It amazes me how many buyers out there don’t have their own real estate agent working on their side. New Jersey, among other states, allows dual agency. Dual agency means the real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in the same real estate transaction. Both parties must consent to this dual agency relationship.
With the dual agency, the agent cannot diclose any information about either party to the other, including details on the condition of the house, financing, or any of the motivations of either side of the transaction. This makes it tough to negotiate, as the agent can’t tell you what you should offer or give an opinion on what repairs should be made or credit given. They can give you comparables, but it would be up to you to interpret the information and come up with your own offer price. It really handcuffs the agent and I believe it does a disservice to both sides. Now some Realtors love dual agency, because instead of having to split the commission with the buyer’s agent, they keep the entire commission. With this double payout for the agent, I might be a little nervous as a consumer that, whether intentional or unintentional, the agent in their excitement to close the deal, may do something unethical to make the deal happen.
I recently heard a story from one of my buyer clients, where their friends used the listing agent they met at the open house to represent them. Well they ended up paying an above market price for the home and were unpleasantly surprised when the light fixtures and kitchen appliances were missing, as they were lead to believe by the listing agent they were to be included in the home sale. Another fellow agent in my office told me how their cousin bought a home through the listing agent and they not only overpaid for the house by $50,000, they were never informed the house was located in a flood zone!
Even with all the research buyers can do online through Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow etc, in their home search, it still makes sense to have a buyer’s agent represent you. It costs you NOTHING. You aren’t going to get a better deal because you are using the listing agent, they are just going to keep both ends of the commission. The buyer’s agent will guide you through the transaction (which understandably, can be intimidating), line up referrals such as the home inspector, contractors, or a loan officer for you, inform you of the market trends, neighborhoods, negotiate the sales price, and basically help you achieve your goal, finding the right house, at the right price, and in a timely manner.
Need a GREAT buyer’s agent on your side? Contact Kevin Hill, REALTOR®-Sales Associate with Keller Williams Realty-Village Square now!
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