One of my clients that is now a dear friend wanted me to write about this because new buyers just don't know what really goes on behind the scenes with agents and their commissions.
My wife and I are just now getting in the mood to look for a new home. After researching some on the Internet we have found a few homes that meet our needs. We really liked one of the homes and called the listing agent to go take a look. She met us there and we now want to put our home on the market because we want this one we toured. We have also gone to a few open houses. Also, we would like you to list our home and represent us in negotiating the contract on the new one. Can you help us? Rob & Jenny
Dear Rob & Jenny,
Thanks so much for emailing me. I'd love to assist you with the sale of your home. I do wish you would have called me before going to look at the home with a listing agent. This presents a problem that she was the one that showed it to you. When you want to be represented, your agent must show you the home.
It's a bit sticky also when you go to open houses and the listing agent shows you the home. It seems innocent enough.
Buyers do need their own representation to get the best deal in negotiations. When you sign in at an open house without your agent, be sure to tell the hostess that you are working with someone.
This prevents problems for you and your agent later. Even if you haven't picked someone yet to help you just stay neutral about it till you get the right one.
Most often agents are hosting open house to pick up new clients. They aren't too happy when your agent tells them later that she is working with you. It's kind of like first dibs. Most times it can be handled in a friendly fashion and sometimes not.
Agents work on commission and they don't get paid until you get to a successful closing and it is paid by the seller. The seller agreed to the percentage amount with his listing agent in their contract.
An agent that has first showed you the house can later go after your agent's commission after closing if she can establish she had "procuring cause". Which means, she showed it to you first. Now you can see why it would be a headache for your fabulous agent that helped you all the way through closing.
Research a good agent as well as you look for a house online. Pick someone to help you before you call or go look at homes with a listing agent. Your Realtor will work hard for you and appreciate that you have put your trust in them. Leave it to an expert and you will glide all the way to closing on a wonderful home.