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Buyers Agent profiles on Zillow.com

I contacted an agent listed on zillow.com as being a buyers agent.  I asked for more info on retaining his services as a buyer agent. He responded asking me how much i wanted to pay for properties, number bedrooms, baths, amenities I wanted in the target market.  I responded back saying i had seen his listing on zillow as a buyer agent and he had great testimonials and before I got into giving my wish list i just wanted to establish the understanding of what he was going to do as a buyer agent, how he would be paid, where his loyalties were, what would he do if I wanted to look at FSBO or foreclosed properties, etc.  He just responded with a curt answer saying he was not interested in working with me at all.  Okay, well that is not a buyers agent.  Why is he listed on zillow.com as a buyers agent with testimonials from people that he helped them as buyers.  At least I know from this exchange that if he is involved in a real estate transaction with me that I cannot share any details with him, he would not be loyal to me at all.  At least i know that upfront, but what about all the people who see his zillow buyer agent profile and don't know to ask these questions.
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October 16 2011 - Dover
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Not all Realtors or people for that matter are cut from the same cloth. In Vermont if you are asked for exclusive buyer representation you need to explain that you can give that exclusivity on everything EXCEPT office listings. even if you see a listing that is with the agents office and not listed with your buyer agent he/she cannot legally give you representation on that particular property. However, that being said, they are obligated to ALWAYS be fair and ethical to all parties. I am sorry that you had that experience, not at all how I would have handled it.
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October 17 2011
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ABR is a paid NAR designation from an online or two day course that does not guarantee a good buyers agent. Continuing education is valuable, but the letters behind an agent's name should not be a substitute or even major consideration for hiring them.

Interview more than one agent. Listen to what they say and don't say. Ask them about their philosophy and background. There is a list of interview questions here to get started. You need an honest, knowledgeable, professional agent first no matter what letters that they paid for behind their name.
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January 06 2012
Look for the ABR Designation.  This is an Accredited Buyer's Agent of which I am one.    The ABR Designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council and is the only designation of it's type to be recognized by the National Association of Realtors.    We are Realtors who have taken special training and continue special training to represent buyers.   For example when I meet with a buyer I have a buyer packet I provide that has  valuable information. I prepare and advise my buyer in purchasing a home at that meeting.  I have a complete check list of items I go through before the buyer makes an offer to protect the buyer.  I provide the buyer with a time line to their contract so they know all the tasks that need to be done to get to the closing table and who is doing them.   You will also find ABR's  disclose how we will represent the buyer based on state law.   You can find a real buyer's agent  ABR by visiting  Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council web site.
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January 06 2012
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Secondary follow-up: On Nov 24th, 2011 after viewing properties a second time with my exclusive buyers agent, seeing over 15 properties in this market 250 miles from my home, we bid successively on three properties utilizing the exclusive buyer's agent negotiating on our behalf.  The properties were similar (condos) thus we were able to play one seller off another.  We ended up in contract for purchase of the nicest condo in the three that we bid for at a significant discount to list.  Nothing better than relaying a lowball bid than to send it over thru the buyer's agent and let him get yelled at.  In the end, he gave up two weekends for 3% of this sale.
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January 03 2012
Wow, you blew me away. I specialize in being a buyers agent on Zillow and Trulia and I would never treat a prospective client that way. There are real estate agents and their are great real estate agents. To be great, you have to be willing to do things and provide services that other agents can't or won't provide. I look for ways to exceed client expectations!
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January 02 2012
I am sorry to hear about your  bad experience trying to hire a buyer's agent. I am an ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) who works in the buyer's best interest at all times. Check out this website www.rebac.net for an ABR in your area. Good luck.
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November 27 2011
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November 27 2011
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Further followup - I think the agent who I had the interchange with is a very good listings agent who is probably very earnest and can be a good resource for buyers... I was partly more disappointed to not be able work with him than upset by the interchange we had about buyers agency.  But, for this search I really wanted a buyers agent as I am not familiar with the market at all.  I have since found an exclusive buyers agent, signed an exclusive contract with that agent, and this weekend saw about 15 properties - several of which were the listings of the first agent, who we met and chatted with somewhat extensively about the properties we were going to see. During this discussion, my exclusive buyers agent was present. Either the listing agent has an extremely good poker face or he did not connect my name in person with the email exchange from several weeks ago - where I used my real name.  Either way, that's good. I never wanted a confrontation, just a trustworthy advocate.

I'm happy with the representation I've received so far from my exclusive buyers agent.  During this weekend's property viewing, we dealt with about 7 listings agents. It was wonderful to not have to deal with any of them directly and just go from showing to showing.  By the way, I found this buyers agent through a referral from the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA).
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October 31 2011
Through Zillow.com's various advertising programs, any Realtor can pay to be listed as a Buyer's Agent without any kind of screening. It is one of the main revenue sources for Zillow, selling your interest as a buyer to agents. Look carefully at an agent's reviews, listings and contributions and then interview the agent yourself. Don't stop at one, interview a few to find the one that best suits your personality. Any agent that declines to represent you in response to being asked questions about that representation is not going to be your best advocate anyway, he did you a favor by disqualifying himself.
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October 30 2011
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Thanks all for your answers.  I felt somewhat awkward about the interchange; I didn't think I asked anything a true buyer's agent would be upset at being asked ; actually, I thought, Adam was going to think this buyer is right up my alley because I already understands the concept of buyer agents and was just floored when he said forget it don't want to work with you at all. 
But I was going to just let it go but then the next day, Zillow followed up with me asking if this "buyer's agent" had gotten back to me after my Zillow sponsored request.  I tried to respond but their email was from a no-reply address. Then I searched the site to see if I could find a customer support address and couldn't find it., so that's why I created this topic.  Mainly to warn other people that just because a realtor is listed on zillow as a "buyer agent" they still have to interview them (and they might be really surprised as I was to get the answers!)
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October 17 2011
if nothing else your posting will help others who read it. It's not just the need to interview but how to do it, that seems to be something people need help with.  You didn't find someone that you want to work with but you quickly ruled out that you didn't want this guy.  That's still a valuable use of your time.    Of perhaps you just needed to define that you are looking for someone to work with you as an exclusive buyer's agent as a single party broker.  There might be different terms in your state.  In our state the two ways an REA can work are a transaction broker and a single party broker.  Without getting into all the definition differences, it would be the single party broker for a buyer that most likely fits the description you're seeking.
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October 17 2011
In Vermont, we operate under very specific rules.  It is recognized by rule that there is an inherent conflict of interest in the roles of Buyer & Seller agents.  Most real estate firms in Vermont try to rep both Buyers and Sellers, but typically the Principal Broker, and all of his subordinate brokers, agents, offices and teams owe their fiduciary duty to their Sellers.  Until you sign a Broker Services agreement, you are a Customer, not a Client, and you should never reveal confidential information that could affect your negotiating position.  A more helpful description is Exclusive Buyer Agent. 
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October 17 2011
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Sounds like you found one that only represents sheeple.  Unfortunately they are all too typical, as far as I know no state has separate licensing requirements for buyers agents.  Absent of the needed separate licensing and training requirements for buyers agents, the NAR has stepped into the vacuum and created their own definition of buyers agent where the buyers agent is just another salesperson to double team the buyer with the listing agent and get the property sold.  I think the only real reason they accepted the concept was that it allowed them to keep the total commission on a transaction near or above the traditional level in the face of technology decreasing the real value of their service.  Unfortunately it also occurred at the same time as the loosening of credit standards and played directly into the bubble.

They writers of the testimonials just followed his instructions, just as they did with locating a property.
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October 16 2011
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It sounds like you did a good interview of that agent. Zillow is place to find an agent, but no site will interview them and choose the best one for your needs. It's like seeing a hunting dog listed in the newspaper. You know it's listed as a dog, but you've got to ask more questions to see if that dog will actually hunt.
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October 16 2011
 
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