Zillow agents?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
AussieDad
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:54 pm

Zillow agents?

Post by AussieDad »

My wife and I were looking at a resale listed on Zillow recently. We have a friend that’s an agent, but she was not feeling well and could not accompany us to see the house, so we just set up an appointment time on Zillow. They provided us with an agent to show us the house and the seller’s agent was present. We didn’t sign anything on paper, but I’m pretty sure my wife did acknowledge or agree to whatever terms Zillow sent electronically. Unfortunately we probably didn’t read the electronic terms that closely and quite honestly have very little recollection of what they may have consisted of.

The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.

It’s been 23 years since we have negotiated a home purchase, so we’re a bit lost concerning the details.
User avatar
MP123
Posts: 2892
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by MP123 »

AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.
Are you making an offer on this house? Or looking at others?

The Zillow agent that first showed you the property is likely due a commission as the procuring cause of the transaction if you buy that house. If you're looking at other houses then you probably have no obligation to use them for those unless you signed a buyer's agreement with the Zillow agent.
Topic Author
AussieDad
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:54 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by AussieDad »

MP123 wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:37 pm
AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.
Are you making an offer on this house? Or looking at others?

The Zillow agent that first showed you the property is likely due a commission as the procuring cause of the transaction if you buy that house. If you're looking at other houses then you probably have no obligation to use them for those unless you signed a buyer's agreement with the Zillow agent.
We are considering making an offer on this house.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 7339
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by SmileyFace »

Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
Last edited by SmileyFace on Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
adamthesmythe
Posts: 5013
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by adamthesmythe »

The Zillow agent is the procuring cause and is entitled to a commission- unless, I suppose, he agrees to waive it, but then why should he?

If you make an offer you get to find out how helpful a Zillow agent is.
Topic Author
AussieDad
Posts: 219
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:54 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by AussieDad »

SmileyFace wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:26 pm Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
I Honestly did not know how Zillow worked. I thought at first we were booking an appointment with the listing agent, then a different agent called. There was just an option to book an appointment to see the house. I thought that was all we were doing. I didn’t realize I was committing to working with a particular 3rd party. I was never asked to sign any sort of agreement. I agree she deserves to be paid for her time, and had I elected to use her as my buyer’s agent she would be (and may still be). I’m not having much luck finding a Zillow buyers agreement for my state. I still find it hard to believe that by setting up an appointment from my phone and possibly agreeing to whatever terms electronically that I have locked myself into using this agent without signing something in writing. The agent was not pushy at all and just asked if she could email some more homes.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 7339
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by SmileyFace »

AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:22 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:26 pm Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
I Honestly did not know how Zillow worked. I thought at first we were booking an appointment with the listing agent, then a different agent called. There was just an option to book an appointment to see the house. I thought that was all we were doing. I didn’t realize I was committing to working with a particular 3rd party. I was never asked to sign any sort of agreement. I agree she deserves to be paid for her time, and had I elected to use her as my buyer’s agent she would be (and may still be). I’m not having much luck finding a Zillow buyers agreement for my state. I still find it hard to believe that by setting up an appointment from my phone and possibly agreeing to whatever terms electronically that I have locked myself into using this agent without signing something in writing. The agent was not pushy at all and just asked if she could email some more homes.
I could be wrong by the way. You may not have an obligation.
BillyK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:30 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by BillyK »

Just showing someone a property isn’t necessarily procuring cause. Buyers show up all of the time on open houses, then come back with another agent to make an offer.

Most likely what the Zillow agent sent your wife was nothing more than an information about brokerages type form that isn’t a form that commits you in any way to paying a commission. It just a state licensing requirement that spells out the types of agency relationships that exists, and it is required to be provided prior to any substantive real estate discussions. Most states have such a requirement.

If your agent friend wishes to receive a commission as a buyer’s agent, the issue is between your agent (or their broker) and the Zillow broker. That isn’t something for you to be concerned in the least. The seller is paying the commission, not you. Your agent should be able to explain it to you. If the Zillow listing agent wishes to pay a cut of their share commission to the agent that showed your wife the property, that is up to them, but not your worry.
User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 2862
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by jabberwockOG »

AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:22 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:26 pm Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
I Honestly did not know how Zillow worked. I thought at first we were booking an appointment with the listing agent, then a different agent called. There was just an option to book an appointment to see the house. I thought that was all we were doing. I didn’t realize I was committing to working with a particular 3rd party. I was never asked to sign any sort of agreement. I agree she deserves to be paid for her time, and had I elected to use her as my buyer’s agent she would be (and may still be). I’m not having much luck finding a Zillow buyers agreement for my state. I still find it hard to believe that by setting up an appointment from my phone and possibly agreeing to whatever terms electronically that I have locked myself into using this agent without signing something in writing. The agent was not pushy at all and just asked if she could email some more homes.
You needed to ask these questions and do the research before you used the agent provided by zillow to show you that specific house. Once you ask an agent to take the time to meet you and show you a house, and you eventually purchase that specific house, that agent is entitled to a share of the commission per the purchase contract. You might try to use another agent and hope the original agent does not hear of it but I would not risk it. You might get sued. Asking an agent to show you a house that is for sale is not like randomly walking into an open house being hosted by a seller's agent.
BillyK
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:30 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by BillyK »

jabberwockOG wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:07 pm
AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:22 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:26 pm Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
I Honestly did not know how Zillow worked. I thought at first we were booking an appointment with the listing agent, then a different agent called. There was just an option to book an appointment to see the house. I thought that was all we were doing. I didn’t realize I was committing to working with a particular 3rd party. I was never asked to sign any sort of agreement. I agree she deserves to be paid for her time, and had I elected to use her as my buyer’s agent she would be (and may still be). I’m not having much luck finding a Zillow buyers agreement for my state. I still find it hard to believe that by setting up an appointment from my phone and possibly agreeing to whatever terms electronically that I have locked myself into using this agent without signing something in writing. The agent was not pushy at all and just asked if she could email some more homes.
You needed to ask these questions and do the research before you used the agent provided by zillow to show you that specific house. Once you ask an agent to take the time to meet you and show you a house, and you eventually purchase that specific house, that agent is entitled to a share of the commission per the purchase contract. You might try to use another agent and hope the original agent does not hear of it but I would not risk it. You might get sued. Asking an agent to show you a house that is for sale is not like randomly walking into an open house being hosted by a seller's agent.
What purchase contract? They haven’t made an offer yet, or more importantly an accepted offer. An agent just showing a listing is not procuring cause. The listing agreement between the seller and Zillow’s brokerage which spells out the terms of the commission. If the property is listed in the MLS, they cooperate (share commissions) with other brokerages. Any debate about the commission is between the two brokerages and not the buyers. The seller is the one paying the commission, so it is between them and their listing agent and any other brokers as part of the MLS rules. Not a concern of the buyers.

Additionally, any of the states that I am licensed as a real estate broker that allow for dual agency, it needs to be specifically spelled out and signed by both the sellers and buyers. Then depending on the state’s dual agency type, the broker assigns an agent to represent the buyer and another for the seller. Then in that case the listing agent shouldn’t be talking to the buyers or remotely telling them that there is more “negotiating room in the price” since they are violating their fiduciary relationship to the seller.
silvergga
Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:58 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by silvergga »

"They provided us with an agent to show us the house and the seller’s agent was present"

So the Zillow agent met you there/took you there and showed you the house. I feel that agent is supposed to earn that commission if you were to make an offer.

Now you are considering kicking him out of the deal so you can negotiate with the listing agent directly?

Why didn't you just call the listing agent directly instead of wasting the Zillow agent's time?

*bought 2 houses over the last 10 years. bought 1 of them through the listing agent (i.e. agent represented both the buyer and seller)
User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 2862
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by jabberwockOG »

BillyK wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:12 pm
jabberwockOG wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 10:07 pm
AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:22 pm
SmileyFace wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:26 pm Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
I Honestly did not know how Zillow worked. I thought at first we were booking an appointment with the listing agent, then a different agent called. There was just an option to book an appointment to see the house. I thought that was all we were doing. I didn’t realize I was committing to working with a particular 3rd party. I was never asked to sign any sort of agreement. I agree she deserves to be paid for her time, and had I elected to use her as my buyer’s agent she would be (and may still be). I’m not having much luck finding a Zillow buyers agreement for my state. I still find it hard to believe that by setting up an appointment from my phone and possibly agreeing to whatever terms electronically that I have locked myself into using this agent without signing something in writing. The agent was not pushy at all and just asked if she could email some more homes.
You needed to ask these questions and do the research before you used the agent provided by zillow to show you that specific house. Once you ask an agent to take the time to meet you and show you a house, and you eventually purchase that specific house, that agent is entitled to a share of the commission per the purchase contract. You might try to use another agent and hope the original agent does not hear of it but I would not risk it. You might get sued. Asking an agent to show you a house that is for sale is not like randomly walking into an open house being hosted by a seller's agent.
What purchase contract? They haven’t made an offer yet, or more importantly an accepted offer. An agent just showing a listing is not procuring cause. The listing agreement between the seller and Zillow’s brokerage which spells out the terms of the commission. If the property is listed in the MLS, they cooperate (share commissions) with other brokerages. Any debate about the commission is between the two brokerages and not the buyers. The seller is the one paying the commission, so it is between them and their listing agent and any other brokers as part of the MLS rules. Not a concern of the buyers.

Additionally, any of the states that I am licensed as a real estate broker that allow for dual agency, it needs to be specifically spelled out and signed by both the sellers and buyers. Then depending on the state’s dual agency type, the broker assigns an agent to represent the buyer and another for the seller. Then in that case the listing agent shouldn’t be talking to the buyers or remotely telling them that there is more “negotiating room in the price” since they are violating their fiduciary relationship to the seller.
The specific commission amount (or percentage) for the listing and the buyer's agent is in the MLS, and the specific percentages (or amounts) for listing and buyer's agent (if there is one) would be specified in the executed purchase contract - if and when an offer is made and accepted. If they execute a purchase contract on it, the buyers might get away with ignoring the first agent that showed them the home, but they might also get sued by that person.
Tavistock1
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:57 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by Tavistock1 »

AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm My wife and I were looking at a resale listed on Zillow recently. We have a friend that’s an agent, but she was not feeling well and could not accompany us to see the house, so we just set up an appointment time on Zillow. They provided us with an agent to show us the house and the seller’s agent was present. We didn’t sign anything on paper, but I’m pretty sure my wife did acknowledge or agree to whatever terms Zillow sent electronically. Unfortunately we probably didn’t read the electronic terms that closely and quite honestly have very little recollection of what they may have consisted of.

The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.

It’s been 23 years since we have negotiated a home purchase, so we’re a bit lost concerning the details.
Experienced realtor and (was) a long time user of Zillow…some ?’s:

1) depending on the state you’re in the Zillow agent may be required to present you with a “consumer notice”. This is not a contract but simply describes how agents work with consumers. In some states, this is a strict requirement. A quick call to your states’ real estate commission ( or ask your friend) could verify this. If the Zillow agent didn’t present this and it was required, then that agent didn’t act properly. It’s an “out” and you can call your agent and have her work up the offer ( if a truly good agent, she ought to ask to see the property to evaluate before doing so)
2) if the above isn’t applicable, you might be in a pickle. I recall one instance where a client had been casually looking for a home (for 2+ years) . Husband called, stating his wife had contacted the listing agent to visit and that they were interested. I suggested he and I visit so that I could evaluate. That done, I approved of the home ( infrastructure , location, condition, price , etc) we negotiated the deal, secured the home. Listing agent called immediately thereafter and asked about commission ( implying that since she’d shown the property she was entitled to at least a portion of my commission). I stated that it was best to work through the transaction to the benefit of both buyer and seller and if she had further issue, take it up after settlement. Property settled. 5 minutes post settlement action was brought by the listing agent for « procuring cause” . I consulted an attorney who suggested I offer a portion of my commission - back and forth til I offered 35%. Rejected, they claimed they were entitled to 109%. we went before the local real estate board. Fortunately, the listing agent got nothing ( significant 5 figure commission) though it did cost 3k+ for the attorney to show up). In short, as the attorney explained when it started, procuring cause is a moving target and could go either way- this my offer of 35%.

3) having been a Zillow agent, I’ve had a few instances where the consumer, upon meeting me at the home they’d requested a showing of, noted they had an agent and would like to work with that agent. In those instances, I always stated « no problem » showed them the home, making note of any issues I saw along the way as I would with any buyer ( age of roof , hvac, water issues, location, windows etc ) once done, I bid them good day and good luck. You might call the Zillow agent you just met, note that you’d been working with a trusted agent and would prefer to do that. Many agents would simply say no problem. Some might say fine but if successful They’d like a referral fee. Some might push the issue, at which point I might politely say something like « we think this is unfair and do you really want to work with a buyer who has no interest in working with you? » not a good start for what is an extremely important venture.
Tavistock1
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:57 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by Tavistock1 »

adamthesmythe wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:28 pm The Zillow agent is the procuring cause and is entitled to a commission- unless, I suppose, he agrees to waive it, but then why should he?

If you make an offer you get to find out how helpful a Zillow agent is.
« But then why should he ? » simple- op has a trusted agent, a home purchase is an extremely important, personal adventure, and they have a trusted advocate. While I can (sort of) understand a potential referral fee to the Zillow agent, to say that the op should just run with the Zillow agent simply because they wanted to see a home ( and had no idea of the rules of the game ) is simply wrong. That’s why
Tavistock1
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:57 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by Tavistock1 »

SmileyFace wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:26 pm Google "Zillow Agent Agreement (state name)" and you should find some legal info on your agreement.
If you booked an appointment with them to take time out of their day to show you the house, shouldn't they be entitled to the commission? (I know you didn't interview them - but by booking the appointment thru them you chose to use them as your buyers agent versus calling your favorite real estate agent to arrange showing you the house).
And of course your Wife's freind, an agent, would want to get involved so that they can claim the buyer's agent commission - but you have already contracted a zillow agent for this house (unless I am missing something).
Zillow doesn’t have any agreement that states when a consumer is shown a home by the agent affiliated w Zillow that the consumer is obligated in any way to work with that agent- that determination is by the state in which the transaction occurs.

To those curious how Zillow works- an agent pays Zillow to show up in a given zip code - I paid them in as many as 4 zip codes. It’s simple marketing. Consumer clicks to schedule an appt. and the Zillow agent « next in line » in the given zip « gets the lead » . For the agent, it’s an opportunity to meet buyers who, after the showing , might conclude « that agent really knows his/her stuff, I feel comfortable with them, I’ll work with them ». For the agent, another marketing opportunity , that’s all. Because an agent is « on » Zillow does not imply any expertise. I was one of the original « subscribers » in my area. It worked well for years until Zillow sliced the program ( more $ from more agents for less leads) and required that in order for an agent to « get the lead » they HAVE to answer the phone immediately- regardless of time of day , conflict like in a meeting, etc. or lose the lead. Ridiculous…so I stopped.
William104
Posts: 117
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:09 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by William104 »

AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm My wife and I were looking at a resale listed on Zillow recently. We have a friend that’s an agent, but she was not feeling well and could not accompany us to see the house, so we just set up an appointment time on Zillow. They provided us with an agent to show us the house and the seller’s agent was present. We didn’t sign anything on paper, but I’m pretty sure my wife did acknowledge or agree to whatever terms Zillow sent electronically. Unfortunately we probably didn’t read the electronic terms that closely and quite honestly have very little recollection of what they may have consisted of.

The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.

It’s been 23 years since we have negotiated a home purchase, so we’re a bit lost concerning the details.
I'm surprised no one has pointed this out yet... If the listing agent is offering you a better deal to cut out the agent who directly showed you the house while they were there then you've got a seriously unethical agent on your hands trying to work a deal. If you do end up using your friend to represent you then the right thing to do would be to pay the Zillow agent who actually showed you the house a referral fee. Even though you didn't know how things worked, you took their time to show you a house that you may end up purchasing and are wanting someone else to get paid for their work. While you may be able to skirt legal obligations, doing the right thing and compensating those who did work for you is the better way to go. Just my .02
Tavistock1
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:57 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by Tavistock1 »

William104 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:40 am
AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm My wife and I were looking at a resale listed on Zillow recently. We have a friend that’s an agent, but she was not feeling well and could not accompany us to see the house, so we just set up an appointment time on Zillow. They provided us with an agent to show us the house and the seller’s agent was present. We didn’t sign anything on paper, but I’m pretty sure my wife did acknowledge or agree to whatever terms Zillow sent electronically. Unfortunately we probably didn’t read the electronic terms that closely and quite honestly have very little recollection of what they may have consisted of.

The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.

It’s been 23 years since we have negotiated a home purchase, so we’re a bit lost concerning the details.
I'm surprised no one has pointed this out yet... If the listing agent is offering you a better deal to cut out the agent who directly showed you the house while they were there then you've got a seriously unethical agent on your hands trying to work a deal. If you do end up using your friend to represent you then the right thing to do would be to pay the Zillow agent who actually showed you the house a referral fee. Even though you didn't know how things worked, you took their time to show you a house that you may end up purchasing and are wanting someone else to get paid for their work. While you may be able to skirt legal obligations, doing the right thing and compensating those who did work for you is the better way to go. Just my .02
In most states the listing agent is solely responsible (legally) to represent the interest of the seller. Given that, for that agent to state a better deal could be had by forgoing using a buyer agent is a clear conflict. Further, if the buyer opts for that arrangement, it’s not dissimilar to getting rear ended by someone who says - here’s my attorneys # - he’ll help you! ( yes, that attorney would politely decline to represent ) btw, that does indeed happen and just another reason for the rep of many realtors. As for a referral fee to the Zillow agent- sure- I’ve never asked as just like the op, those buyers were unaware of how the industry works- but if that agent (Zillow) insists- sure, give ‘em the bag of silver.

Bottom line, though the listing agent states a better deal can be had, who then is going to fight for the buyer? Clearly unethical- just another of the reasons I’ll be retiring sooner rather than later - outright greed and not in the best interest of the consumer
Duzz78
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat May 15, 2021 9:10 pm

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by Duzz78 »

Tavistock1 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:06 am
William104 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:40 am
AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.
I'm surprised no one has pointed this out yet... If the listing agent is offering you a better deal to cut out the agent who directly showed you the house while they were there then you've got a seriously unethical agent on your hands trying to work a deal.
In most states the listing agent is solely responsible (legally) to represent the interest of the seller.

Bottom line, though the listing agent states a better deal can be had, who then is going to fight for the buyer?
I agree I would stay clear of this agent. This Zillow agent is not the seller's agent nor is this agent the listing agent. This is an agent looking for business and is using Zillow to obtain a client. Zillow Agent told you not to bring in a buyer's agent because there would be more negotiating room. On who's behalf would this Zillow agent be negotiating? You the buyer with the Zillow agent as your agent.

You don't know anything about this agent as you did not truly? choose this agent. You should read the terms and condition on the Zillow website that your wife acknowledged. That should give you some answers to your questions.

And check into the procuring clause. It's complicated, but the agent writing the sale contract gets the commission. An agent showing you houses does not.

A buyer agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the buyer. A buyer's agent does not list properties or sell properties. They look out only for their buyer. The only get paid when a buyer closes on a property. They are independent and self employed. Many are the broker. They do not work for a broker like ReMax, Century 21, Zillow or Opendoor.

But I do understand you using your wife's friend. Friendship can yield very good results in house buying. Especially when different brokers (Zillow and your wife's friend's agency) are involved.
csm
Posts: 571
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:52 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by csm »

We had a similar situation about a month ago. A home was listed on Zillow and our regular agent was out of town. We knew it would sell quickly and wanted to see it quickly, so I clicked the link on the Zillow listing to set up a time to see it. I assumed I was contacting the listing agent, and that, if we were interested in moving forward, he/she would understand that we would bring in a buyer’s agent.

If we had been asked to sign anything by the agent showing us the home, we would have immediately stated that we were already working with an agent. However, the agent who showed us the home was very casual and did not ask us to sign anything, nor ask for any detailed information, so basically, the opportunity never really came up to state we had an agent. Of course, via the Zillow request, she had our phone number. I do not recall having agreed to any ‘terms’ via the request to view the home.

Only after she gave us her business card did we realize that she was not affiliated in any way with the listing agent, and discovered that Zillow had assigned us a buyer’s agent. I queried a few people in the industry about whether we had to use her if we decided to move forward, and most said that if we hadn’t signed anything, we were not obligated. We did go back with our own agent for a second look and wanted to make an offer, but the seller had just accepted another offer.

It was a good lesson and I know better now than to click the Zillow link asking to see any property. But I find the Zillow page quite misleading as they have a link at the top of the listing that says "Request a Tour as early as xxx” right beside the link to “Contact Agent” - which to me implied contacting the listing / seller’s agent. If you scroll to the bottom of the listing, it says, "”Take a Tour with a Buyer’s Agent” with a selection of preferred times - again implying that this a different request than the one at top to contact the listing agent.

FWIW, the agent they sent out to show us the property lived about 45 minutes away in a completely different location than our small community (we live walking distance from the property we were looking at). Our community has probably a hundred or more local agents, all well-versed in the peculiarities of the town, which this agent clearly knew nothing about. The agent also had never seen the property herself and had trouble accessing the lock box. So we had no confidence whatsoever in her ability to answer our specific questions about the property / area (it was a condo, so quite critical that the agent would know some details about the HOA and property).
User avatar
celia
Posts: 15156
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by celia »

AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm My wife and I were looking at a resale listed on Zillow recently. We have a friend that’s an agent, but she was not feeling well and could not accompany us to see the house, so we just set up an appointment time on Zillow. They provided us with an agent to show us the house and the seller’s agent was present. We didn’t sign anything on paper, but I’m pretty sure my wife did acknowledge or agree to whatever terms Zillow sent electronically. Unfortunately we probably didn’t read the electronic terms that closely and quite honestly have very little recollection of what they may have consisted of.
Here's the problem. Neither you nor we can answer your question if you don't tell us what you already agreed to.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 7339
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by SmileyFace »

Duzz78 wrote: Sat Sep 24, 2022 10:23 pm
Tavistock1 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:06 am
William104 wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:40 am
AussieDad wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:40 pm The listing agent is now telling us that if we don’t bring a buyer’s agent in, there may be more negotiating room in the price. My state does allow dual agency, but I am just now learning about that. To complicate matters worse, now my wife’s friend that’s an agent wants to get involved. The Zillow agent was OK, but I don’t think I would have picked her if I were interviewing buyer’s agents. I am now worried about what kind of legal obligation I may have to the Zillow agent and what consequences might arise if we don’t involve her in the transaction.
I'm surprised no one has pointed this out yet... If the listing agent is offering you a better deal to cut out the agent who directly showed you the house while they were there then you've got a seriously unethical agent on your hands trying to work a deal.
In most states the listing agent is solely responsible (legally) to represent the interest of the seller.

Bottom line, though the listing agent states a better deal can be had, who then is going to fight for the buyer?
I agree I would stay clear of this agent. This Zillow agent is not the seller's agent nor is this agent the listing agent. This is an agent looking for business and is using Zillow to obtain a client. Zillow Agent told you not to bring in a buyer's agent because there would be more negotiating room. On who's behalf would this Zillow agent be negotiating? You the buyer with the Zillow agent as your agent.

You don't know anything about this agent as you did not truly? choose this agent. You should read the terms and condition on the Zillow website that your wife acknowledged. That should give you some answers to your questions.

And check into the procuring clause. It's complicated, but the agent writing the sale contract gets the commission. An agent showing you houses does not.

A buyer agent has a fiduciary responsibility to the buyer. A buyer's agent does not list properties or sell properties. They look out only for their buyer. The only get paid when a buyer closes on a property. They are independent and self employed. Many are the broker. They do not work for a broker like ReMax, Century 21, Zillow or Opendoor.

But I do understand you using your wife's friend. Friendship can yield very good results in house buying. Especially when different brokers (Zillow and your wife's friend's agency) are involved.
I think you misunderstood what the OP stated.
The listing agent told the OP not to bring a buyers agent. The zillow agent, who would be acting as a buyers agent, did not (they presumably would be the buyers agent).
DoubleClick
Posts: 553
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:12 am

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by DoubleClick »

1. We don't know what you signed. Read it. It's unlikely that you owe the Zillow agent anything, because mostly, it's making an offer through a buyer's agent that locks you in with that agent for that property (and possibly future properties).But read what you signed and you'll know for sure.

PS: I had an agent tell me they have absolutely no expectation of being paid unless they wrote up an offer.

2. It's hard to tell whether the "discount" the seller agent will give you if you show up without an agent will be more or less than the negotiated lower price that a good agent might get you. Shopprop.com, whom I found out about recently, gets around this. Pay them a fixed fee, and they become your buyer's agent, and will refund their commission to you (apart from the fixed fee).
User avatar
William Million
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 4:41 am
Location: A Deep Mountain

Re: Zillow agents?

Post by William Million »

I made the same mistake. I really think Zillow should have a disclaimer so its users realize they are now talking to a buyer's agent and not the selling agent.

I felt the buyer's agent was quite pushy (I didn't view the home). He kept emailing and calling, explaining about how passionate he was about getting people into the right home.
Post Reply