If I happen to be working with a buyer who decides they like a home I have listed I will show it to them, but if they decide to make an offer on that house that I have listed I will refer them to another agent in my office to work exclusively with them on that purchase. I have a duty via my listing agreement to represent the seller's best interests and someone needs to represent the buyers' best interests too.
In Georgia if two agents in the same firm represent the buyer and seller respectively it's a type of dual agency referred to in our state as Designated agency. The agent working with the seller does not communicate with the buyer and the agent working with the buyer does not communicate with the seller. Two separate files are maintained by each agent until it is close when the file is combined for our states 3 year required storage period.
Today we found out that a buyer that had been talking to one of our agents has placed a contract on a property through the listing agent. Well good luck folks. If you think you are getting a better deal by calling and making an offer through someone who has a contractual obligation to represent the best interests of the seller I'm here to tell you that's NOT so. Anything you say about what you are willing to "go up to" and the exact amount you are qualified to purchase is information that agent has a duty to pass along to their seller. Chances are during the negotiations they did just that.
So if you said "we're going to start at $210,000, but we hope we can get the seller to come down to $245,000" and the seller never dropped below $245,000 you can bet that information was used against you. It's actually possible that the seller would have sold for less, but not after you spilled your "top dollar" you were willing to pay to the agent who had a legal obligation to tell their seller that information.
Single agent dual agency is legal in our state, but frankly in my opinion it's just not what SHOULD occur. It does NOT occur in our office. I have had both sides of deal before, but it was when the buyer was knowledgeable enough in real estate matters (an agent or an attorney or an investor) to not want/desire to be treated as more than a customer and didn't "spill the beans" during negotiations.
Agency and how it works in Georgia is always explained to buyers we are working for and they are always given the option of having a different agent show them the listing and work with them if they happen to like a home that is listed by the agent they have a relationship with at the time they decide to see a home that agent has listed.
I'd like to understand what makes a buyer believe they are going to get a "better deal" if they are working with the listing agent. If you happen to be a consumer who thinks this, please by all means give me some insight to why. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don't want to leave a public comment below. I'd love to know.
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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner
Broker License # 169695 Lane Realty License # H-11420
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