the listing in the MLS.
    Buyers without agents are not seen as serious buyers.  The most serious buyers are working with an agent who has made sure that the buyers are qualified and ready to make an offer.  The agent has educated the buyer on the current requirements for making an offer and has obtained the necessary documents from the buyer before they write an offer.  When a buyer’s agent calls a listing agent, he or she can explain the merits of the buyer and get a quick response from the listing agent.
    Finally, it’s best to find an agent you trust who will work for you.  I always recommend that you find an agent that you enjoy working with, that will keep you updated, that answers your calls, responds to your emails and text messages, and in whom you can trust.  An agent that knows he or she will get paid if they do a good job for you will be your greatest ally in the home buying process.  If you randomly call dozens of agents on a regular basis, you won’t get that level of service.  If you are not getting that level of service from the agent you are using, find a different agent!

In the end, I believe you will have a better chance at getting a great deal when you are working with an agent who has your best interests at heart.

Do you disagree?  Leave a comment!

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