We've been meaning to address this topic for awhile because there are some buyers in the Madison area who are trying to purchase a home or condo by working directly with the listing agent. Rather than hire a good buyer agent, these buyers are searching for properties online and then calling listing agents to schedule a private showing. Although this approach sounds simple in theory, it usually doesn't work. Below we share a few reasons why you shouldn't try to buy a home directly through the listing agent.
Why you shouldn't try to buy a home through the listing agent
#1: Your search usually isn't focused on the right properties. If you're doing your own property searches online, then chances are you are focusing on many of the wrong listings. Take the website, Zillow, as an example. Roughly 50% of the listings that appear to be available for sale on Zillow are actually already under contract and scheduled to close soon. Unless you have the real-time information that a buyer agent has about each listing, you're handicapping yourself when you rely on sites like Trulia and Zillow.
#2: You are usually late to the party when you try to buy through the listing agent. Madison area properties are selling at the fastest pace on record, and the very best listings are selling in a matter of days or even hours. If you're hoping to buy in 2018, you'll need to have a systematic and comprehensive search in place, and you will need to act quickly. A good buyer agent team will help you set up the right search - and just as important - act immediately when you need to see a property, get a price opinion, and write an offer.
#3: You are competing against seasoned buyer agents who do this for a living. Some Madison area agents have become very good at writing an effective offer in our low-inventory market. If you choose to write your offer directly through the listing agent, keep in mind you most likely are competing against other buyers who are represented by an experienced agent. We recommend you hire your own buyer representative who will help you craft an effective offer and protect your best interests throughout the entire process.
#4: The listing agent represents the seller, not you. In other words it is the listing agent's job to serve the seller's best interests, not yours. This is perhaps the most important reason why you should write your offer with the assistance of a buyer representative. Do yourself a favor and hire a good buyer agent who will guide you and give you peace of mind during your home buying journey.
Two recent examples of buyer's remorse
Our real estate team team recently met two different buyers who regretted their decision to write an offer through the listing agent. In both cases the buyers felt they ended up over-paying for their property. They also regretted not having someone in their corner for their home inspection. Unfortunately, both buyers learned the hard way that buyer representation is a smart play in a seller's market.
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Dan Miller, REALTOR
Mad City Dream Homes & RE/MAX Preferred