Should I buy through the listing agent?

The Listing Agent’s goal isn’t to get you the RIGHT house, it’s to get you to buy THIS house. Having your own agent means they are motivated to find you the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood no matter how long that takes. Of course, some agents are primarily motivated by the possibility of a bigger commission, so the person they are most concerned with is themselves. Buyer beware!Generally, it’s not actually cheaper to buy with the Listing Agent. Some people believe that if they buy with the Listing Agent, they’ll save money because the agent is going to make extra commission, so they’ll get part of that commission. Truth: the Seller pays the commission so Buyers can’t actually negotiate the commission with the Listing Agent – that conversation took place long ago between the Seller and the Listing Agent and has nothing to do with you, the Buyer. While the Seller may save some money if the Listing Agent brings a Buyer themselves, that’s cash in the Seller’s pocket, not yours.

While the Listing Agent does probably know the house better than anyone else, it’s their job (and to their benefit) to focus on the positives of the house and the neighborhood. Don’t count on the Listing Agent to volunteer information about the termite problem on the street, the hoarder next door, the lawsuit against the condo or the dampness problem in the basement. If you work with an experienced Buyer Agent, it’s their job to represent you and only you. They’ll get the scoop on the house and the neighborhood. They know what questions to ask, where to research and they hopefully already know the neighborhood. Also: some Listing Agents in  don’t do a great job of finding out about the house and the neighborhood and the Buyer’s Agent already knows more than them.

People who work with the Listing Agent almost always reveal their position – their budget, that they’re pregnant or that need to buy a house in the next 30 days. The Buyer’s Agent keeps all of that information confidential so it can’t be used against you in negotiations.One of the most important qualities you need in an agent is negotiating skills. As a Buyer, you want someone who can negotiate on your behalf, and that’s not really possible under Multiple Representation.

Much of this post is from the excellent blog found here.