"Are you mainly a listing agent" was the question posed to me by a seller yesterday. "You know, one of those who lists houses, then has other other agents bring you their buyers."
Although I satisfied his answer with a "no", it really is more complicated than that.
1. There are a lot of agents who ONLY do listings but then, normally, have a team or others in their brokerage that handle the selling side.
2. There are brokerages who specialize in listings only, but they are often "discount" ones.
3. And then there are the 3rd kind, like myself who will do both. Yes, that often includes "dual agency" but I am a licensed real estate broker in both California and Hawaii where it is legal.
Before you jump on the "dual agency" part, it is alive and well in brokerages in both my states, although sometimes brokerages make the listing agent have the selling agent be someone else in their brokerage (see #1, above) but it's still "dual agency".
To me, that's splitting hairs. I have found that the times that I have worked on dual agency transactions, they have worked out very smoothly. In fact, many buyers seek me out because I will do both. In all cases, I will explain what that entails and have them sign disclosures to protect all the principals and myself.
So why do I handle both buyers and sellers?
When I have a listing and a buyer calls me, I am the one who knows most about the property. The seller has filled me in and, in most cases, I've been to the property several times, talked to neighbors, know the neighborhood, etc. All of these things I can share with a buyer
What does a buyers agent know? In many cases, they have never seen the property before, do not know its background, and go along with the wishes of the buyer, often making an emotional decision to make an offer that day. The buyers agent relies on the disclosures of the seller and his/her agent, and on inspections that is their right to be done. Well, those disclosures and inspections are also done in my "dual agency" transactions.
So what is the downside of "dual agency"?
I do not share things like how motivated the seller is, what is his bottom line, or anything else that pertains to the offer itself. Although I do explain in detail how it works, what is normal in the market, they have to tell ME what should be in the offer.
What I CAN do is give them comp information on what has been bought and sold of like properties in the area. That's really the same information that I have given to the SELLER for him/her to determine his SALES PRICE.
With all these disclosures in place, it is then up to the buyer whether he/she wants me to handle the selling side of the transaction.
What about the additional benefits to the seller whose listing I am getting?
1. Listings attract buyers and I usually get a whole lot of contacts from buyers who for one reason or another can't buy THAT one, but are still in the market. So, in essence, one listing can sell another one, maybe yours.
2. I belong to several MLS's and often can input your listing into a couple for double exposure depending on where the listing is. In California, for example, my office is in Carmel-by-the-Sea, yet I get buyers and sellers get in touch with me all over central and northern California.
3. Because I am a real estate broker in California and Hawaii, my marketing is broad, not just limited to one area. I've had California sellers wanting to list with me in Hawaii (yes, any island), I've had California buyers wanting me to help them purchase in Hawaii. The reverse is true as well.
Have a property to sell in California and Hawaii? Please call me and let's discuss the possibilities.