Is One buyer Agent Enough?

As more time is spent browsing real estate listings online, home buyers feel readier to move into their next house. The houses advertised online look good and are close to what they can afford. Its time to get serious.

The next step is visiting open houses on the weekend. Walking room to room gives much more clarity and feel about the house than looking at the house online. Driving to the house helps get a read on the neighbourhood. All of this is good except one thing: the inevitable run into an annoying real estate agent.

The real estate agent wants to collect contact info, especially an email address. Visiting one open house after the other, the email address is given to a few agents. A few other agents get the same email address from friends and family who know about the plans to move. Soon enough, a bunch of agents are sending listings and offering help in arranging showings. All of this seems convenient, but there is one question. Is it better to work with many agents and pick one who sends the best listing or is working with only one agent enough?

 

When a buyer has many agents working for them, the chances of getting a good deal appear to be greater. After all, every agent has reasons to push certain listings, don’t they? Also, working with many agents helps figure out which agent is better, right? They are not charging any money for doing all this, so what is the problem? Whoever finds a good deal and firms up the offer will get the business.

There is another side to this story. That is the agents’ side. Real Estate agents are trained to stay in constant contact with anyone they believe is ready to buy or sell a property. Once they have a list of potential buyers, they will devote some time daily to go down the list, to look for matching properties, and send updates. Sometimes this process is automated. If a buyer calls back after receiving a listing, then the agent will try to get their business by booking a showing for them and writing up an offer if they want to buy the house.

Compare the above scenario to a Real Estate Agent who knows that a buyer client in counting only on them to find a house. That client is not part of the ‘the list’. For such a client, after taking care of ‘the list’, the agent will perform a careful search of the MLS, For Sale by Owner sites, Classified advertisements etc. The agent will contact other agents who list most of the houses in the location that the clients prefers. If suitable, the agent will phone call or door knock in desired neighbourhoods. The agent will take the time to attend broker open houses that match the clients need. In short, the agent will go beyond just sending listings to the client if he or she knows the clients are relying on him or her. The agent knows that if I do not serve this client’s needs, they will move on to someone else. Having one agent working for a client exclusively might result in better service than having many agents sending them emails.

Some buyers are reluctant to sign an agreement with an agent that binds them over a certain period. First, not all agents require such a signed agreement. They will trust a spoken agreement with the client.  Also, if a buyer trusts a well recommended agent to do an excellent job , there is no downside to signing a contract. The client may ask the contract period to be shorter than the agent suggests.

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