Profile picture for Rasberryjam

When my buyer's agent is also the listing agent...

I have been working with this girl who is interested to be my buyer's agent.  She is very professional and I love her work a lot. However, I am also interested in a property whose listing agent is herself.  According to the contract (not signed yet), in this case she will be my "transaction broker" instead of "buyer's agent."   How is this going to affect me?  Should I look for someone else to represent me?  If so, will this hurt our relationship with the agent?

Thank you and would really like to hear about your opinions.
 
  • December 10 2013 - US
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Answers (17)

Thanks, RJ. As somebody who buys and sells for his own account, I don't like to overpay, but I would rather buy a good property and leave a few bucks on the table than one that's not so good where I got a great deal!

All the best, and Merry Christmas!
  • December 12 2013
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Profile picture for Rasberryjam
That makes sense Mark. I think keep working with her as my transaction broker will get the deal closed quickly, not sure if this is going to help me to get a bargain.  Thanks!
  • December 12 2013
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The alternative is to risk the deal by having an agent "represent you" when their only chance of getting paid is for you to buy the property, meanwhile possibly shattering the relationship that you have with your current agent.

Your agent actually has less motivation to sacrifice your interests than you think. If you don't buy this house, she's probably confident that you will buy some other house from her, and that she will find some other buyer for her listing. Time is on her side.

  • December 11 2013
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Good Morning,

You should not act as your own agent as you cannot create an Agency Relationship. That being said it seems to be acceptable more and more for agents to do this. I personally advise caution to you. What your describing is more like a For Sale by Owner except the have a License.

Thanks Rod
  • December 11 2013
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In a duel agency situation it is always a challenge for the Agent to maintain their fiduciary duty to both party's. However, remember that if the agent has invested her time and effort into finding you the right home, she deserves the opportunity to earn her commission. Most agents are able to handle duel agency and the transaction should go smoothly.
  • December 11 2013
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Profile picture for sunnyview
There are some agent that are good and fair dual agents. They treat each side equally and do everything they can to remain neutral. They do exist, but they are rare.

Agents are people. People can be swayed by money, loyalty and goals of professional gain. If you are not sure about this situation, I would be very careful in not listening to your gut.
  • December 11 2013
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Profile picture for hpvanc
I know it isn't a popular stance with agents, but I would find a different agent period if you don't think this agent is capable of handling a transaction with professional neutrality and be fair to all parties. I don't hire someone that I think is willing to screw anyone over (even if it is the other party), it is just as likely to come back and you will find that your alleged representative screwed you over instead. While it is common sales practice it is very bad business practice and agents have a collective reputation to prove it.
  • December 11 2013
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A dual agent owes both the buyer and seller equal representation and must:
-Treat both parties fairly
-Not knowingly represent one party to the detriment of the other
-Disclose facts each party needs to make an informed decision
-To assist, as the Buyer and Seller are empowered to negotiate on their own behalf
-Assure confidentiality on each party's price, terms and personal information
  • December 11 2013
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Profile picture for Rebecca Marvel
Personally I hate being a dual agent.
  • December 11 2013
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Profile picture for Rasberryjam
Thank you everyone for your input. I think it starts to make sense to me now.  It is a tricky situation because according to my understanding, as a transaction broker, she will bring her professionalism and honesty to both side, but she is not obligated to act in my best interests.  What would be some good alternatives for this situation?

Thanks a lot.
  • December 11 2013
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She will just receive both side of the commission. This is common and you shouldn't worry about it. Makes not difference to you. It will hurt your relationship with the agent if you seek alternative representation. 
  • December 11 2013
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If she is your buyers agent than she has the fiduciary duty to you. If she has a listing you like and she transfers from a buyers agent to a transaction broker that you loose this fiduciary duty. A transaction broker than represents the transaction it self neither the buyer nor the seller. 

I always advocate that each site should have their own representation. 

Annett T. Block
Florida Connects Inc.
  • December 11 2013
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Should you look for someone else to represent you?

That's really difficult, Raspberry Jam, because you're putting that agent in an all-or-nothing position for themselves: they only get paid if you buy the property. So it's difficult to say that they will "represent you." And if you go and get an agent on your own, it will almost certainly hurt your relationship with the agent. 

So while I am a strong advocate of representation, the entire purpose of all of this is that you find a house that you want to live in for several years, and with that in mind, I'm inclined to support the relationship of a transaction broker that you have worked with before advising you to get a stranger to do a one-off for you.

All the best,
  • December 10 2013
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Profile picture for Beth Drake
This is a tough area and it really depends on the agent.  In SC, this is called a dual agency agreement.  The agent has to present both sides and remain neutral during the talks.  If the seller is agreeable to this arrangement, then it can be a win-win for both sides.
  • December 10 2013
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Profile picture for hpvanc
Do you have basis to trust the agent to be meticulously professionally neutral? If so it is probably the ideal situation. If you haven't been looking long it is also probably worth your while to at least attempt to negotiate a reduced commission on the buy side for only using one agent (if you split the reduction it is a benefit to the seller and you and the agent and their brokerage will still collect more on the sale than the would have if they cooperated with another agent/brokerage, or if your lucky the seller will have already made such a reduction a part of their listing contract in the event it becomes a transactional agency situation).
  • December 10 2013
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Profile picture for Rasberryjam
Thank you for your suggestions Charles.  That sounds good. I was just worried if there is a conflict of interests if we go for the property.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well.
  • December 10 2013
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Hello Rasberryjam, 

I don't know what state you are from, but here in CA a buyer agent can also be a sellers agent so long as it is all disclosed and all parties are advised. As to your question with regard to your relationship...so long as the agent act accordingly and do not forget that she has an obligation to protect you rights and interest within the transaction then you shouldn't worry about it. If you still doubt the situation, then you can ask your agent if she has an associate that can work with her to represent you on the other side of the deal. Best of luck to you and I hope it will work out well. Merry Christmas and wish you a prosperous New Year!

Charles Nierras
09135066
(323)500-7690
www.nierras.net
  • December 10 2013
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