These days you can do so much research online to find new listings and research home values. It’s tempting to think you can just find a house and make an offer…and you can. But you’d be shooting yourself in the foot. Why?

Did you know that the listing agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the Seller of the home. That means their job is to get the highest price possible for the Seller. If you walk into their open house and make an offer, you may be able to get a little off the list price if there are no other higher offers, but in all likelihood you’ll be paying more than your own agent would negotiate for you. It’s a common misconception that if you make an offer with the listing agent, the Seller saves money on the commission. Some agents may give the Seller a slight discount, but typically the listing agent gets to keep the full commission - both sides. So you will be paying more than you need to and the listing agent gets paid double. Does this sound fair to you?

A good buyers agent will recommend inspections to identify the most likely problem areas and fight hard to get you a credit to help pay for those repairs. During your investigation period you will likely find things wrong with the house. Some may be minor, some may need attention, and some may be reason to walk away from the purchase. Last year I saved buyers an average of $8,455 on their home purchases based on defects we found during the inspection process and helped a client walk away from one that simply had too many issues. Do you think it’s likely the listing agent would push to get you a large discount or encourage you to walk away from the purchase?

There are reputable Realtors who will do their best to stay true and fair to both sides. Their responsibility is to make sure both the Buyer and Seller get the best possible representation and advice, but it’s complicated. It can be done, but it’s a lot of trust to put into a stranger who already has a relationship with the Seller before they’ve even met you. So if you choose this route, do it carefully.

If you are prepared with your own experienced Realtor, with a fiduciary responsibility to you, you’ll know you have someone dedicated to watching out for your best interests.

Tiffany Thompson