Category Archives: General Knowledge

Help, I’ve got two real estate agents!

 

Since today’s market is much more customer driven, this is actually a pretty common occurrence. So- what do you do to gracefully find a way out of this situation, and how do you avoid running into it again?

First off, did you sign a buyer’s agency agreement with one of your realtors? If so come clean IMMEDIATELY with the other. Even if you purchase a home with the other agent, the first will get the commission, and that is terribly unfair. You go to work every day because you expect a paycheck at the end of the week. No matter how much you love your job there’s no way you would be happy if you walked into payroll about your missed pay, and they informed you that it was never coming.

If you have not signed an agency agreement, you have a little more leeway on who you pick, but let them know as soon as possible. Many people think that realtors make big bucks for very little work, but that’s just not the case. The check that you see go out at close gets split with a broker, and goes towards a number of licensing and equipment fees as well- not to mention taxes. And as I mentioned before, with a customer driven market, more and more of an agent’s time is taken up by consumers who may not pay them at the end of the day, so their per hour rate is plummeting.

All in all it’s a horribly uncomfortable situation, but both agents will appreciate your honesty.

How to avoid it happening again? Direct all property inquiries through your real estate agent. It’s fine if you look around online, but please send inquiries to your personal agent, not to the ones listed on the properties. Odds are they are not the listing agent, they are likely a buyer’s agent as well- who will try and help you find your home. They will not find you answers any faster than your current agent, as they will be using exactly the same channels, and you will once again find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having two employees and only one paycheck.

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Why bother with a real estate agent?

Between Zillow and Realtor.com- who needs ’em, right? Wrong! There are a TON of reasons that a licensed agent will turn your search from painful to pleasant, but if you’re anything like me then you have a 30 second attention span- so I’ll just give you the best of.

1)Buying a house involves a lot of laws! Know what happens when you go to court without a lawyer? You Lose! The closing lawyer is there to represent the bank’s interest, not yours- don’t you want someone familiar with real estate law to watch out for you? Don’t get stuck with cows roaming over your land because the property you just bought came with an easement (and no, you can’t legally do anything to stop them if you really did buy a servient estate, so I hope you like cow patties). Don’t agree to pay all the points on your buyer’s loan if you are selling (you just lost roughly your real estate agent’s fee right there). Agents spend a small fortune to get licensed so that YOU don’t have to worry about that kind of thing (ok, so like a large piggy bank, not a small fortune, but still!)

2)An MLS search form is not the same as the real thing! (And if you said “what?” when I said MLS then stop reading and call a broker). A licensed agent is required to pay a monthly fee for a much more detailed search engine than you are privy to. Sure maybe you can find a 4 bedroom for $150,000 on your own, but what if you could have found one with a fireplace for $200 bucks more? Or if you’re not a pyro (then you should be- just kidding) then your agent can pick out 4 beds with hardwood floors, or fenced backyards. Free searches are free for a reason.

3) Buying a house should make you happy! Not stressed. But the truth of the matter is it’s a very involved process, and having someone to help co-ordinate that process, hold your hand during the closing meeting (figuratively of course, a 3% commission only buys so much!) and talk you down from the roof of your crappy corporation’s office when the bank tells you you only qualify for a $100,000 house on your laughable paycheck, can be (in this case quite seriously) a life saver.

It’s true that not every real estate professional is, well, professional (that’s true in every job from retail to construction to modeling)- so definitely get to know them before signing a buyer’s agency/listing agreement. Ask questions and get a good idea of how they conduct business.  If you do that, and you can keep in mind that they are people too and can neither work 24 hours a day nor conjure miracles, then you will find that your real estate experience can be a very enjoyable one.