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contracting with buyers agent for hard to find property???
Old 04-10-2016, 04:45 PM   #1
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contracting with buyers agent for hard to find property???

Not sure if this is the correct forum, but here goes:

Want to move to another part of the state, 300 miles away. Looking for a property that is hard to come by (home on/near bluff edge overlooking a major river/canyon ffor breath taking unobstructed view of nature,1990 or newer home, huge view windows, min 1 acre (or less if neighboring houses not too visible.) Also need permission (if an HOA is involved) to build 20X40 wood shop.

Have been looking at Redfin, Zillow, Craigs list, FSBO for over a month. Nothing yet, but we can wait 12-18 months if that is what it takes. I'm thinking we need to get a buyers agent involved, as this person hopefully knows more about what is currently available. If no buyers agent, do we just call up the listing agent to tour a home? This seems odd to me as the listing agent is looking out for the sellers best interest, not ours (the buyer).

opinions, comments welcome.
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:03 PM   #2
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Moved this into Other Topics, probably a better fit.

That's an interesting problem. Real estate tends to be local, but when we have bought we have benefited enormously from a buyers agent. Have you interviewed any agents to see if they can help with a search like that?
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:15 PM   #3
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Depending upon the size of the potential area, you may find there are no agents with the local knowledge needed for the entire area. At that point picking one, better be limited to a short time as you may need to dump him/her to pick another one in another area.

The best house I bought was calling up the listing agent to see and buy the home. Listing agents look out for THEIR OWN interest, which when they have the buyer and seller means closing the deal, as they get double commission.

Honestly, unless you are paying a real estate agent per hour, they are not looking out for your interest even as a buyer agent, since they need you to buy something/anything in order to get paid.

for DIY ideas:
Can you not use a map to get names of all streets along rivers/canyons, and then search for "home for sale xxxx river"

Many real estate sites all you to specify details after you register for the site (you are not paying anything for this or hiring an agent) You can select options which might include waterfront or river.
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:28 PM   #4
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This seems odd to me as the listing agent is looking out for the sellers best interest, not ours (the buyer).

opinions, comments welcome.
Really, she is looking out for her interests. In a sellers' market, she can be picky about offers, while in a buyers market she might as well go home. In close- in Seattle neighborhoods today there is often a bidding war, and many hopeful buyers will have all cash and they also may wave contingencies. Commonly if the property is even medium attractive the list price is a floor, not a ceiling. The agents work for themselves, and where market power is determines who she wants to cater to, no matter what the shoulds are.

In a seller's market, as a buyer I would just go home, to a rental where my money would be out of harm's way. But when articles are suggesting that an entire generation will bypass home ownership (2011) I'd go to some open houses. I believe that as a buyer, unless you are a flipper or a corporate buyer, I would not expect much service from a seller's agent. Learn how to use Redfin or Zillow, how to pick up information casually, etc. The sellers and their agents need you at that time. 5 years ago when I started shopping I began with an agent that was very nice, very devoted, but had no talent as a negotiator. That kind of agent will never get you all you can get, and if you are a hard bargainer she may dislike you, and this will be communicated to the sellers one way or another.

All things considered this is likely a very good time to be a seller in Seattle. One can never tell when a market rolls over, but they always roll over. Cities with a big tech draw don't roll over so hard, but I will never forget the drop in Seattle from 1968-'69 to 1973-74. Aerospace is a wild ride.


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Old 04-10-2016, 05:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by infoseeker View Post
Have been looking at Redfin, Zillow, Craigs list, FSBO for over a month. Nothing yet, but we can wait 12-18 months if that is what it takes. I'm thinking we need to get a buyers agent involved, as this person hopefully knows more about what is currently available.
Here's what I am thinking, FWIW (maybe not much, but you be the judge).

If you are in a seller's market, and if a property that meets your requirements comes on the market, you will need to get your offer in there and accepted before somebody else can snatch it out from under you IMO. So, I think you need to have a buyer's agent you have met, who knows your finances and pre-qualifications and so on, and who would jump to get a showing for you and get your offer in pronto.

If/when such a property comes on the market, you don't want to miss out on the chance to get it. Establishing a relationship with a buyer's agent beforehand will speed things up.
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Old 04-10-2016, 06:10 PM   #6
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Do as much research (zillow, etc) and then get your own agent. Tell him/her what you're looking for and let them search it out for you.

I did this when we bought our condo in Az. And again when we sold our office in Il and 1031'd into 3 Fl condos. Getting outside help is imperative when you're not familiar with the areas you are interested in. They can help you from selecting the property through closing.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:04 PM   #7
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....This seems odd to me as the listing agent is looking out for the sellers best interest, not ours (the buyer).

opinions, comments welcome.
Then you need to learn more. The listing agent is contracted by the seller to sell their house..... they have a fiduciary responsibility to the seller since they are contracted by the seller.

While it varies by state... in many cases if you have an agent helping you look at properties even though they are showing properties to you they are actually representing the seller... not the buyer... and in theory would be obligated to share information with the seller (like if you told them you are lowballing an offer but are willing to pay more).

Some states have a buyer's agent where the buyer contracts with an agent to represent them in a house search and the buyer compensates them and in those cases they represent the buyer.
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:03 AM   #8
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There are unfortunately only a few agents that work exclusively for buyers, especially in residential properties. Those are the ones you want. They are usually more prevalent in upper segment properties.

The others (non-exclusive ones) are less useful as they typically do much more transactions for the seller side, and thus tend to act more in their favor.

If you can't find any buyer exclusives in your area, try to put in a specific search with seller agents. But do not contract with them.

Another approach is identifying a few properties that are not currently on the market and ask them to contact you in case they want to sell. Include a nice letter about your dream home and wishes (i.e. make it personal, not commercial).

Statistically speaking anywhere from 3% to 10% of home owners or so will sell in the next year. Saves them alot of hassle too. Worked well for my sister.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:36 PM   #9
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If no buyers agent, do we just call up the listing agent to tour a home? This seems odd to me as the listing agent is looking out for the sellers best interest, not ours (the buyer).
In many (all?) states you can contract with a realtor and have them look for what you want on YOUR behalf.

At the time of sale, YOU would pay the realtor a commission instead of the seller.

We've had people contact us cold with a buyer (we're not interested in selling) who was interested in our home.
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Old 04-11-2016, 01:38 PM   #10
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While it varies by state... in many cases if you have an agent helping you look at properties even though they are showing properties to you they are actually representing the seller... not the buyer... and in theory would be obligated to share information with the seller (like if you told them you are lowballing an offer but are willing to pay more).
I didn't know this, but I did guess that if I wanted to keep something to myself it had to be shared only with myself. I doubt many agents do anything that is not in their personal best interests, which is no indictment of agents, merely recognition of how the world usually works

To deal well one often has to become comfortable with misdirection.

I did pay a 3% commission to an agent that obviously was working for his buyer, and had done repeated and ongoing other business with this buyer. I figured, rightly or wrongly, that my place was not for sale, that this potential and strong buyer literally showed up at my door, and that I could not find another buyer as cheaply or more certainly than the one who had dropped into my life. I also feel that sophisticated buyers have a gross outlay in mind, and unless there are tax issues involved don't care much what the line items are called.

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Old 04-11-2016, 06:27 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the replies. From what I have been reading, the buyers agent is compensated by sharing the commission received by the sellers agent. So we may pay more for the house (to cover the 6% commission), but we do not directly pay our buyers agent.


Yes, I do understand that the sellers agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller. How, then, can we tour a property (and not reveal any information that we dont want shared with the seller) if it is the sellers agent that is giving us the tour?

Sorry for these basic questions.....Newbie at home buying. (Purchased our first and current home 25 years ago from friends. Used an escrow company. No realtors involved.) Young and naive back then. Not so young now, but still naive about how to go about this.

We will be vacationing in the area of our future dream home next month. Husband wants to just drive around the area we would like to live in and look for realtor signs on the property, or go directly to addresses posted on MLS. (you still need a realtor to tour the MLS porperties and those with signs posted on the property, so sounds like we would have to go to a realtor). So, might as well seek out a buyers realtor from the get go

Appreciate any clarification on my thought process.
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Old 04-11-2016, 06:41 PM   #12
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Most of the things you might disclose to the agent assisting you should not be an issue.... however, you would not want to appear desperate to buy and might temper what you communicate regarding your enthusiasm for a house and certainly don't discuss your bidding strategy with them.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:55 AM   #13
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DW and I did something like this once, contacted an agent and gave them our wishlist of what we wanted in a property. For the first month or so we would get listings from her that weren't anything like what we were looking for. When we didn't jump in and buy anything from her right away, she just sort of faded away and stopped sending us listings.

I think it's hard to find an agent that will really be looking for what you want, unless it's really easy to find. Most of them are looking for quick and easy money, and aren't willing to work for it long term. If you manage to find something different, good for you. We have had much better luck doing our own searches now that the internet allows us so much flexibility.
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:48 AM   #14
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If it is really hard to find, an agent might help identify "pocket listings" or properties that aren't on the market but might be for the right price. Another avenue is to identify properties that you are interested in and leave a note on the door/mailbox asking if they are interested in selling. I know some people that have had success in tough markets with that approach.


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Old 04-12-2016, 06:13 AM   #15
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The buyers agent is compensated by sharing the commission received by the sellers agent. So we may pay more for the house (to cover the 6% commission), but we do not directly pay our buyers agent.

Yes, I do understand that the sellers agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the seller. How, then, can we tour a property (and not reveal any information that we dont want shared with the seller) if it is the sellers agent that is giving us the tour?

So, might as well seek out a buyers realtor from the get go
I have bought many properties over the years and always used a buyer's agent. You are correct on how the buyer's agent is paid, but you do not have to pay more for the property. Negotiate for what you are willing to pay. The agents will get what they get. Do not disclose any information to the sellers agent. Only deal with/through your agent. It is also better if your agent is not from the same realtor as the seller's agent, but you may not be able to control that.
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Old 04-12-2016, 09:55 AM   #16
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Would it be productive/proper to walk in to a realtors office (or make an appointment) to briefly discuss what we are looking for then ask if he/she knows of anything available NOT on the MLS (because we have not found anything listed there)/just recently off the market/anything not advertised/a lead on something known only to the realtors?
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:35 AM   #17
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Finding a realtor in an unfamiliar area can be a real challenge because you don't have a built-in network to thin out the herd.

We looked for homes 1300 hundred plus miles away from our home. An area Southern Utah, that has a huge snowbird buying group.We worked with a "buyers" agent but in his his case it was pretty much a marketing ploy. He just showed us a group of homes pulled right off the MLS without adding much to the process. I'd been studying the area and the homes seemed to be priced a little on the high side. We did find one we liked, but I felt it was overpriced to similar listings. When I said we would probably make a lowball offer he commented, well people have a lot of pride in their homes and you wouldn't want to offend them. Never gave us a comp of his own to work with or any reason that would justify the list price.These were almost brand new second homes that people were unloading in the crash.

We felt he marketed himself as a buyer's agent to appeal to out of town buyers, but he didn't really bring anything to the party for us. I might just try to find the biggest real estate agency in town and work with someone there.
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Old 04-12-2016, 04:26 PM   #18
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Would it be productive/proper to walk in to a realtors office (or make an appointment) to briefly discuss what we are looking for then ask if he/she knows of anything available NOT on the MLS (because we have not found anything listed there)/just recently off the market/anything not advertised/a lead on something known only to the realtors?
That is not likely to work since for them to share the commission a property has to be listed by a seller's agent.
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