First, very few people
actually buy the house they call about.
For argument's sake,
suppose that you call the Realtor who is listing the property you
"might" be interested in. It turns out that the house is
absolutely perfect and affordable and you want to make an offer. Do you want
the same agent who represents the seller to also represent you?
When you make an offer to
buy a house, you are entering a negotiation. The seller wants as high a price
as possible and the buyer wants the lowest price possible. Plus, there is more
to buying a house than just settling on a price. If a Realtor represents
both sides, there is a potential conflict of interest, although an ethical
Realtor can often equally represent both sides. In such a case, however, the agent
becomes more of a transaction facilitator than an agent working actively on
behalf of either the buyer or seller.
You must keep in mind that
there are times when it might not work out, too. The listing agent may
choose to represent only the seller and that would leave you without your own
The Crux of the Matter
Most real estate
transactions go fine, but almost every one has a challenge or two. These
challenges are often routine, but sometimes not. Because the agent has
divided loyalties, one side or another may doubt where those loyalties truly
lie. Mistrust develops. This can take a small problem and blow it
way out of proportion. At that point it becomes a crisis.
Having an agent on your
side as your advocate removes the mistrust and helps keep things on an even
keel. If a challenge develops, you know where your agent stands.