Common misconception: It’s totally fine to buy a house from the listing agent.
Fact: It is fine, if you like being taken advantage of. There is this little thing called the Law of Agency, that states that the listing agent has certain obligations to their client, the entity selling the home. They have no obligation whatsoever to the person buying the home. Everything a buyer says to the listing agent can, and probably will, be told to the seller. This is also an opportunity for the listing agent to make the most money, because there isn’t another agent involved. The list agent is going to make the entire 6% no matter what. A listing agent’s duty is not to serve the buyer, it is to serve the seller. Which is awesome for the seller, but not so awesome for the buyer. Don’t get me wrong–listing agents are people, too, and they do great at their jobs, which is sell a house for their seller.
Buyer’s agents are abundant, and as a buyer, you can rest assured that there is an agent out there who will treat you the way you want to be treated, and who will look out for you. It’s a little tricky to find a good buyers agent, though, and that’s mainly because we don’t advertise the way that list agents do. Here are a few ways to find a buyer’s agent:
1. Teams. Real estate teams always have exclusive buyer’s agents who are waiting for you to call. These agents are trained to work solely with buyers, and the team setting gives them the resources to serve buyers better, and faster.
2. NAEBA. There are a few agents out there who are designated by the National Association of Exclusive Buyer’s Agents. The difference between these agents and the ones on teams? These guys paid for the membership, and they are part of a brokerage that doesn’t do listings at all.
3. Listing agents. Listing agents can also do buyer agency. Just be sure that you aren’t trying to buy a house that they have listed if you want the true benefits of a buyer’s agent.
Try to find an agent who you can imagine being friends with, or at least someone you’d like to represent you. You’ll be spending at least two months of your life with this person, and the process will be much more enjoyable if you enjoy the company of your agent. Remember, you are essentially hiring your agent, so treat the interview process as just that. You want the agent who you feel would be the best employee for the job you are offering.