Profile picture for nkdand

Buyer's agent from same agency from seller's agent? Advantage and Disadvantage....

We are buying our 2nd home and now have spotted a house we would like to buy, we didn't have an agent and then the listing agent showed us the house and recommended us to get a buyer's agent. But now we happen to have come across an agent in an open house that we thought would be a good buyer's agent but now both these agents are from Allan Tate so I am not sure if this is a good idea or it doesn't matter. 
Also, this buyer's agent was saying that we have to listen to her and she would help us get a good house. So is this a normal thing for agents to say....I thought that was bit upfront! nway this could be just me. 

Please do advise, as we do like this house and would like to make an offer asap.

  • October 14 2011 - Huntersville
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Answers (10)

Best Answer

I'm not sure how it works in North Carolina but in New Jersey, this is considered a dual agency situation.  The disadavantage to you (assuming NC works the same way) is your agent is obligated to take a step back and is not allowed to divulge any information which she may come across regarding the seller without the seller's permission.
This is a relatively common scenario and it shouldn't affect how hard or motivated your agent is in working for you, just how much information she is able to divulge regarding specifics about the seller.

However, I am also somewhat bothered by an agent saying you HAVE to listen to her.  Perhaps she meant well and just worded it awkwardly but please be careful and don't hesitate to communicate any concerns you have to her.  Communication is so key to a good agent/consumer relationship and its often the things left unsaid that lead to problems.
  • October 16 2011
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Using a buyers agent to represent you when purchase a home is so important.  They are your advocate, your professional advisor during the process.  They will have all the tools to help you make a wise decision.  In addition, they have the experience and expertise to assist you through the process which at times can get a bit crazy.  A buyers agent who you have signed agency has a fiduciary responsibility to you.  If the agents are in the same company that is not a problem as the buyers agent, if they did not list the house will not know anything about it from the other agent and will be able to represent you.  I would not hesitate to use one in the same office, when I have a listing, I have a designated buyers agent work with my clients so that I am not in the mix  It works best for all parties involved. Although I could represent both I like to keep it to me representing the seller and the designated agent representing the buyer.  Buyers agents can save you a lot of time, headache and money.  And they are FREE to the buyer in our market.
  • January 03 2014
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Profile picture for user6417780
So if buyer's and seller's agents are both from the same firm, they only have to pay the 1 1/2% commission to the firm once TOTAL, not each?

So that would appear to be a plus to buyer in terms of "room to negotiate" insofar as the 1 1/2% window is concerned.  In other words, hiring an agent from a different firm can actually cost the buyer more money -- if he or she is competing with an agent represented by a buyer's agent from same firm 
-- the one with outside agent might have to pay 1 1/2% more to count the same.  If both buyers pay same isn't that a direct incentive for the selling agent to prefer the buyer with the buyer's agent from same firm?

It's hard for me to ask this question direct of selling agent but this is the decision I'm faced with -- I asked about a property and listing agent asked if she could have a buyer's agent from firm contact me, however I had an agent who sold my previous house and did a good job (but works another area so this is my initial contact/research).  She's a good negotiator but this is a seller's market in my area.  Which will be more likely to get me the property at a better price, in this seller's market?

  • June 19 2013
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In North Carolina, this would be considered to be Designated Agency...  While the Seller and the Buyer are represented by the same firm, they both have a different agent working for them.  However, though slightly better, the basic premise of this type of relationship is very similar to Dual Agency.

I have found that an Exclusive Buyer's Agenct (EBA) is much better able to work for the Buyer and give them the best advice without there being any concern of a conflict of interest.  An EBA works only for the Buyer and never for the Seller in any real estate transaction.  In this case, if they had any information about the Seller that would help you in negotiating the best deal possible, the EBA can share this information with the Buyer.

As for there being a savings on the commissions paid if both agents are from the same firm as SteadyState has suggested... that is definitely not the case in North Carolina.  There is a contract between the Seller and the firm representing them for the amount of commission to be paid.  The firm then in turn either agrees or doesn't agree to share that commission with other firms that may represent the Buyer.  There is also an agreement with the agents working within the firm.  However, the amount of commission that the Seller pays has already been set based on that initial agreement.  IF the firm has agreed to take a smaller commission if agents working within that firm work for both the Buyer and the Seller, that would have been agreed upon at that same time.  It IS possible for them to go back and adjust that agreement, but it isn't a common occurrence.

My suggestion to you is to have an Exclusive Buyers Agent working for you.  However, if you do not have one available in your area, then I would suggest that at the very least, you have an agent from a different firm than that one working for the Seller represent you in this transaction.  Keep in mind though that if you start working with someone that is not an EBA and this transaction doesn't go through, if you later find a property that they have listed that you are interested in and decide to go to yet another firm to represent you, they will have information about you that they can (and will) share with their Seller.

I hope this helps to answer some of your questions.  I wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,
Tanya Donaghy
  • October 18 2011
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Thank you so much for the BA.  A part of me admittedly always wonders if somebody hit that button accidentally :)

I just want to clarify that most offices will obviously be willing show their own listings when they suit the purposes of their buyers.  There is no increased compensation for dual agency in an office situation (except for the broker), only if the listing agent acts as both the listing and selling agent so your agent, if a good one, should act just as fervently in your favor as one from another office.

The only disadvantage that I can think of is what I already described to you- that your agent is restricted in how much information they can share about the seller without the seller's permission.  It isn't the fact that it is a dual agency situation that is something to worry about, its whether or not you trust this agent.  This is obviously something you need to be concerned about regardless of what agency you choose.

Either way, I wish you the best of luck and I hope all goes smoothly with your home buying experience.

  • October 17 2011
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Profile picture for nkdand
Thanks so much for all advise, we have not signed any agent yet and we'll see if we can get someone else from another agency. 

We did spend our Saturday going around the area and viewing few houses with the agent, she seems good and very experienced. But I don't know if this dual agency thing will be disadvantageous for us. Her and the listing agent are from same office and they know each other well. 

We'll see who else we can find to sort our offer together for this house. Wish us Luck !!! 
  • October 16 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Having two agents from the same agency would not bother me too much as long as you have bought before, but the agents statement "that we have to listen to her and she would help us get a good house" would put me off as a client.
  • October 16 2011
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In my opinion it depends if the agents know each other. If they do then I would get a different agent to help you. You can use an agent from any real estate office in your area and they don't have to be from the real estate office who is listing the home that you want.
  • October 15 2011
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My opinion is you want a buyers agent from a different firm.

Happy funding, Rudi
  • October 15 2011
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Profile picture for SteadyState
I am not an REA. My understanding of the commission structure is:

Buyer Agent Side: 3% (1.5%: buyer's selling agent; 1.5%: agent brokerage)
Seller Agent Side: 3% (1.5%: seller's selling agent: 1.5%: agent brokerage)

When both are from the same brokerage they save 1.5% on commission. So that gives you room to negotiate over a buyer from another brokerage.

But remember both agents need the sale to close in order to get paid so both agents will do what is necessary to sell the home to you. You have more power - credit is hard and likely to get harder with Europe demanding help for their banks.
  • October 14 2011
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