One of the questions that we get a lot from Queens homebuyers is, “Why should I use just one agent?” Now, there are different schools of thought on this but here we will give you our professional opinion and perspective as to why we think it is important to work with just one agent when you’re looking to buy a property in Queens or NYC.
There are home buyers out there who may have bought properties before or may be first-time buyers, either way sometimes their inclination may be to just go directly to a listing agent because that’s how they think they will get a better deal, or better information. The mindset that these buyers have is that if they go directly through the listing agent, they will be given inside information that helps them get a discount or win the property. The reason why buyers think this is because they are aware that if the listing agent has the buyer as well, they will get double the commission (listing side and buyer side). Although this is true, the fact of the matter is that listing agents (or seller agents) have a fiduciary duty to their client (the seller) and as a result, they by law cannot do anything at all that would not be in the seller’s best interest. So for example, if the list price of a property is $500K and the listing agent tells you that the seller will accept $450K, that would be a violation of their fiduciary duty to their client, the seller. This is not only unethical, but more importantly it is illegal. Of course it does happen because some agents let their greed overcome their moral & professional obligations, however, if the listing agent you’re speaking to is a professional, then the opposite will be true and their main objective will be to get you to pay the highest price with the best terms possible because that is in the seller’s best interest.
As a listing agent myself, I can tell you that we get buyers who come to us directly thinking that they are going to get a deal, or get some information that helps them gain leverage over the seller. Unfortunately for them, our team is very well educated and trained on agency laws in NY so they quickly realize that we are not in the business of helping them get a deal, on the contrary, our main objective is to find the best buyer with the best price and best terms possible for our sellers. Some of these buyers end up going to find a buyer’s agent because they understand that we are working for the seller, and in the seller’s best interest, not theirs.
If a buyer comes to us directly , we are very clear that we are working for the seller and in their best interest. As a result, we will never do anything that hurts our sellers. Our job as the listing agents of a property is to justify our listing price, show you all the value that the property has to offer, and negotiate to have you make the highest offer possible. Any good listing agent will understand their fiduciary duty to their seller and as a result you would not get any representation or any benefit from from them.
In our opinion, the best approach for a home buyer is to find an good agent who will represent you and look out for your best interest. Now, can you work with several agents? Yes. Is that the most effective way to find a home? No. For example, can just come into contact with agents at open houses or when you inquire on a property online, but what will happen is that you will end up telling every agent what you’re looking for and they’ll just set you up on listing alerts that match the basic criteria you gave them. What happens then is that you end up having a bunch of different agents showing you a bunch of different properties and you end up just spinning your wheels because you spend time seeing a lot of properties that don’t work for you. Believe us, we’ve seen buyers that work with different agents and they come to our open houses year after year because they haven’t been able to find something. What we’ve found in our experience is that working with several agents is not the most efficient or effective way to finding a property.
If you’re a home buyer or potential home buyer, you probably already know how many properties are out there because they are easily accessible via Zillow, Trulia, Streeteasy, Realtor.com, etc. The value a buyer’s agent can give you is not access to properties because as you can see they are very easy to find. Therefore, the simple answer to the question of why you should work with just one agent is because when you’re looking to buy a property, you want to have one agent who is a local real estate expert, specializes in working with home buyers, and will work for YOU and in YOUR best interest. Ideally you want to work with an agent who works with a lot of buyers because they see tons of properties so they have first hand knowledge of the inventory out there. In addition, they will also know how to narrow your search so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Then when you find the property that you want to make an offer on, a good buyer’s agent will negotiate on your behalf and do everything they can to help you get the property.
As you can see, working with one agent is in your best interest because they will work for you, as opposed to listing and broker agents who are always working for the seller. A good buyer’s agent will also learn your buying patterns and they will learn more about what you want as you go out and see more and more properties together. Going out and seeing a bunch of different properties with a bunch of different agents will just lead to you repeating yourself constantly because none of them will know about your lifestyle, your family dynamic, or what’s really important to you. On the other hand, if you sit down with a good buyer’s agent for a consultation at the beginning of your home search, you can talk through all of your ideas, let them know exactly what you’re looking for, your must-haves, your wishlist items, your area and neighborhood preferences, your preferred school districts, all amenities, features, etc. All of this information in the beginning arms your agent with all of the information they need in order to go and start looking for properties that match your criteria.
The typical buyer consultation lasts between an hour hour to an hour and a half. This 1-1.5 hour meeting will save you a lot of time and stress,
In our opinion this is the most effective way of house hunting in Queens, and then when it comes time to make an offer, they will be able to share comps with you so that you make a fair offer price based on current market conditions. Your buyer agent will be able to give you their opinion on the actual value of the property, whereas a listing agent or brokers agent cannot do that. The answer they are trained to give you if you ask their opinion is, “the asking price”. A good buyer’s agent will make sure that you don’t end up overpaying for a property and a good buyer’s agent will also do due diligence on a property for you to make sure that theren’t any underlying issues you should be aware of. Things like CO searches, violation look ups, open lien lookups, etc.
There are a lot of benefits to working with just one agent. What we believe is that a lot of home buyers are afraid of the commitment that comes with working with just one agent and that is understandable. If you’re afraid of this commitment, then our advice would be to ask for a shorter agreement (i.e. 1 month, 2 months, etc) or you can ask the agent to give you an “easy release agreement” whereby if you are not happy with their service you can cancel it at anytime.
So, why should you work with one agent? In our opinion it’s just the most efficient and effective way of finding a property in Queens. Otherwise you can end up spinning your wheels, wasting a lot of time, and seeing a lot of properties that don’t work for you. Worst case scenario, if you don’t work with just one agent that represents your best interest, then you can very well end up in a situation where your working with an agent who is NOT working for you so you end up on your own throughout the process. We’ve seen this all the time, if their is no client relationship, then most buyers end up fending for themselves in terms of information, due diligence, transaction coordination, and things like that.
Well, hope that answers the question for you. If you have any questions regarding why you should work with one agent, or if you would like to schedule a buyer consultation with one of our buyer agents, feel free to Contact Us any time 🙂