Agency Relationships

Make an Offer with the Listing Agent or Not?

Suppose you see a property that you really like and don’t have an agent your working with yet. Should you make an offer with the listing agent?

Most real estate deals have two agents included. The listing agent promotes the house and represents the seller. The selling agent usually represents the buyer. The seller typically pays the real estate commissions to both agents.

Making an offer directly to the listing agent, there is only one agent involved, so things work in a different way.

Disclosure and Agency

Making offers directly with the listing agent requires the agent to disclose the potential working relationships that exist. In other words, whether they are going to represent both you and the seller or just represent the seller. Documents need to be acknowledged called agency disclosures that indicate relationships.

Representing both sides, ethical agents become more of a transaction or dual agent, depending on the state you live. In essence these agents do not advocate for either party, but instead provide information and communication between parties.

The agent communicates offers and counter-offers, but will not provide opinions or advice to one party or the other. Additionally, the agent will answer questions, explain things as the transaction progresses, make suggestions about whether getting inspections are a good idea, etc. But they won’t be an advocate for either party.

If the agent discloses that they are acting just for the seller, then they are the advocate for the seller, not the buyer.

In the End

The majority of real estate transactions go well, but almost everyone has a challenge or two. These challenges are frequently minor issue, but sometimes they are not. One party could come out on top in a disagreement and the other may feel that they were treated fairly.

With only one agent, the buyer may feel the agent took the seller’s side in a dispute. Often the criticism is not warranted, but people may still believe they were not “equal in their dealings.”

Make informed decisions before going directly to the listing agent.

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