Updated: Jul 1, 2019
I cried a little inside the last time I heard this at an open house I was hosting: "There is nothing wrong with calling listing agents to see homes we are interested in if our agent is not available."
Buyers tend to think, “We hate to bother them every time there is something we see of interest.”
This approach can and will backfire on a buyer. Let me explain:
A listing agent has a fiduciary duty to represent the seller. This means the listing agent has a special legal responsibility in connection with the administration, investment, and care of their client - the home seller, and the seller's assets. This requires the agent to make careful, good-faith decisions in the best interest of the seller. Their actions must be made independently and free of any undue influence from any person or organization, including you, the potential buyer.
Buyers with agent representation who ask listing agents to show their listing put everyone in a precarious professional situation. Agents don’t like to step on other agents’ toes and do not want to be put in an awkward situation.
Consider this scenario:
John and Jennifer call a listing agent direct to see the agent's listing. The agent (representing the sellers) meets them at the property and spends about 30 minutes getting to know the buyers, understanding their needs and goals, and hearing the couple gush about how much the love the house. They say they want to write an offer and will call their agent to draft it up. The scenario can create some bad feelings with the listing agent and whether they want to admit it or not, potentially compromise the good standing of the offer when the buyers' agent sends it over. The time the listing agent spent getting to know the "potential clients" by showing the home, sharing information and details should have been conducted by the buyers' agent.
While a buyer can work with any agent they want to write an offer, it is important to understand that until the listing agent and buyer sign a Buyer/Broker agreement and Dual Agency Disclosures, the listing agent works solely for the sellers. None of the information the buyers reveal to the agent is confidential, and the agent has no obligation to disclose known pertinent information to the buyers.
If a buyer has an agent, they need to work through their agent for all showings. Real estate agent communities are "small worlds;" word will get out very quickly about the buyers calling every listing agent in certain areas to see homes on their own.
Listing agents will grow suspicious and will surely want to know which agent the buyer is working with, whether they have been pre-approved and what their status is, as far as being able to buy a home.
When I represent my buyers, I am committed to providing 100 percent of my time, attention and resources to their home buying needs and goals. I have a fiduciary duty to serve and protect my buyers' interests. When my commitment to providing the highest level of service is disregarded because my buyers didn't want to bother me, they are putting both of us at a disadvantage when it comes time to represent them in a home purchase. As a full-time real estate agent, I am available every day of the week and no question or request is too big or small! (805) 630-2869 Brooke Grayson, your Realtor