FAQ ~ Is Calling the Listing Agent the Best Way to Look at Houses?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097

“Is Calling the Listing Agent Always the Best Way to Look at Houses?”, is aFAQ question asked by many home buyers. It depends.

Are your interests in looking at houses sincere and likely the beginning of a true hunt for a purchase suited to you or are you more of a curiosity seeker? Most agents, Listing Agents and Buyer Agents, are only interested in working with clients who are serious about selling or buying real estate. With the price of gas, gone are the days of joyriding with agents to “kill some time”. Good agents rarely have enough spare time to waste.

North Carolina is what’s called an “Agency” state. Listing Agents work for Sellers, Buyer Agents work for Buyers. Occasionally, either WWRE Brochure Covercan work for both parties in Dual Agency relationships. We’re mandated by law to review a NC Real Estate Commission produced brochure, “Working With Real Estate Agents”. BY LAW, EACH AGENT YOU SPEAK WITH MUST REVIEW THIS DOCUMENT AT FIRST SUBSTANTIAL CONTACT. So, if you are constantly calling just the Listing Agent, each time you call a different Listing Agent for a different Listing…10-15 minutes will be spent reviewing this document. EACH TIME.

Most of us want to know you are sincere and already know sincere buyers will either already be pre-qualified through a lender or are willing to get pre-qualified BEFORE house hunting. So, if you are constantly calling just the Listing Agent, each time you will have the Working With Real Estate Agents document reviewed  PLUS go through the “PRE-QUAL” discussion. EACH TIME.

If you are a sincere buyer, keep in mind Listing Agents have a fiduciary responsibility to pass any information about you that might eventually be helpful to the seller should you enter in negotiations on their house. So, if you are constantly calling just the Listing Agent, each time you will have the WWRE doc reviewed, have the PRE-QUAL discussion AND risk losing either the upper hand or equal footing in any future negotiations. EACH TIME.

If you aren’t a sincere buyer, no matter what size the city is that you are just bopping around looking at houses…we are ALL small towns. Sooner or later, usually sooner…agents talk to each other and believe it or not, we see through time wasters fast! We may be a competitive industry but for the most part we are loyal to each other. None of us wants to see the other taken advantage of unfairly. LOOK AT HOUSES ONLY IF YOU ARE TRULY CONSIDERING A PURCHASE. PLEASE DO NOT BE A TIME WASTER! I’ll bet you wouldn’t want it to happen to you.

“Is Calling the Listing Agent Always the Best Way to Look at Houses?”, NO...not for real buyers. Respect your own time and interests as well as the agent‘s. Get a Buyer Agent whose sole purpose is to look out for you and protect your interests. They will be as sincere as you in finding you the property that works best for your situation.





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  1. Robert L. Brown 06/05/2012 09:14 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
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Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

The issue of agency is very interesting. Some states ban dual agency but you can still work both sides of the transaction. Dual agency or transation brokerage, your uninformed state legislature will decide. Just remeber if it walks like a duck, has feathers like a duck and sounds like a duck, it must be a duck! Enjoy your day!

Jun 02, 2012 10:01 PM #1
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Excellent post. Buyers should understand the number one rule in real estate - don't call the listing agent if you are a serious buyer!

Jun 02, 2012 10:03 PM #2
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Hello again Mona. Another informative and well done post about our industry and your area. In New Jersey we have a document a Consumer Information Sheet (CIS) which has been the law for almost fifteen years. Like your form, it highlights who is representing who. Principals actually sign it. Unfortuneately not every agent follows the law, which is too bad and actually disadvatages all.

Jun 02, 2012 10:03 PM #3
Linda Blumenthal
Hampton Crossing - Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - 631-466-4087 - Westhampton Beach, NY
NYS Licenced Real Estate Salesperson, CBR

Good morning Mona.  As a certified buyer representative (CBR) in the Hamptons, NY, I am glad to see your post.

Jun 02, 2012 10:06 PM #4
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Mona,

You did a great job spelling out how our industry works. Very informative for a buyer which is why they should be giving you a call to find a home!

Jun 02, 2012 10:50 PM #5
JoAnn Moore
The Mortgage Market of Delaware - Georgetown, DE
Home Loans in Delaware

Very well said Mona. Your article clearly explains the reasons. I always try and advise my clients to secure a buyers agent to look out for their best interests.  

Jun 03, 2012 12:33 AM #6
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Mona,

Don't waste the time of any Realtor.

I would like to see the buyers calling just one and one only.

Work with the agent whether it is the listing agent or any other agent. But use only one agent.

Best, Clint McKie

Jun 03, 2012 01:15 AM #7
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Thanks everyone.  Consumers also don't understand that if they always call just the listing agent, then they will spend a lot of time reinventing the wheel over and over.  Explaining to each agent what they are looking for.  Exhausting.  Not to mention fielding calls from all of those agents calling to follow up, trying to turn a lead into a prospect into a buyer.

I appreciate all of your comments.

Jun 03, 2012 02:39 AM #8
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale TahoeLauraRealEstate.com
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Mona - Great post on why a buyer should work with a buyers agent.  Buyers should find an agent that can look out for their best interests and stop wasting time calling listing agents!

Jun 03, 2012 02:54 AM #9
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Mona,  I agree.  In fact I wrote a similar post this past week.  We don't have dual agency in Colorado but instead transaction broker is the alternative to agency.  I have sold some of my own listings, but luckily being in a team, one of us represents the seller and one represents the buyer.  I always give Will a very hard time when this happens. 

Jun 03, 2012 04:06 AM #10
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Mona -  great post. We all get those calls "I just want to work with the  listing agent.."  and it usually turns out to be a waste of our time.. Those people are just looking and if they were really thinking about buying, they would want a buyer's representation.. They should choose one agent and work with that agent.. they would get better results, and as you write.." they wouldn't have to re-invent the wheel each time."

Jun 03, 2012 07:18 AM #11
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Hi Laura, Belinda and Gay,

We've found that if someone takes the time to explain Buyer Agency, the serious buyers always retain us.  Thanks so much for the comments.

Jun 03, 2012 07:52 AM #12
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Excellent post. What we did in the past wont cut the mustard this time around.

Jun 05, 2012 09:07 AM #13
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Robert, that's right...it just isn't fair when everyone works for the seller and there's no one looking out for the buyer.

Jun 05, 2012 12:19 PM #14
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Mona, this is such a great post! There are some stories out there about buyers getting a better deal if they go to the listing agent and that just isn't always the case. Didn't know about the NC law about explaining the Agency everytime. We used to have that in FL but after 10 years of Transaction Brokerage, we no longer have to do that.


Jun 09, 2012 04:32 AM #15
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Sharon, we aren't alone.  The couple I worked with today said the same thing happens in OH.

Jun 09, 2012 12:36 PM #16
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GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.
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