Home Buying – Should I just call the listing agent?

  • 4 min read

Business owners tend to be do-it-yourself (DIY) types when it comes to home buying.  They decide they want to buy a home and they start looking…visiting open houses, visiting builder model homes, or calling listing agents to view homes one by one.  

By having your own buyer’s agent, you have someone that can listen to your interests, provide perspective to the market, make suggestions, and maybe even guide you to a home that hasn’t been listed yet but will be soon.  An agent of your own would help you walk through the decision process and help you understand your options when emotions run high and could cloud your judgement.

Maybe you think it is easier.  You won’t have to bother an agent to show you homes when you can call and coordinate with the listing agent on your own or you could visit a model home on your own.

Let’s discuss why this might not be the best idea.

First of all, in North Carolina, ALL agents represent the seller EVERY time UNLESS they have a buyers agreement with YOU.  That means, when you walk into an open house or call an agent from a yard sign for a house that is for sale, that agent represents the SELLER.  Anything you share with them in that showing or at the open house about your situation, they can tell the seller.  This may not matter unless you really like the home because you just showed your motivations to the person representing the seller.  

If your only goal is to obtain the house and not to get the best deal possible, then it might not matter as much.  Here’s the thing with that, you just don’t know what the future holds…the house could have some issues, the sellers could have some issues, you could have some issues…why would you go to the agent representing the opposite party and spill your guts?  Do you think you can hold back everything?  

If you tell an agent that you love a house and you’ll do whatever you have to in order to get it.  You’ll likely pay too much and you won’t be able to negotiate many repairs or concessions because you’ve moved into the house already…in your mind.  

What about model homes and new construction…aren’t the builder’s price and options set for everyone?  Not exactly.  The agent working in the model home is employed by the builder.  They do not represent you in any way.  Bringing your own representation with you to your first visit is important.  Working with an agent that has experience with builder reps and new home purchases is also important.  You want someone who will guide you through the various inspections (pre-drywall is very important!) that you should have and one that will be another set of eyes and an advocate for you when the finishes are right, the drywall seams are sloppy,  or the appliances are scratched and dented.  Once you close, it is yours to deal with.  You need to address these things well before closing and builders may try to rush the process or make it more difficult to get you to want to close as-is.  

You should have your own representation.  

The seller and the listing firm have likely agreed to cooperate and pay a buyer’s agent.  So why not have your OWN representation that can act as a fiduciary for YOU?  When you have your own agent as a buyer, you have someone looking out for your interests.  If you decide to hire the listing agent as your buyer’s agent, that agent turns into an intermediary that doesn’t have a fiduciary duty to either party.  They only work to relay information and guide both parties through the transaction as an unbiased party.  

Why waste a seller paying for your buyer’s agent on someone that cannot protect you?  

Anything you tell them, they have to tell the seller and visa versa.  It is called dual-agency and it is perfectly legal and acceptable in the state of North Carolina but it may not be in your best interest.  In most cases, it costs you nothing to work with your own agent.  Take this into consideration when deciding how you will approach your next home buying adventure…will you DIY or work with an agent that will have a fiduciary duty to you?

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