Listing agent??

21 Replies

Is it a bad idea to go directly through the listing agent to purchase a property? If I choose to go through a realtor, (found him through does that agent automatically become a buyers agent? Any insight would be much appreciated!

@John Yanko

Hey John,

I am a Realtor in South Carolina.  If I am the listing agent on a property, then I am representing the seller.  If you call a listing agent about a property that they have listed, then of course they are representing the seller of that property.   Find a Realtor that seems to specialize in the type of property that you're looking for.  Tell them your criteria and check out a few houses.   In SC you are not represented by a Realtor until you have that agreement signed in writing by both parties.  I hope I am explaining this properly.  I could've explained it much better in two or three lines.  :)    Hope this helps.


The act of "agency" is a usually a written agreement in moat states but it is also an ethical responsibility for the agents involved. We ask if a person is working with another agent so as to not step on another licensees deal which could be a conflict of interest. in addition, a Listing agent has often asked the seller for the right to become a dual agent when he lists the property if it is allowed by state law and the broker. When allowed, he must use special paperwork giving consent and full disclosure to both parties so all know of his split interest and that he works for both buyer and seller. In this type of transaction, normally the agent may provide information to either party about the property, but cannot discuss price at all. He also normally gives a discounted commission price to the seller allowing for the possibility of bigger discount and a lower price to the buyer. Much of this is covered in the individual state laws and MLS regulations where the property resides.

@Adam Drummond

The agent I met through was in reference to a completely different property... So now that I'm asking about a different property which he knew nothing about, does that make him a sellers agent? 

@John Yanko

Ok... again im speaking on how sc is, and states differ on agency.  If you ask him about another property, he can show you that property, but he is still not representing you.  If you want someone to represent you exclusively in a transaction, then you need to find a realtor that you trust will do their job.  If this realtor shows it to you, and you put a bid in on this house without you and him signing an agency agreement... then he is technically representing the seller as a sub-agent of the listing agent.  He either has to represent one party or the other (there are exceptions, not getting that deep into it).  Hope this helps.

Originally posted by @Billy Runyan :

.  We ask if a person is working with another agent so as to not step on another licensees deal which could be a conflict of interest.  

Who is we? And how could it be a conflict of interest? Like saying this a great price you need to buy this? 

@Adam Drummond

Thank you, that was much easier for me to understand lol. So if I have no written agreement and he becomes a "sub agent", it sounds like I should just go through the original listing agent? Right? 

@John Yanko

  First off, free advice is only worth what you paid for it.  Ok...  it's up to you.  The only real scenario that you might benefit from using the listing agent is if the commission that the seller pays will be less (if the listing agent lists and sells property himself he doesnt have to split the commission with another realtor, therefore maybe lowering the commission to the seller and you saving a couple grand on the price as a result).  In saying that... this instance usually doesnt happen.  Next thought:  no offense, but with these questions it appears that you don't have much experience.  I'd find a Realtor that I trust, is competent, and i mesh well with to represent me, and walk me through the process.   


@Adam Drummond

You are 100% correct on the experience... And I thank you for answering all these questions.

  Reason for all the questions is I found a property I feel is worth purchasing and all these questions just fill my head, so again thank you.

@John Yanko The agent you have spoken to, is he the one who told you about this deal or just one who showed up on the side?

Some states have laws against dual agents so check with IL. 

I see nothing wrong with using the sellers agent. Especially if you are having trouble finding your own. If they cannot be a dual agent, they can refer you to someone who can help with your side.

I'll 2nd that ... ditto on what Adam said above. 

In your position you should invest some time in finding another agent that works that specific market to act as your buyers agent. I would contact a local REI club and ask for a recommendation or call a local real estate attorney and tell them exactly what you said in your post ... and ask if the attorney can recommend a local agent for you.

The listing agent is obligated to the seller, not the buyer. You'll want someone with experience watching out for YOUR best interest.

@John Yanko

Depends on the market that you are in.  For example, if a market where it is super hot / low inventory AND if the agent is the de-facto decision maker of the deal (e.g. because it's a shortsale, seller practically gives the agent to "make decisions" etc.) , using the listing agent as both buyer's and seller's agent (ie. dual agent) may be the way to go.  This is simply because that's easiest way for the agent to make the most money (take both sides of commission) and most likely to take your offer.

Ask me how I learn about this.....

@Mindy Jensen

The realtor I spoke with about the property, I met him through about a month ago. 

I found the property myself through the MLS and decided to contact him about it.

@Michael Hart

For the past month I've been looking for a investor friendly agent, mainly networking through BP, but just haven't found one that clicks, and as I said in the post above, I found a property I'd potentially like to purchase.

@Che Chiu Wong

Lol thank you for the insight, although it doesn't seem like it pertains to this property.

Ok, I'll try and clarify a bit, first as stated, "agency is usually a written agreement".  The "conflict of interest" occurs when an agent tries to represent both buyer and seller.  The conflict is the agent wants the highest price for his seller and the lowest price for his buyer.  It's hard to create an agency relationship without something signed.  The most common exception is called procuring cause in which the agent feels he has been harmed because the buyer would not have found or seen the property without his help - but he'd better be able to prove it.  DISCLAIMER:  I am not an attorney and all of the above is from my learned opinions. 

 @Adam Drummond ,

Slightly off topic.  I saw your profile said you are from Anderson. I have seen a couple of articles about Anderson being the best rental market in the country.  What's your take?

I live in greenwood and invest in greenwood and Columbia.  I have looked a little up that way but never seriously. 

Also, I find your profile picture offensive.  Go Gamecocks! :-)

Hey there @John Yanko I work in Chicago Ridge and would be happy to help if you still need it.



Originally posted by @John Yanko :

Is it a bad idea to go directly through the listing agent to purchase a property? If I choose to go through a realtor, (found him through does that agent automatically become a buyers agent? Any insight would be much appreciated!

 It's not a bad idea to go thru a listing agent but you need to understand that the listing agent represents the seller, not you.  The agent does not automatically become a buyers agent.  

I bought an SFR by dealing with the listing agent directly. I had no problems and I feel it gave me an edge to having her accept my contract offer. When it comes to negotiating found that you have a little leverage by having the listing agent represent you to sell. For the same reasons mentioned above that realtor makes full commision in turn giving you a discount by providing "realtor credit" to the buyer. Being transparent to the listing realtor and presenting to them that you are willing to have them represent you so that they can get their full commision might just give you an edge to locking up the contract offer. ;)

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