The Agent’s Interest

If the agent is duty-bound to put the seller’s interest first (and there’s only one first place), how should this affect your relation ship with the broker?

First, realize that no confidentiality is owed to you. It’s practi cal to reveal your financial situation if you expect to get effective service, but you may want to keep some information to yourself. The broker who knows that you would pay more ìif we have to is, strictly speaking, obliged to convey that information to the seller. Saying but don’t tell the seller that won’t help because the agent does not have any special obligation of obedience to you. Never reveal the highest price you are willing to pay to a seller’s agent. Assume that whatever you say will be (or at least should be) transmitted to the seller.

Take advantage of the fact that you must receive honest answers to your questions. In a few states you are entitled to a seller’s written disclosure of defects, but elsewhere, Are you aware of any defects in this house? Is a good all-purpose query to ask of both seller and broker, preferably in front of witnesses.

In dealing with a seller’s agent: Do not reveal the highest price you are willing to pay on a particular property. Do ask whether the seller or agent knows of any defects in the property.

What’s to stop you from retaining your own broker, someone obligated to put your interests first and legally bound to help you obtain the property at the lowest possible price? Nothing.

Almost unheard of in years past, brokers who represent buy ers are now found in every real estate market, and you should have no trouble locating one.

When you have specifically engaged a buyer’s broker, those fiduciary duties are now owed to you, and sellers become merely customers. Your agent must keep your information confidential and obey your orders, such as If they don’t accept our offer, give them one for $5,000 more. The buyer’s broker is duty-bound to tell you anything that would be useful to you (I’m not sure, but I’ve heard the seller needs a fast deal) and to help you obtain the property for the lowest price.


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