I went to look at a 4-unit in a market I'm not totally familiar with. I don't have an agent in the area so the listing agent took me through the property. As I was asking him questions, I found that he wasn't really giving me straightforward answers or he just didn't know enough information about the property. The property is in decent shape and the numbers would work but I still feel like I need more information such as why the owner is selling.
I have the owner's name from the property disclosure statement. What is the protocol on bypassing the listing agent and reaching out directly to the seller? The property has been on the market for about two months and just recently dropped in price. I figure the seller would be happy if a potential buyer reached out with interest but I don't want to step over any boundaries.
Did you tell the agent that you have more questions or that the answers didn't fully address your concerns, or that you want to speak to the owner?
I'm not an agent or a lawyer, but I would feel OK reaching out, particularly if you were direct with the agent. You wouldn't be going around anyone at that point. You could even ask the agent to set up the call/meeting.
If the owner had shown you the property and you wanted to chat it up, that would have been fine. But, it's poor form to try and circumvent the agent.
People sell property all the time for various strategic or financial reasons. At the end of the day, put in the offer that you feel makes sense to you.
Give him a call, be very polite to the point, the worst is he says he would rather talk through his listing agent.
Explain that you want to make a cash offer, but need some more info,
There is absolutely nothing morally, ethically or legally wrong with you approaching the seller directly. However it is not that simple.
If the seller trusts the agent, and you have gone around the agent, the agent may turn the seller against you. Furthermore you absolutely can not interfere with the contract between the agent and the seller. The seller will likely owe the agent a commission even if he sells to you directly. To imply dealing directly with you could save him a commission could get you in big trouble.
I would explain to the agent that I want to talk to the seller directly. I have no intention of cutting him out of his commission. In fact since I choose not to be represented by an agent, the agent would get full commission with no split. i would make it clear that I am a serious buyer who can perform. I would explain that I am happy for that agent to be there but I want to talk to the seller directly.
Call the agent and tell him you just need some more in depth info. Ask him before calling the owner. Don't be that guy. It might rub them the wrong way. Just my two cents.