There seems to be a lot of confusion among some buyer’s about how the process of searching for homes works. This is my view and may not reflect the views of other agents you speak to because we are all different and real estate is not one size fits all.
Not a day goes by where I don’t receive a call from a buyer requesting information about a property. These buyers go onto sites like Zillow or Trulia and think that the agents who are featured next to properties are the listing agents and so these buyers call to find out information about these properties.
Zillow and Trulia are not brokerage sites and the information that they display is not always accurate or current. These two sites are not Brokerage sites but rather company’s that are in business to sell featured spots to agents. So the first confusion is that the agents featured next to the listing are the listing agents.
So a buyer calls me today and wants to know if a particular property has any structural issues, termites or is there anything else this buyer needs to know before he decides whether he wants to see the property or not. So I ask the buyer if they have talked to any mortgage people and he explains that he has and goes on to tell me a bit about what he intends in terms of financing this purchase. Remember that he thinks that I am the listing agent and he has already told me information that if I were the listing agent I could use against him in a negotiation..
Then I ask him how long he has been looking for properties and he says a while and so I say are you working with an agent? Well yes I am and I say why are you not asking your agent questions about this property? He says he doesn’t want to bother his agent because he is looking at a lot of houses. I then tell him I am not the listing agent and for me to look up any information for him would mean I am spending my time and his agent would get paid. This buyer did not say “I am a buyer and I want information about this property and I am working with an agent” which would have been honest.
Buyers need to understand that if they are working with an agent it is that agent who will be paid the commission when they buy a house and part of the job is answering your questions and guiding you through the process. I have shown 50-60 houses to buyer’s until they find the right house and sometimes it takes time to find just the right property. If a buyer calls a listing agent only ministerial questions can be answered and when you ask “what do I think of the price” I can’t answer it because I represent the seller and it is my obligation to protect the sellers interests…..
Buyers who call listing agents do not know which things they may say that could hurt them down the road in a negotiation and it is not as simple as just asking a question about a property. You have an agent representing you – please call them.