SHOULD I USE THE LISTING AGENT WHEN PURCHASING A HOME?
When looking at properties, you will notice that there is a particular agent listed for that property; known as the “listing agent”. Many people ask, should I just contact the 'listing agent'about the property? After all, they should know all about the home and it may even save me money…. Right? The answer is … yes you can contact the listing agent, but NO you should not and here is why.
First, a REALTOR will know about the properties that are listed in the area or they can easily investigate the property for you. So, it is a myth to think that the listing agent will know more. As a matter of fact, a buyer’s agent will usually take the time to investigate the property for you; so don’t fall for the old adage that the agent that list the property will know more about it; its just not always true.
Secondly, the Sellers agent (or listing agent) has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller as the seller has hired that agent to work for them. In return, the seller will pay their agent the commission fee or what is their paycheck. Therefore, as the buyer by you getting your own agent it will not cost you a dime because the seller has paid the money. (your buyer agent gets paid through the other agent)
When looking at getting an agent think about it, if you are being sued, then you would not want to use the lawyer of the person suing you; you would want to have your own lawyer for representation. It just makes since to seek your own agent. Also, because of the fiduciary responsibility of the agent most states now do not practice what they call dual agency so you may have one that is appointed to you if you contact that agent. It makes much more sense to find someone that you can work with and feel comfortable with.
Third, some individuals think that they may save money with the listing agent because they can talk them down on price. This is not likely. The listing agent will work hard to get the best price for the property that they have listed as this is what they are working for. In utilizing a buyer’s agent, you will have a professional that is on YOUR side that specializes in negotiations for the price of the home. It is very possible that you could not only save money using a buyer agent, but limit complications that may arise. For example, a listed home has a lien against the property which may not be known until it is investigated. Most of the time your agent can work to clear these things up for you so that you are not stuck with a huge headache.
Bottom line… It is impossible for the agent to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to both parties always have someone that is on your side.