Profile picture for Chen67

Do I really need a buyer's agent to deal with seller's agent to purchase a property in USA?

In Australia, if we want to buy a property I don't need a buyer's agent at all, I can just deal directly with seller's agent, negotiating directly until we reach an agreed price then I sign a contract of sale after that I forward the signed contract to my attorney, and then my attorney will do the rest of the process until settlement.
  • September 03 2012 - US
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Answers (7)

You don't need one, but it is wise to have one. The seller's agent is precisely that- the agent for the seller. They work for them, advocate for them, and ensure everything is in their best interest. It is best to have someone truly advocating for you. 

Also, the agents handle the conveyance, so you do not hire an attorney (although of course, you are always welcome to do so). That is a very important part of what we do, and one of the main differences to home buying in Oz, UK, etc. 

BTW many people think they will save money this way. Most times you wont. The listing agent will just get a much larger commission. 
  • September 04 2012
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Profile picture for ShaylaTwit
It is certainly not required.  But the listing agent represents the seller.  Why not have a buyer's agent representing you and your best interests.  It doesnt cost you or the seller any more or less to do so.  Plus you have someone on YOUR side!  Seller pays the entire real estate commission in the US.  Hope that helps.  Good luck.
  • September 04 2012
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
Buyer brokerage only began in the 80's in the US.  It is an option for a buyer as opposed to a requirement.
In Washington state Real Estate Agency is described in a law and the language in the law changes from "To be loyal to the buyer by taking no action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer's interest in the transaction" to "Take no action that is adverse or detrimental to either party's interest in the transaction."  The latter describes the actions of the agent in dual agency.
The third choice is that the listing agent can write an offer for you and not represent you as the buyer.  In this case they owe the buyer no duty except "do no harm."
So, if you decide to eliminate the buyer's agent, I'd recommend that you insist that the listing agent practice dual agency, which gives you a higher level of care.  It sounds as though your purchase price won't support two agents.
As sunnyview points out, in every case the agent's manager (principle managing broker in Washington) is ultimately responsible for the actions of all of the agents in their office and if you ever have questions about what is going on, talk to the managing broker. Ultimately the agent represents the company (the manager) that they work for and so for example, if you have both a buyer's agent and a listing agent form the same company, the company is practicing dual agency and they will disclose this.
  • September 04 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
You do not have to use a buyer's agent and can use the listing agent to make an offer. However, it is often better to have a separate agent on your side. If the purchase price is low, you may have to do some looking to find one. I would start with the listing agent's office or a quick search on Zillow in your target area.

Call the broker of the listing agent's office, tell them what type of agent you are looking for and get a referral. They will be happy to double side the commission and they will have an interest in helping you close the deal. The only thing issue that you may face is not having an independent set of eyes double checking the details so that is something to consider.
  • September 04 2012
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Profile picture for Cindy Quinton
I would make a phone call to the listing agent. If the property has not sold, he/she can draw up a contract and you may even be able to sign electronically. 

Sometimes an out of the country email might not be taken as seriously, as there is sometimes the idea that it is a scam. That is why I suggest that if you truly wish to purchase, call the agent.
  • September 04 2012
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Profile picture for Chen67

The problem is when I was interesting in a cheap empty block of land, but when I contacted a buyer's agent, she said the ads was expired already so I contacted the listing agent and the listing agent said it is currently still available for sale and then I passed the reply email from the listing agent to my buyer's agent and she just simply said that the price range is too low and she couldn't make any money out of it and she suggested me to find other agent.
And when I emailed my offer directly to the listing agent, she didn't response it until now.
Any suggestions???
  • September 04 2012
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The short and simple answer to your question is.........no..........you do not need a buyer's agent in order  to purchase a property.

Know that laws will vary from state to state as to how this is handled.

Many agents will come along and strongly urge you to work exclusively with a buyer's agent, maybe even throwing in some scary comments as to what might happen if you don't............but, in my area, we often work as "dual agents" (the term for an agent listing and selling his or her own listing). In NJ, you are also considered a dual agent  when showing and selling any company listing, not just your own listing.

We also use attorneys to oversee the sale once the contracts are signed....... either party can walk away during our 3 day attorney review period.
Certainly, having a buyer's agent is a fine thing, but f you find yourself in a dual agent situation, you don't have to panic!

I recently sold 2 of my own listings, and all parties were pleased with the end results. 
It is important (and required) that the agent  explain and  discuss this business relationship with the buyers in advance.......in NJ, they have to agree to it, and sign a form stating that.

In the 27 years I have been a Realtor, this situation has come up many times, and I have never had anyone feel they didn't get proper or fair representation.
Many consumers I have worked actually prefer, and find it easier to deal with one person as the "command central"!

I often get  inquiries on my listings from the internet, and I always give that person the option of finding another agent before I show them the home or begin working with them.
Most are fine proceeding with me as their agent .

As a dual agent I am able to provide and discuss comparable sales and factual information about the area, recent sales and current listings.............but cannot offer an opinion in regard to what "I think" the sellers might accept, or how high the buyers might go.

In my opinion, a seller will ultimately  sell their home  for the price they are willing to accept.......... and a buyer will pay what they are willing to pay.............this idea that a buyer's agent has some magical powers to beat down a seller or that the listing agent can strong arm, and  get that buyer up, is, imo a real estate myth.
Most buyer's agents these days simply email in their offer..... and wait for a response.........I'd hardly call that an example of strong negotiating skills.

I have also witnessed a number of designated buyer's agents who stomp all over their fiduciary responsibilities, and share much  more information than they should.

So..............imo......If you are professional, honorable and  understand  the laws and how these kind of agency relationships work, there is no problem in putting a deal like this together.

Many will disagree, but this is my opinion............and as I said, in NJ we are dual agents, whether we want to be or not, simply by showing a company listed property.

Best wishes..........
  • September 03 2012
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