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What should I expect from my BUYER AGENT? (See answer above in "Why should I use a REALTOR®?

If using a buyer agent is free, why not use more than one agent? This means more agents working for me, right? Although I have not had many people ask me this question directly, I have observed many buyers who work under the assumption that using many agents must be a better idea than using just one. Many buyers—particularly first time buyers—simply don’t realize that they can rely upon just one Realtor® to take care of everything. Here’s a common scenario to illustrate how a buyer might end up working with numerous agents: The Buyers, Firstime and his wife Clueless, have never purchased a home before, and they have never worked with a REALTOR®. Once Firstime and Clueless decide they should buy a house, they begin watching the newspaper for advertisements, and they begin dutifully visiting open houses. As the Buyers visit open houses, they meet different agents each week from many different companies. One fine Sunday afternoon, the Buyers visit an open house, hosted by Sammy Salesman from RELAX Realty. Sammy is very friendly and offers to take the Buyers out to look at other homes. A few days later, Sammy schedules an appointment with the Buyers to show them other homes. Sammy does not realize, however, that the Buyers have been going out on similar appointments with many other REALTORS® whom the Buyers have met at other open houses. Eventually, all the agents who have invested time with Firstime and Clueless discover during conversation that the Buyers have other agents working for them. The Buyers start noticing that agents do not return their calls promptly anymore (and some agents don’t return calls at all). When the Buyers have questions, they discover that all the once friendly agents no longer pay much attention to them or their questions. The poor Buyer couple doesn’t know what happened. Alas, Firstime and Clueless finally buy a house that Sammy showed them, using a loan broker that Amanda Agent had recommended and a home inspector that Horis Homeseller had suggested. Firstime and Clueless finally purchase their home without representation, going directly through the listing agent instead. Since the Buyers had no representation, they paid full price. Since the listing agent works only for the seller, he did not volunteer that a nuclear waste dump was to be built the following year behind the Buyers’ new home. When the house purchase was finally complete, the Buyers felt disappointed. The entire transaction had been an ordeal; the Buyers would both be glowing in the dark once the nuclear waste dump was complete; and they were left with a bad impression of REALTORS®. What the Buyers failed to understand (and what agents sometimes fail to explain) was how buyer agency works. Firstime and Clueless had no idea that they could work with just one REALTOR® who was a member of the Multiple Listing Service to see all the homes on the market. Once each agent realized that the Buyers had been working with many agents, they lost interest. From an agent’s standpoint, the Buyers were not likely to result in a commission. From the Buyers’ standpoint, they lost out on valuable representation and on the opportunity to develop a relationship of trust with one REALTOR® who could have been a tremendous help during their home purchase. A consumer who allows numerous agents to invest time in him is like a restaurant customer who demands to have several servers wait on him, while only paying a one-server tip. One good server (just like one good REALTOR®) could have taken excellent care of the customer and would have been fairly compensated for his work.

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