Seattle Real Estate - Acting in my Seller's Best Interest
I had a recent conversation with my seller concerning a potential buyer (a neighbor who was not looking for property) for the newly listed property who expressed some interest in the property just as it was in the process of being listed. A couple of days into the listing period, it looked like the potential buyer may have a real interest in the property, and after talking to the potential buyer (who did not have an agent) on the phone we set up an appointment to show the property to the buyer's spouse when they returned from a trip.
I called my seller to discuss this, and outlined three different possibilities that I could work out with the buyer regarding representation should they decide to make an offer, but that I needed to know how my seller wanted me to handle it, the possible choices were:
1) I could act as a "Dual Agent" and represent both parties, which I told my seller that I would not do, since I would not be acting in his best interests, and the potential buyer is a neighbor of the property and I have done nothing to help this buyer at this point.
2) I could let the buyers know that I represented the sellers alone and would suggest that they either find a agent or if they did not know any, that I could refer them to another agent. If the buyers liked that agent then they could choose to work with that agent. I would not ask for a referral since I had not been working with the buyers.
3) I could let the buyers know that I represented the seller alone, and they could either find an agent to help them with the purchase and sales agreement (#2) or they could have a real estate attorney help them with the purchase and sales agreement, and that the selling office commission (for the buyers agent) could then be split between the seller and the buyer. The seller would pay less in real estate fees, and the buyer could have their half go towards their closing costs. Remember, these buyers have no interest in any other property.
I told my seller that I needed his decision as to what he wanted me to do to act in his best interests should these buyers in fact decide to make an offer. My seller was surprised that I would do this for him! He thought that the third choice would be great and was surprised that I was not trying to "earn" both sides of transaction. I told him that he hired me as his agent to act in his best interests and that is what I intended to do.
Well, to end the story, the "potential" buyers decided before we met for our appointment that really the property wasn't for them afterall and that they would wait a few years to buy something else. My seller was still happy because I made sure he knew what was happening, what his choices were and acted accordingly. It's the Golden Rule; treat others as you would like them to treat you!
Sellers and Buyers, remember your agent is working for you, and should be acting in your best interests!