I don't agree with a lot of this advice - yes, I'm a Realtor in MN.
First of all, every state is going to be different so that's an important consideration.
Here are the issues I see in the above answers -
- Assuming the home you are looking at is listed on MLS, seller pays the real estate commission for both the listing agent and buyers agent. Therefore, you really don't pay for the commission when buying - the seller does. The first response says that if you use the listing agent you can sometimes negotiate a lower fee. Most Realtors won't do that. In addition, if you don't have your own Realtor and want to rely on the listing agent you are now in a Dual Agency arrangement. This must be agreed to by all parties and at that point the Realtor can't offer any pricing advice to either party. If you have your own agent then that person works on your behalf and can negotiate on your behalf.
- While I suppose there are bad Realtors out there I take offense that all Realtors get lumped into a category of only working for their own interests.
- "since the sellers realtor didnt have to split any commissions, he was very motivated to convince the seller he was representing to my offers" Again, this is illegal in Minnesota under Dual Agency and our fiduciary relationship and would subject us to losing our license with the Dept of Commerce. When representing both parties I can't "convince" anyone about pricing - the price negotiations is totally up to the buyer/seller to figure out
- Many states use attorneys to draft contracts but many other states have standard forms that are used for every real estate transaction that are approved by the Department of Commerce
- "In my experience agents are much more willing to get the seller to pay closing costs" Having the seller pay closing costs has much more to do with the buyer's situation than anything. Yes, they are very common today but it has to do more with buyer's not having a lot of extra cash. Personally, I don't like the practice of paying commission on seller pad closing costs and almost every Realtor will agree to a commission restructure to take these out if asked (which I do all the time when representing a seller)
- "I'm assuming you probably have 20% down. Never let your agent know this." Find a Realtor you trust. A Realtor has to at least know if you are doing Conventional or FHA. You must submit a pre-approval letter with any offer that states this and there is a Financing Addendum that goes with any offer that is dependent on the type of financing being used.
- "it is realtors job to make sure the clients dont end up in a bad neighborhood" What's the definition of a "bad neighborhood"? Realtors are bound by Fair Housing laws and can't discriminate. I can point out where to look up police reports and talk about perceptions of schools but one person's bad neighborhood might be another's desired location.
As a buyer, the only time I would think it might be reasonable to not use a Realtor is if you are buying from a seller who is doing a FSBO (For Sale by Owner). In that case you may save since neither of you are paying any commission. Of course, the risk is that you don't have someone watching out for your interests and negotiating on your behalf. That said, the appraisal may give you an out if the negotiated price is too high.
People have bad experiences with lawyers, accountants, doctors, mechanics .... Doesn't mean that they are all bad or that you should do your own surgery