“Can you show me that house or do I have to use the listing agent?

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You’ve asked a great question!

The short answer: Of course, I’d be happy to show you! And no, you don’t have to use the listing agent.

The complete answer:
There is a MAJOR difference between them that you should know before reaching out to anyone!

  • When you call a listing agent to see a house, that agent can show the house to you, but is already working for the seller. Their goal is to sell you THAT house for the highest price possible and best terms for the seller. They are allowed to reveal your information to the seller if you decide to make an offer on it, and don’t owe you the fiduciary duty of keeping your confidence. They are paid by the seller.
  • Or you can have an agent who works for you, called a buyer’s agent. When you have a buyer agent, their goal is to help you buy whichever house is the right one for you, and to get it at the lowest possible price and best terms available. They cannot reveal your information to the seller without your permission and are duty-bound to put your needs before the seller’s. It’s a bit like attorney-client relationship. They are paid by the seller in most cases. The possible exception to that is if you choose to buy a place that’s “For sale by owner.” That will be a future post.

HERE’S THE FINE PRINT:

When you decide to have a buyer agent, it does NOT obligate you to purchase a house. Nor does it need to bind you to that agent for a long time, as explained in this prior post: http://www.paulakosko.com/2017/01/30/how-to-avoid-…

The one thing you would be obligating yourself to is using THAT PERSON as your agent, instead of calling lots of other people to see lots of houses. You’d have one agent who will help you.