For BuyersFor SellersReal Estate May 26, 2011

Yet Another Reason to Work with a Buyer's Agent

Recently, I was reminded yet again about why it’s so important to have your own agent when buying a home.

Here’s what reminded me of this.  Buyers were interested in purchasing one of my listings, however they already had an offer on another home.  I found this out because their Realtor happened to mention it to me.  She probably shouldn’t have said something to me because she was representing the buyers. It was not something she should have disclosed, but that discussion is for another post.

My point is if these buyers had gone through the listing agent when they made the offer on the first house, there’s no way this situation could have occurred.  The agent could not have represented these buyers on another purchase when the buyers had an offer on the agent’s listing.    Having their own agent allowed these buyers the flexibility to write an offer on another home, while keeping the first offer in place.  Their agent told me if the buyers really wanted my listing, they would back out of the first offer and walk away from their earnest money.   They’d already gone through an inspection on the other home and had no legal reason to back out of the offer, but would have done so if they decided to go forward with my listing.

Could these buyers have done this if they had gone through the listing agent to buy the first home?  Absolutely not.  The listing agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the sellers, obviously, so the agent could do absolutely nothing to jeopardize the sellers’ interests, such as writing up an offer on another home for the buyers.

This situation reminded me of how many times I’d been in negotiations while representing a buyer and another home came on the market that was better for the buyers.  Each time I immediately contacted my buyers and we went and looked at the other home.  Each time they bought the new listing instead of going with the first offer.   It was easy to do for each of these buyers.  I was still keeping an eye out for new listings even as we worked on the offers.  We just jumped in the car and quickly took a look at the new listing.

Most people think it’s great to go through the listing agent to buy a home.   For some people and for some situations that works beautifully.  But what if you decide you want out of the sale?  You want out of the transaction to buy another home or because of an inspection issue or because you’ve changed your mind.  It’s much harder to do when the agent who wrote the offer represents the seller, too.

You never know what can happen.  It’s best to give yourself options and have your own agent so you don’t close the door to any opportunities.  Your agent can give you advice on anything and everything, unlike the agent who represents a seller.  Shouldn’t you have that level of service available to you?  After all, buying a home is a huge decision and you should have resources that are completely available to you at your finger tips.

Can you think of other situations where your buyer or you as a buyer benefited from having your own agent?