Using the Listing Agent as your Agent to Buy

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Info for Home Buyers: No Agency and Buying a Home

This post if for all the home buyers out there. As an agent, and especially in this busy market, I get asked by Buyers at my open houses if I can help them in their quest to purchase the property. Given that I’m working in the best interest of my Seller, the answer is yes, I will help the Buyer write the offer. However, there are some details that every Buyer should know before entering into this kind of agreement.

Agency, or lack thereof

There are three different relationships an agent can have with a Buyer:

1. Buyers Agent – This is where Buyers are working with their own Buyers Agent who is doing everything in your best interest. It’s your Buyers Agent duty to help you find a great property, ensure you understand the details of the property (and tell you what is learned about the property, good or bad), and help you buy the property with a price and terms that work for you. Buyers Agents don’t have an existing relationship with the Seller.

2. Dual Agent – This is where the agent you’ve been working with is the listing agent, on a property you’re interested in buying. This Seller and Buyer have to agree to allow the Dual Agent to write the Buyers Contract and present it to the Seller, and the Dual Agent must be impartial to both parties and must fully disclose information relating to the transaction.

3. No agency (aka Customer Relationship) – This is where the Listing Agent has no existing agency relationship with a Buyer. The Listing Agent can help the Buyer write a contract, explain terms and conditions, identify costs, and detail practices and policies, but the Listing Agent cannot give advice to the Buyer.

For any Buyer who a Listing Agent has not previously met and established a relationship with who I meet at an open house, I’ll maintain a “Customer Relationship” with that person if they want me to write an offer on their behalf. That means that I won’t offer advice so you won’t get to tap into the years of real estate knowledge I’ve accumulated on buildings, construction, neighbourhoods and value. I won’t be helping you get the best deal possible. And I won’t help you decipher the strata documents. For Buyers, this isn’t in your best interest, and considering that you don’t have to pay us, it’s in your best interest to engage with your own realtor to develop a trusting and happy relationship with a professional.

Some buyers who choose the “Customer Relationship” route would prefer to ask for a few thousand dollars in commission reduction, thereby saving themselves some money, but without proper representation, you could be paying much more than you need to in the sale price, which negates the commission discount anyways! Some Buyers think that having the Listing Agent write the contract on their behalf will give them a leg up when it comes to multiple offers, but that isn’t true either as it puts the Listing Agent in a precarious position.

Choosing a Real Estate Agent

If you’re reading this and haven’t chosen an agent to work with specifically – our team has 7 agents, lots of different personalities, thorough neighbourhood knowledge and strong experience. Contact us to get started on your search so you can be properly represented when your perfect home hits the market. As your agent, we’ll make sure that you’re knowledgeable, prepared and on the right path to becoming a homeowner. Though the process seems straightforward from an outsiders perspective, there is a lot of finesse that goes into successful real estate transactions. The best part? You don’t pay us, yet you get the benefit of professional representation.