In Washington, real estate professionals can represent both the buyer and seller after they have both the buyer and seller sign a statement that they understand that the agent represents both parties. Of course, you can arrange through your buyer agent to see the home. One thing you will not want to do is call the listing agent to see a house and recruit another agent to represent you when making an offer. Doing this can cause many problems.
Understanding roles in residential real estate
In order to understand why you should not call a listing agent to see a home, you need to understand the two types of agents in real estate. It is the job of the listing agent, sometimes called the seller’s agent, to show the home to prospective buyers. The buyer’s agent must find you the perfect home.
Questions about commissions
When you call the listing agent to see a home and hire another agent to represent you when making an offer, this creates a huge question about who gets a commission when the sellers agree to your offer. Typically, the agent bringing the buyer to the agreement receives a commission, but the listing agent can argue that they should get both commissions because you contacted them first.
The issue gets even more complex when there is more than one offer on a home, and you make one of them through the listing agent. The agent has to advise the seller to take the better deal, but that may put the agent in a position where they are only getting part of the commission, and it can be challenging to vote against your bank account. Often, these cases end up in real estate litigation.
Calling a listing agent before contacting a buyer’s agent causes problems with who gets the commission, so never go to the listing agent to show you a home.