Yesterday I was chatting with a friend who was telling me about her experience buying her first piece of real estate (this was long before she met me). Her experience is similar to so many other stories that I have heard and I wanted to share it with you because it is an important example illustrating why it is important to secure representation prior to buying a home.
My friend told me that she met her agent by calling the agent who had a house listed that she was interested in. Before I jump into the rest of her story, I first want to inform you that calling the listing agent directly can be a very murky situation because of the way that “agency” relationships are defined in Oregon. The agent on the sign is most certainly representing the seller and owes the seller a whole host of responsibilities as outlined by the Oregon law. However, the duties that are owed to you, a person simply wanting to see the house, are far more limited. Unless, of course, you and the agent intend on entering into a Disclosed Limited Agency transaction. But,it is likely that you haven’t been briefed on what these legal terms mean yet, so you wouldn’t be aware of the implications that can arise by an agent who represents more than one party. For clarification, I’ve written a previous post outlining what each of these agency relationships mean – see this link.
To continue: My friend did not buy the home that she saw listed with that broker. Instead, the agent just went ahead and started showing her property, without having any further discussion about buyer representation. My friend said that she was very uncomfortable with the agent and wasn’t clear on when their Buyer-Broker relationship became established. But, because my friend and her husband were new at this, they went along with it, because they didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and because they were unaware that they had a choice. My friends were further disappointed when they found out that this particular person had never actually sold a house before, and showed them houses that did not match their search criteria. On top of that, the agent spoke to them in ways that were derogatory and communication was totally unclear. Overall, it was a negative experience.
I have another friend who told me that the agent who sold her the house she is in (again, before she met me) didn’t actually DO anything to help her find the house. She said that she was the one who had to come up with listings to see. Yikes!
To me, these stories are very alarming, but they are all to familiar. Here is a basic outline of how I work, should you choose to work with me, or, if you are located outside of my area of expertise you can use this as a model to help you find a quality agent. Make sure you find quality representation!
It is in your best interest to secure representation before you find a home that you are interested in.
The first thing that I do if you are interested in purchasing a home is sit down for an initial consultation. During this meeting, I will discuss with you my qualifications. We will talk about your plans for financing and their implications, if any, on the type of home that you would like to buy. We will go over the Initial Agency Disclosure pamphlet that I am required by law to give you. We will talk about how exactly I will go about finding your home and how to handle FSBOs (For Sale By Owners). We will thoroughly discuss your desires in a home and your price range so that I can be sure to send you listings that ONLY match your search criteria. You will be very clear from the get-go on how and when you will receive new listings from me. And, most importantly, I will obtain your consent prior to attempting to find you a home. To be clear: I only work with clients that really want to work with me, and people that I would like to work for.
For the record – should you get in touch with me because I have a home listed for sale that you are interested in purchasing, I will show you the house, and then discuss with you whether or not you are interested in working with me in finding you a home. We will then have our meeting about starting Buyer-representation.
I hope this clarifies starting a Buyer-Broker relationship for you. While we are on the subject, check out my previous post on what questions I think are most important when you interview a prospective agent.
What was your experience in working with a Buyer’s Agent?