Profile picture for user81718359

Can I just use a lawyer and forgo the buyers agent when I purchase a new home?

We are currently looking to purchase a new home.  Since no one knows better what I want than me......I have been doing all the legwork online and going to open houses etc.  I personally think that if I found the house on my own, couldn't I ask for a lower price on the home since the seller won't be paying the commission for a buyers agent?  Let's say they take 2% right off the top, benefiting both of us?  Then I would just use a lawyer to close the deal.  Is this feasible?  
  • November 15 2012 - Rochester
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Answers (16)

"Protecting the flock?" Really? You don't know us very well, do you?

-  I do not believe that agents are better informed than non-agents who have studied their markets.

That may be, but I doubt it. When you show me a non-agent that goes into a thousand homes a year, then they can be a contestant.
  • November 26 2012
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Profile picture for SteadyState
The REAs will say go with a buyer's agent. Why? It boils down to protecting the flock.

If you know the market well an attorney will cost less and you will be better served. However, this is a personal opinion only - please note that working with an attorney does require you to know the market. Agents believe they know the market better than non-agents but I believe that was more true before the Internet made all the information available to the educated buyer - I do not believe that agents are better informed than non-agents who have studied their markets.
  • November 26 2012
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Profile picture for BoulderBobGordon
YES.  Use an attorney only on transaction. This is exactly what sellers and Listing agents want.  It is to the advantage of the owner when this occurs.   Attorneys know the law. Realtors know the market. Big difference. I applaud you for taking action, getting to know the market. Since you went to all the Open Houses, was there an agent that stood out from the crowd or had more than one house for sale you liked? Why not contact that agent and ask for an appointment to learn what the agent will bring to the table for you. I know it will be worth much more than the savings you think you are getting.

BTW: I have sold 3 short sale listings. Each required FAR MORE TIME and effort than a regular sale. If you only use an attorney and can find one for $150 an hour as someone else suggested (rate in Boulder is more like $250 to 325/hour for a good attorney), be ready for a 3,000 to 5,000 bill when it is all said and done. Short sales require a LOT of TIME and effort. A LOT.
  • November 25 2012
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Yeah, I understand the thing about finding homes on your own; this is a side effect of the listing brokerages doing everything they can to ensure that their listings are on every website possible, putting signs in front of the property saying, "For Sale!" - and even putting arrow signs on corners to direct you to them. The prospective buyer sees them on the internet and thinks, "I've just saved ten thousand dollars!"

Well, real estate brokerages have anticipated this, and we have contracts with sellers that specifically state that if our marketing brings the buyer, we get to keep the entire commission, and generally speaking, we're not giving it up just because a buyer thinks that money could be theirs.
  • November 25 2012
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Maybe things are done differently in Rochester, but in California a lawyer will charge at least $150.00 per hour.

A "Buyers Agent' is paid by the seller...not by you..so a Buyer's Agent costs you nothing

You won't get a "lower price" on the house..the listing agent will collect 100% of the commission insted of splitting and your lawyer will bill you for services he performs.
  • November 25 2012
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QUOTE: We are looking at a short sale home.  Do these circumstances change in that instance?

I would not advise you to get into the process of a short sale with out the use of an agent.  The time, effort, and expertise that it takes to make sure that a short sale goes through WITH an agent is overwhelming.  If you are a day late on getting info to the bank, you will lose the deal.  I do understand where you would hope to save on this, but in reality, the bank is expecting to pay 2.5% or what ever their fee is to sell the home, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.  As stated before, would you go to into a lawsuit where you could potentially lose $100,000+ with no representation, when you know the other side has a professional on their side?

There is SO much more to real estate than "just finding a home".
  • November 20 2012
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 Of course you can do the leg work yourself but a good agent is not only one who finds the right property and negotiates but they also serve as a mediator. Buying a property can be stressful and emotional and it is always a good idea to have a qualified agent to act as your go between. I have seen what seemed liked simple straight forward deals explode as the result of a misunderstanding only to be explained and put back together by the agent. 
   The buyer doesn't pay a fee to use an agent so why not take advantage of their experience and expertise. Would you represent yourself in a trial?
  Hiring A good agent is well worth it. 
  • November 20 2012
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one of the functions of the listing agent is to get the highest price for the seller... not less

you can deal directly with the listing agent and consent to let the listing agent represent you as your buyers agent and receive limited representation...or be represented by your own buyers agent... I recommend the latter

in terms of the closing and conveyance... that is handled by real estate attorneys and escrow officers in your area anyway
  • November 20 2012
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You are not required to have an agent represent you as a buyer, but it is really your best interest. In most cases, a buyer does not pay a fee for a buyers agent to represent them. If you can have a knowledgeable professional represent you for no out of pocket cost, why wouldn't you?
  • November 20 2012
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Profile picture for Connie Klemme
you can use a lawyer. 
what a lawyer likely can't do is open the door so any inspections you need you'll have to coordinate with the seller's agent.  The lawyer likely won't continue to check on progress and keep you updated and make calls, remind you of deadlines, etc,   they most likely will do the paperwork and then show up at closing.    If that works for you then it's great.  Keep in mind that the commission is not likely to be discounted either way because their commission agreement is with the listing agent who will likely just keep the buyer's agent portion since they will likely be doing the few things that your lawyer doesn't do.   My point is...nothing wrong with using the lawyer, but if your purpose is only to save money, it's not likely to have that effect.   The lawyer might be a bonus for dealing with all the extra papers of a short sale, make sure you get an upfront agreement on whether or not you're paying the lawyer a flat fee or by the hour and make sure you have a complete understanding of what your fee covers and what extras will cost.

best of luck.
  • November 16 2012
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We are looking at a short sale home.  Do these circumstances change in that instance?
  • November 16 2012
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Technically what you say is true.  You could also hire your own real estate agent and ask him to refund you half of his commission.  I am an attorney myself, and have purchased many rental properties, but I still use a real estate agent because a) it costs me nothing, b) he knows the market better than I do, even though I do all the research myself, and c) there is a second set of eyes on the deal and he has saved my butt a couple of times.
  • November 16 2012
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You are certainly entitled to find a house on your own and have a lawyer handle the purchase documentation for you. Whether you use a lawyer or buyers agent, most sellers will come down 2% anyway.

Just be prepared to pay an attorney an hourly fee any time there is a change in your offer. Let's say the seller counters your offer. The lawyer will review the counter offer, discuss it with you, and make changes to your offer according to your directions ... buyers agent will do that for free.

Is the lawyer going to be present for the home inspection ... another fee? Is the lawyer going to review the inspection with you ... another fee? Are you going to ammend you offer based on the outcome of the inspection ... another fee? Is the lawyer going to attend the closing with you ... another fee?

The purchase contracts we use were written by attorney's, but the buyer always has the opportunity to have an attorney review or make changes to the documents. As stated by others, buyers agents look out for the buyer. We can assist you in writing an offer and substantiate the offering price with a market analysis.

Best of luck on your purchase!
  • November 15 2012
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Profile picture for user81718359
But I would have the lawyers costs either way...correct?  And I have had some realtors get me on a search list, and they aren't finding me anything that I haven't been able to find on my own, unfortunately!
  • November 15 2012
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Profile picture for fb462827053
The commission is split between brokers, so if you don't use a agent, the seller isn't going to save any money, commission will just go to the listing agent.  You may be able to find a home, however a buyers agent will have access to more homes than you would every be able to find on your own. Very few homes are available as open houses, and many more will be taken before you would ever find out about them. You would most certainly want to use a lawyer to close the deal, but a buyers agent will steer you in the right direction and would be able to give you insight on properties that you do wish to look at. A buyers agent works for YOU, any other agent works for the seller. Good luck
  • November 15 2012
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you are still going to have lawyer costs. Which may equal or exceed a potential buyers agent commission. Sometimes trying to get the cheapest deal doesn't always equal the best quality process for yourself as a home buyer. 
  • November 15 2012
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