People Ask Me All The Time….

Deb….why shouldn’t I go directly to the listing broker to buy a property? The same reason that you wouldn’t use your husband or wife’s attorney should you decide to get divorced. Wouldn’t you prefer to have an agent in your back pocket doing the legwork, digging up the dirt and getting all the facts – personal and otherwise?

I just got a call from a perspective buyer for a condo in Old Greenwich. When I called her back to see when she would like to see it, she told me that she since spoke with her husband who preferred to go directly to the listing agent…I tried to explain how agency works, but nothing since.

First. let me explain the commission split – so that you understand that your realtor of choice, does not pocket all of the commission, unless they own the brokerage AND represents both the buyer AND the seller – rare.


Before 1996, the only representation in real estate in CT was a seller’s agent. The agent worked exclusively for the seller and owed absolute loyalty to the seller. All agents, either with the listing firm as well as other firms, also owed the same client responsibility and loyalty to the seller. THEY HAD NO LOYALTY OR DUTY TO THE BUYER. This changed  in 1996, when the state allowed exclusive buyer representation, but most buyers today still go directly to the listing broker….perhaps to try to negotiate a lower split…but if they understood how commissions are split among brokerages and other agents, they would realize how little can be taken off the final price. The brokerage surely is not taking the hit, after spending most of the money up front to market the property, so the likely place that it will come from is the listing agent.

Unrepresented Buyer working with a Seller’s Broker

When the listing agent works with an unrepresented buyer, the buyer (customer not client) will not receive advice or counsel from the Realtor. Their only duties that are owed to the buyer are to be fair and to disclose to the buyer material facts that could adversely inhibit their use and enjoyment of the property.

Dual Agency

Dual Agency prohibits the listing broker and agent to act exclusively for the seller. Dual Agency must be discussed when there is substantial interest in purchasing the property. At the time a buyer is ready to offer on a property, and the seller agrees to change the representation, all parties must sign a disclosure form that dual agency has been properly explained, indicating that all parties consent. In a Dual Agency, confidentiality about price, other offers, terms and motivation for pursuing a transaction cannot be disclosed.

Worth the risk? I say not.

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