Going Over Listing Agent's Head

11 Replies

Hi All, 

What is the courtesy when you have found a property you're interested in, and the listing agent is impossible to reach? I don't like involving a buyer's agent until my own preliminary research is complete and I'm approaching certainty that I want to make an offer. Do I need to get one involved in hopes of them having a better chance at reaching the listing agent? 

I looked up the property on the county tax assessor site, and found the contact info of the owner. Is it kosher for me to contact the seller directly and ask him what I'd like to know? It's a SFR that has tenants in it currently. The listing says that the seller is prioritizing offers specifically from investors who are willing to keep the existing tenants. I like the location, price and looks of the property, so I'd like to go see it and eventually meet the tenants....none of which can be done without the listing agent getting back to me.

@Derek Luttrell - If it is listed, you are supposed to go through the agent, who will probably only respond to other agents. Depending on how it is set up on the MLS only a licensed person can schedule the showing for you.

@Brie Schmidt I suppose this could be supporting evidence for getting my own license. I often reach out and schedule showings with listing agents myself, and more often than not they spend the whole time assuming I'm an agent (one time someone even gave me a lockbox code without ever verifying who I even was.) They usually at least respond to me, and I don't like involving a buyers agent until the time feels appropriate. I'm plenty capable of assessing a deal on my own to start, but if that's against the rules, that's against the rules.

@Derek Luttrell - it depends on how the backend is set up.  About half the time it goes through our automated system and I don't even talk with the agent until we are scheduling inspections

If the listing agent is the owner of a team, who you are trying to contact might have very little to do with the property. The alternate agent in the mls, which you cant see might be the true listing agent.

@Russell Brazil thanks for that--makes sense to me, since all I have to go off of is the Redfin, Zillow, Trulia etc info. I have looked up his agency, and even that goes to voicemail. 

Perhaps it could be a product of my low-commissioned price point (SFRs within an hour of my primary residence for under $150k), but one of the biggest hurdles throughout my journey so far has been finding responsive and knowledgable listing agents who have the answers I need, when I need them. 

I think you are going st it backwards with the “I don’t want to involve a buyers agent until....”. Seems like you want some information And a showing from the listing agent, Then you pop up with a buyers agent? This is buyers agent’s job....find one you like and life will be much easier/more productive.

@Wayne Brooks I know what you mean. I'm searching for my third property, and I've used one agent to buy the first two (she's wonderful). To be honest, I just don't like inconveniencing another human being by having them scour the city with me just to see if any given property might be a good fit. At least for the first walkthrough, I find it courteous to do the first couple of steps myself. 

Interesting that you've used the same agent to already buy two properties, but you feel you would be wasting the agents time to ask them to investigate the potential third property.

Well, you are “inconveniencying/wasting the time” of the agent who shows you the property/answers your questions and will Not be getting any portion of the buying side commission.

@Wayne Brooks I'm not sure I agree. Whether it's by me or an agent representing me, the same preliminary questions are being asked. As a listing agent, I wouldn't consider interacting with an interested buyer a waste of my time. 

I don't see anything wrong with going directly to the owner, assuming that you are not a licensed real estate sales person (otherwise it would be wrong to contact the owner directly).  Another option is to try the listing agent's broker, who is technically the one with the listing and the buck stops with him/her.

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