I think that most sellers at least give consideration to interviewing more than one agent before listing their home. First, it gives them a second or even third opinion of the value of their home. Sometimes those opinions vary quite a bit, but each agent should at least give them some data on recent sales activity in their neighborhood to support their conclusion. In the end the seller is going to decide at what price they wish to market their property. Second, it gives them a chance to hear what services the different agents and brokerages have to offer along with their marketing plan. Of course, finally, it gives them a chance to discuss the cost of those services. In the end the seller can balance the experience, service and cost of each of the agents to determine the value that they offer. The agent providing the highest value usually gets the listing.
Buyers, I find often just bump into an agent, because they call on one of their listings. The relationship between many buyers and agents is perceived to be less formal since there is rarely a buyer broker agreement signed by the parties. What some buyers find is that the agent seems to treat the relationship with less importance as well. Recently, a buyer that was referred to me by a very good customer of mine told me that the last agent she was working with just did not seem to be working for her. The agent told her to go drive around and find the houses herself, because she was not getting paid to do that. When I heard this it blew me away. How can this person have any business at all with that type of approach.
When I am working with buyers, I try to understand what they are looking for, where they are looking, what their price range is, and what their expectations are. We have to work together to make sure all of these needs are aligned, so we are spending our time looking in the right place for the right home that stays within your budget. If we take the time to talk about this up front, it really helps us to be successful in finding the right homes to look at. Once I have an understanding of your needs and wants, I search for homes that will work for you, and set up the showings for us to go together and tour the homes. When you find the one you want, I will pull up comparable sales in the neighborhood, and give you my opinion of the value of the home. I will help you write an offer, and give you suggestions to help get your offer accepted. I will also be working with your lender to make sure we write an offer that works best for your financial situation. I can recommend inspectors, arrange for surveys and appraisals, and work with the title company to make arrangements for closing.
The best part is that I provide all these services at no additional charge to you. The seller's agent makes an offer of compensation to buyers representatives for bringing your contract on their listing. If you have more questions about buying please check out my buyer's pages like www.firstimebuyer.info.