Los Altos Home Sellers, Do You Want Your Agent Representing The Buyer?

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Buyers, frustrated because they are losing out in multiple offer situations are once again turning to the listing agent in hopes of securing a home.  We see this every time we have a shortage of inventory and a surplus of qualified buyers.

The scenario goes something like this; excited home buyers, working together with their real estate agent, submit an offer to purchase a home. Unfortunately, the offer is one of eight and is rejected.  Another property, another offer.  Good news, this time they receive a counter offer.  Bad news, it is one of three counter offers the seller has sent out.

The buyers up the ante and counter the counter offer, but come up short again.  Tired of losing, the buyers become frustrated, mentally drained and slightly pissed off.  Some give up and put the dream of home ownership on hold until “the market gets better.”  Some switch strategies.  Some switch agents.  Others try to get the listing agent to represent them.

Why would home buyers dump their agent (who they have presumably worked with for a while) and turn to the listing agent (who is, in part, the source of their frustration) for help?  In short, they are playing on the agent’s greed. They are hoping that the listing agent will set aside his/her fiduciary obligation to the seller in order to double end the deal. Unfortunately, sometimes this happens.  More often than not it doesn’t.

What Should Sellers Do?

Sellers should have a discussion with their agent prior to listing the property on how offers will be handled by the agent or by the agent’s team. Will the listing agent solely represent the interests of the seller or are they willing to represent both sides?  If they do represent both sides, under what circumstances will this happen?   Note: representing both sides of a transaction is not illegal but needs to be fully disclosed to all parties in writing.  The transaction becomes more complicated and there is a higher probability for litigation down the line.

The following video highlights 5 crucial questions sellers should ask a prospective listing agent about agent representation.

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