I had a buyer once who got advice from some telling them to go directly to the listing agent to write an offer? Really? So, tell me how it is that an agent working on behalf of the seller is supposed to give a buyer the best advice on saving money? Let's forget the argument about commissions and focus on the fundamental flaws with having a single agent represent both the seller and buyer at the same time.
Conflict of Interest
The listing agent can't possibly give the buyer the best advice on negotiating the offer price. This is because that agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller - not the buyer. The agency relationship existed with the seller first and takes priority. Technically speaking, the agent can represent both - but it will rarely, if ever, work to the advantage of the buyer.
The listing agent will not spend time with the buyer working on the details of how to make an offer. The buyer often assumes the agent will simply write the offer - be a paper pusher. This is NOT what the buyer needs. The role of a buyer's agent is to determine the optimal price and make a recommendation to their client. The listing agent won't do this. You may need other things as well including special terms, repairs, etc that will not be included in the offer written by the listing agent.
The buyer often assumes two things when using a listing agent; they'll save money on commissions and still get a good price. Both are more often wrong than right. First, most agents are reluctant to reduce their commissions. Even when pressed they'll push back. You might save a bit but not much in most cases.
Second, as mentioned above, the listing agent isn't going to get to the seller's "bottom line". You need a good buyer's agent to do that. That agent will work on negotiating the price down to get a real price reduction. That's where the real savings comes in - an effective agent who represents...ONLY YOU!
Don't be fooled by the allure of a small commission discount and fake savings. Let your own buyer's agent do their job - you'll do better in the long run.
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Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022