If you are in the process of buying a home in Los Angeles and come across a listing on my website you are actually looking at a feed from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provided by the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) to which I am subscribed. I am probably not the listing agent.
I often get calls about “your listing” and proceed to tell the caller that I am not the listing agent but will certainly be able to help them. Sometimes they will ask me for the name of the listing agent, and this is something I will rarely provide.Why?
- If I were the listing agent I would probably refer the buyer to a colleague to assist them because as the listing agent representing the seller who is paying my commission I personally think it is extremely difficult to be neutral when representing the two parties.
- I truly believe the buyer is often under the misconception that they need to call the listing agent to get the deal done. Using an agent to help you buy a property costs you nothing and you have your own personal ambassador guiding you throughout the process.
I recently had someone tell me that they bought a home through the listing agent who told them that if they wanted the home then they would have to go through them. If true this is totally unethical. Yes, the buyers got the home. And yes, they paid full price, well into the 7 figure mark for which the listing agent must have received a commission well into the six figures paid for by the seller. How much representation do you think the buyers got in that scenario? And I doubt this was a highly competitive situation given the price of the home.
We agents are bound by fiduciary duty which means we have to represent our clients to the highest standards. A listing agent is duty bound to present all offers to the seller and help them decide on the best one I am not saying that the buyers above did not present the best offer, but we will never know. Also what happened when the home inspection was done and a repair request needed to be presented? How well were the buyers represented in those negotiations? We will never know.
If you want to buy a certain home, money is no object, and they don”t care how they get it or how well they are represented then by all means approach the listing agent. You may not be the only buyer they are representing and then you are in the same boat of having to come up with the best offer, but this time you will not have your own representation. Also, if you do not get the home then you are back to square one, as the listing agent with whom you have been dealing will probably not have been sending you alternative options. Your own representative buyer’s agent may have been, so you can immediately switch to your second choice with full representation throughout the purchase process.
Buying a home is not the easiest of exercises. Make sure the advice you are getting is in your interest. Your agent will of course receive their commission for the work they do, but they will not be distracted by the interests of two opposing parties, one of whom is holding the cash.
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