I’m constantly hearing “I called the agent on the sign to show me the house because I thought I had to” so I figured it was time for me to write about Buyer Agency, what it is and why it’s so very important for buyers.
What’s the first thing people do when they make the decision to buy a home? They start looking on the internet for homes and they look for for sale signs while driving. Once they see a home that’s in the area they want to live in and meets their criteria from the outside, they do what comes naturally to them which is to call the agent who’s name is on the sign or they call the number listed in the advertisement and that’s exactly what the seller’s agent wants buyers to do but it’s exactly what buyers should never do. But why?
It’s actually quite simple really and actually makes sense if you think about it for a second. The home owner took the time (hopefully) to meet with REALTORS® and hired one to put their home (list) on the market and so the home “owner” has their “own” REALTOR® (representative) representing their interests. The home owner always wants the “highest” price (more than anyone has ever gotten) they can get, well what do home buyers always want? It’s a big stretch to answer but right, the buyer always wants to get the home for the “lowest” price (free). Ok, so if the home owner’s REALTOR® is busy “negotiating” the highest price for the home owner, who is busy “negotiating” the lowest price for the buyer? Nobody, which is where buyer agency (buyer representation) comes into play.
If a buyer wants the “best” possible deal they can get they surely won’t be able to get that with the home owner’s REALTOR®, thus the need for their own REALTOR® aka a buyer’s agent. Why? Because a REALTOR® can not serve two masters. I personally feel that their should be a disclosure on for sale signs which warns buyers of their right to their own representation. It should say “I was hired by the owner. You have the legal right to hire your own buyer agent to protect you. Anything you tell me, I will use to hurt you when I tell the home owner”. The link for the Consumer Notice (Consumer Notice) should also be posted on the sign. Unfortunately, these things are not posted on signs and many listing agents never mention any of this to buyers who call them off of one of their signs for their listings.
Making buyer’s aware of their legal right to have their own representation is required by the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act (RELA) and yet so many consumers still have no idea that they shouldn’t call the listing agent on the for sale sign or why. It’s such a travesty.
Simply put, many listing agents do not like buyer agency because whenever a buyer uses a buyer’s agent instead of them, they have to split the commission with that buyer so instead, they just keep their mouth shut thereby taking away the buyer’s rights.
One listing agent’s secret is every buyer’s loss. Don’t let this happen to you. Do your homework and know your rights before you pick up that phone to call that listing agent.Renee Porsia is a REALTOR® Associate Broker with RE/MAX Action and published author. If you would like to read more articles by Renee Porsia, or are interested in selling or buying a home in the Philadelphia, Bucks or Montgomery County areas, visit her website at www.reneeporsia.com or contact her directly at 215-669-0589 or in the office at 215-358-1100 (ask for Renee). You can also follow Renee on Twitter @reneeporsia