In my experience, buyers seem a little nervous about choosing only one agent to represent them in finding and purchasing a home. Buyers often call and tell me that they are working with other agents but ask if I can help also. They almost seem to think it should be flattering that they want my help but in these situations, it is only wise to step back and review the situation.
One of the first questions an agent should ask a prospective buyer is, “Are you working with an agent already?” If a buyer has already signed an agency agreement, then it would be unethical for me to work with that buyer. I will not intentionally interfere with an established agency relationship. Many agents have gotten themselves into unintentional trouble by working with buyers that have a signed agreement with another agent but the buyer failed to reveal that piece of information. Also, in the state of Utah, it is required by law for an agent to have a written agency agreement for that agent to show other agent’s properties.
Buyers may be reluctant to sign an agreement with one agent because they think that having several agents looking for properties will increase their chances of finding the right one. I have even had buyers call me on one of my listings and after determining that this property is not for them, they will ask me, “Do you have other properties like this but with 4 bedrooms instead of 3?” Understanding how an agent finds properties will help answer this question.
I am a REALTOR® which means I am a member of the National Association of REALTORs® . I am also a member of the Utah Association as well as the Utah County Association of REALTORs® . Being a member of these great organizations gives me the right to be a member of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is an online database of all properties listed in my area which is the state of Utah. So, when a buyer asks me if I have other properties besides the one they are calling on, I can say, “Yes, I have absolutely thousands of listings.” Having access to the MLS means I can find you any property, with any criteria, anywhere in Utah. Thinking that several agents looking for your “dream home” will increase your chances is a common mistake that buyers make because every REALTOR® has the same access to the same database.
If you really are concerned about finding the perfect home, then it would be best to choose one agent that is 100% committed to you and has established a good enough relationship with you to understand what you are really looking for. This can take a little time, since most buyers realize that what they thought they wanted in the beginning may not be exactly what they end up wanting in the end. I have worked with many buyers in exclusive agency relationships where I have been able to help my buyers end up in a home that they absolutely loved but was not what they originally told me they wanted. It look time, a listening ear, an observant eye, a building friendship, and my experience in this business for me to see the subtle hints from their reactions to the homes we seeing and make the necessary changes in our search until we ultimately narrowed down the true definition of their “perfect home”.
Maybe some buyers worry they will not be fairly represented by one agent. It is important when hiring any professional that you do some homework before signing a contract with them. No one automatically hires an Attorney or Doctor just because their name was listed first in the yellow pages. Ask around, get referrals, do some research. Interview agents and ask them how they handle situations that you have concerns about. You don’t have to work with an agent just because his/her name was on the sign in front of a home you inquired about.
So, while it seems to be a popular tendency as buyers to try and do as much of the home buying process alone and hold off as long as possible to have professional representation, it would be in your best interest to hire a professional early on. Shorten search time, narrow down wants and needs more proficiently, avoid mistakes that could cost you legally and financially by having a professional’s experience on your side, 100% dedicated to you and your interests. At least that is some of the benefits my past buyer-clients have enjoyed by hiring me as their agent. Read what my clients say about my service and professionalism in my section titled, “Letters from Clients”