Myths And Misconceptions About Working With A Real Estate Agent

By: Wendy Hauschildt

If you have ever looked for a home, you have received a lot of advice and heard a few horror stories. Most likely a well meaning acquaintance has passed along some of these ideas that aren't particularly truthful. These are the most common misconceptions that agents are faced with frequently.

Myth #1 Working with multiple agents will help you find more home options faster.

All agents use the same MLS to look for properties that suit the buyers criteria. Chances are multiple agents would show you the same set of listings multiple times. In addition, having multiple agents involved confuses loyalties and damages a relationship that is essentially based on trust. In a small market like SPI word of duplicity gets around quickly.

Myth #2 Going direct to the listing agent will save you money.

The listing agent is under contractual obligation to the seller to get them the best price with the best terms. They are also obligated to keep any sensitive information to themselves. That includes facts like how negotiable the seller may be and what his bottom line really is. The listing agent may be in a position to negotiate their own commission as they are enjoying both the list and sales side. However, I would not count on this generosity as part of your business plan. It is usually better to have someone fully representing your needs and interests on your side of the negotiating table.

Myth #3 Go to the busiest agent in town.

Many people choose to buy from the biggest name in the phone book rather than ask for recommendations or interview prospective agents. The busiest agent is in fact very busy and while success doesn't come without customer service, they probably have long standing clients standing in line ahead of you. Choose an agent with the schedule, interest and personality to devote time to your buying needs.

Myth #4 Realtors are just as bad as used car salesmen, don't tell them anything.

Clients sometimes prefer not to tell their agent their true price range thinking that the agent will then only show them the most expensive listings. There usually aren't enough listings on the MLS or enough hours in the day for active agents to play these games. Give your agent a true range and be clear about your needs. Realtors are trained professionals with licenses, government agencies and the prospect of lawsuits watching over them. They don't pawn off the lemon on the lot on an unsuspecting consumer. But they do need the most information to find the correct property among the options.

Myth #5 Going direct to the seller will save money.
Some lucky people do get this to work out. But, the vast majority are buying a property blind. A real estate agent has access to market comparables that help them see what the real cost of a property should be. They can advise you if you are over paying. They can also put you in touch with a professional community that can inspect for termites, structural damage or title problems before an expensive mistake is made. Legal problems can also arise from botched negotiations or inappropriate contract paperwork. Let an agent accept the liability and do things right.

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