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Contact Howard!

Howard Harris Real Estate Expert

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Exclusive Buyer Representation

How to Choose Your Real Estate Agent

Do you really need an agent? Over 90% of home buyers use an agent. Why? An agent can help you access the most homes possible using the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and can help guide you through the process. However, not all agents are equal. Your choice of agents can greatly influence:

  • (a) the number of homes you have to choose from
  • (b) the quality of information and guidance you receive;
  • (c) the price you pay; and
  • (d) the quality of the home you purchase (which can be particularly important when buying Luxury Real Estate. The types of agents are listed below

Exclusive Buyer’s Agency – (100% for BUYERS).

Only a very few real estate agents, are true, exclusive buyer’s agents. Howard, my partner/spouse and I exclusively work for home buyers and never work for sellers. Why should this matter to you?

We help you find more homes because, having no homes of our “own” to favor, we aggressively search all homes listed with all other companies without bias.

We aggressively research and negotiate 100% on your side
so that you pay the lowest price. We help you get a thorough, professional home inspection, and find the toughest inspectors out there.

We give you honest advice that you can trust, because you know we are 100% on your side, 0% on the seller’s side. Less than ½% of active agents qualify as true, exclusive buyer’s agents.

Exclusive Seller’s Agency – (0% for BUYERS).

This used to be the norm, where the entire firm would work only for sellers. They could claim they fought to get “top dollar” for their seller clients because, in fact, they never worked for home buyers. This type of strict, 100% seller agency is fading. It still exists whenever you call an agent directly who is advertising a home (the “listing” agent). All agents, when they act as “listing” agent, still work 100% for the seller’s interests, and many consumer advisers counsel you to never contact a listing agent directly. Except when acting as a listing agent, most agents and companies have gone to a “mixed” agency format, described below. “Mixed Up” agency is a more apt description!

Traditional or Designated (Mixed) Agency – (50/50 “deal makers”)

Over the past few years most realty firms have gone to a “deal maker” mode. The firm and its agents claim to work as both seller’s agents and buyer’s agents. The problem is, however, that many times the firm and its agents will work as both buyer and seller agent at the same time!

This creates a “dual agency” where the firm and its agents have an obvious conflict of interest.

Who is protected when a conflict arises? The Buyer? The Seller? Or the Agents? Which client do they negotiate for, which against? What happens if there is a problem and you, as the buyer, want to cancel the deal but the seller wants to hold you to it? Does “your” dual agent assist you or the seller?

Generally you, as buyer, assume the greatest risk in a “dual agency” scenario.

The odds of such conflicts are great. Firms earn the highest commissions when they represent both parties and agents are often paid a bonus for selling such listings. So, dual agency gives the least protection to both buyer and seller, yet agents are drawn toward it to maximize their back pocket.

Is “Dual Agency” legal in Arizona?

The answer is Yes. That said most buyers are not properly educated by their agents as to how it affects their “best interests” when the agent is going to represent the buyer and the seller. Ask yourself how many attorneys you are aware of  that would represent two clients at the opposite ends of a transaction. There is a good reason why they will not and do not,  its called “conflict of interest”. It’s simply impossible from a practical standpoint. An agent will always favor either the seller, or the buyer, or perhaps favor himself over the interests of both.

Conclusion. Although dual agency is legal in Arizona the best approach is to use an exclusive buyer’s agent.

And, it’s not just us who say so, too!

The Consumer Federation of America and other consumer groups agree!

“It only makes sense to have 100% loyalty and representation”!