If you think that an agent can represent both the buyer and seller equally, you may want to reconsider. While an agent may have every good intention to do the right thing when in a dual representation situation, it rarely works out best for one party or the other. As the buyer, it is easier for you to find an agent who can represent your needs and goals. Here are 8 reasons to never buy a house without a buyers agent in Los Angeles.
No Extra Cost
You don’t pay for a buyer’s agent. The maximum a real estate transaction can charge is 6% in commission paid to a buyer’s and seller’s agent. The seller pays commission, so this is a cost the buyer never needs to be concerned with. Since you don’t have to worry about the cost, get someone on your side to run the transaction.
Dual Representation Illegal in Places
Dual representation is not even legal in some states. Check with your local board of realtors in Los Angeles to see what is and isn’t allowed. In either case, the reason this is illegal in some places is simply because of the inherent problems that exist with dual representation. The result can be disastrous. In fact, smart real estate agents don’t want to be put in a position where a client feels they aren’t working in their best interest. This is an inherent problem with dual agent status.
The only real negotiating power for dual representation is the seller may accept a lower offer because an agent will lower the 6% fee to 4-5% for the whole transaction. Depending on the cost of the home, this can be considerable. But this is the only negotiating point. Beyond that, the dual agent is trying to appease both sides, which means you don’t have a true representative on your side.
Avoid Conflicts of Interest
As mentioned, conflicts of interest are almost unavoidable in a dual agent scenario. The agent often has a longer relationship with the seller. When the buyer comes along, the buyer is treated more like a transactional client rather than someone the agent needs to get to know to understand his needs and wants. Having your own agent ensures you are getting someone’s undivided attention to fulfilling your needs and desires as best as possible in the home purchase.
When you have a buyer’s agent, you have someone dedicated and loyal to your purchase. This means they aren’t worried about selling you any particular home; they want to find you the right home for your family needs. You want an agent giving you honest feedback, strategy and negotiation tactics that aren’t contingent on the seller’s needs.
Looks at Other Options
A buyer’s agent will make sure you are looking at a variety of homes before making a final decision. In fact, a great buyer’s agent still shows you homes even after you start the purchase process knowing you have certain timelines to get out of the transaction risk-free for a period of time. A buyer’s agent makes sure you have explored all options.
The buyer’s agent is there to hold your hand when you are stressed about the transactions. He will also let you know if you are being unreasonable in a request for repairs or a counteroffer. The buyer’s agent will advise you on offer tactics based on the market to ensure you have the best shot of getting the acceptance without bidding too far out of a realistic price range. You need honest feedback.
Works for You
At the end of the day, the buyer’s agent works for you. They aren’t going to try to talk you into a deal if you decide to walk away. The buyer’s agent knows there are other homes and will listen to your reasons but has nothing to lose if you decide this home isn’t the one for you. The dual agent does – higher commission.