When searching for real estate, a buyer often utilizes on line sites to access information. The internet provides a wealth of information, so it would be odd if someone were not accessing that resource. In fact, I might even think that they weren't serious about buying a home if they weren't doing so.
So, should the buyer call each individual agent of each interested property or stick with a sole agent? Considering I am a real estate concierge and match maker, earning my living helping individuals buy homes, I'm of course gonna say you stick with one loyal person! A sole real estate agent serves you, and only you, making sure you get the very best for you and your family.
Well, do what you will, but allow me to inform you of mistakes that can be made in not having a sole representative.
- A first fact a home buyer should know is that real estate boards have rules about variable commissions. In other words, you are NOT going to get a better deal with the listing agent reducing commissions to help you get a better price. They won't! If they do reduce it, they jeopardize loosing there license. So it DOES NOT happen.
- Contacting a listing agent direct, may have you thinking you are going to extract more details about the purchase by getting the inside scoop. However, you really do not know the relationship that realtor has with the owner of the home you are interested in pursuing. Often times a listing agent has a strong relationship with the seller, perhaps they have known each other for 25 years or they are related. You never know whom you are calling.
- The inside scoop that is actually achieved, by calling the listing agent direct, is that agent now has gotten details on YOU that will probably be used against you for negotiating purposes. For example, if you call them they now know you are doing home searches in that price point as opposed to maybe a realtor who just sent you properties slightly above your price point. Not really, but I often say "I'm trying to educate my clients the values of homes they would appreciate, however your listing they like, but yours is over what the are willing to spend". That could be a $50K swing in the end, right there.
- Did you tell them what you do for a living? Ok, well now you just practically revealed your salary before the negotiations began. My response when an agent asks me is "I stand behind my client and they have been pre-qualified". No more. No less. Let's keep it to what is necessary information, when and if I do need to negotiate with that agent.
- If you are working with somebody and call a listing agent direct, later negotiations are now started from a leg behind. That agent will be resentful that they didn't get to write up the contract, and they did most of the work. Ethically, an agent should (I always do) ask right after "Hello", "Are you an agent or working with one?". I'd question ethics, if that question doesn't come up (it's realtor 101).
- Did you make small talk? Ok, one time a while ago my buyer spoke about every designer label she would be putting in her closet. Seriously. A conversation about how you spend your money is not the best for negotiating purposes down the road. I'm thinking that information is better left unsaid.
- Do you really think that someone representing a home would tell you anything negative about it!?! Once someone asked about the schools the children of the home would attend!? Could you imagine... "The schools suck"! LOL. They would NEVER say that! It's for your representative to help you gather information factually.
- How about this instance? I had a client request to meet with the homeowner. Cardinal rule, never put the buyer and seller in the room together. First, it indicates that realtors aren't necessary which is not the case at all. And what if they don't get along!!!??? That won't be good for any negotiatan. One time, the realtor looked at me and said "wow, your client is over there talking to my client for a long time?" My response, "well you set this meeting up."
- Calling the agent multiple times and asking to see the home multiple times just shows you want the house; again, that type of information affects negotiations.
- Renovations, now this is why you use me...but let's not let the other side really understand how much you want to do the house. They could be offended you want to make changes, and it may tell them you have some extra money to throw on the table.