Un­der­stand­ing the role of an ex­clu­sive buyer agent

Orlando Sentinel - - EXTRA HOMES - By Ilyce Glink and Sa­muel J. Tamkin

rep­re­sent­ing both buy­ers and sell­ers in the same trans­ac­tion. When that hap­pens, they will of­ten pick one side or an­other and find an­other agent in the of­fice to rep­re­sent the other side of the trans­ac­tion.

But since the agent al­ready knows the per­sonal fi­nan­cial de­tails of both par­ties, it’s hard to be a fidu­ciary (that is, to rep­re­sent the in­ter­ests of one side in the trans­ac­tion ex­clu­sively), so the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors came up with the idea of “nona­gency” or “trans­ac­tional

bro­ker­age.” In other words, you rep­re­sent nei­ther side, rather than pick the buyer or the seller.

The prob­lem is that even if your agent picks you and an­other agent in her of­fice takes the other side, you can still have agency is­sues. Agents do talk among them­selves in­side the of­fice, and you can have pri­vate fi­nan­cial de­tails emerge in a way that could hurt one side or an­other.

Ex­clu­sive buyer agency means you never need to won­der if your agent is shar­ing de­tails with the seller that should re­main pri­vate. And while that sounds fan­tas­tic, there are some neg­a­tives.

First, an ex­clu­sive buyer agent typ­i­cally has to work a large met­ro­pol­i­tan area rather than con­cen­trat­ing on a few small neigh­bor­hoods or towns. There is less chance the agent will know the ins and outs of a par­tic­u­lar type of hous­ing stock.

Also, in a hot mar­ket, the ex­clu­sive buyer agent may get locked out of pocket list­ings. These are list­ings with a “com­ing soon” sign, but which may be avail­able to the other agents who work for the same com­pany.

Tra­di­tional agents, like the Real­tor you met, call them­selves “buyer agents,” but they typ­i­cally are not ex­clu­sive buyer agents. They rep­re­sent buy­ers and sell­ers in dif­fer­ent trans­ac­tions and sign agency dis­clo­sure agree­ments to show to whom they owe their fidu­ciary duty in a par­tic­u­lar deal. But if they act as a buyer agent and show their own list­ing to the buyer, and the buyer likes it, then the fun be­gins, as they must hand off ei­ther the list­ing or the buyer to a dif­fer­ent agent.

What you re­ally want is an agent who un­der­stands your wants and needs, and can help you look at all sorts of homes in your neigh­bor­hoods of choice. As long as you have a smart agent who lis­tens to you, and re­sponds ac­cord­ingly, you’ll have a good ex­pe­ri­ence whether it is a buyer or ex­clu­sive buyer agent.


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