Buyer Representation Ocean City, MD Real Estate
Buyer Representation - Ocean City, MD
My phone rings while sitting in my office, located on 86th street in Ocean City, Maryland. Assuming it’s a real estate call I answer promptly. Before I get to introduce myself, I hear, “I only want to talk to the listing agent because I’ll get a better deal on the property I see on your website.” I politely respond that I am not the listing agent and before I can say anything else the caller hangs up on me. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it surely won’t be the last. However, it does get me thinking. I realize the person is trying to save money, but they obviously lack knowledge of agency in Maryland. The only benefit one would gain with submitting an offer through the listing agent is the possibility of the agent reducing a portion of the overall commission (variable commission). However, making this decision can lose the buyer so much more than the value of the reduced commission.
A Seller’s agent may assist the buyer in purchasing the property, but his/her duty of loyalty is only to the Seller. They cannot represent you as the buyer and be the listing agent at the same time in the state of Maryland. In the case of submitting an offer with the Seller’s agent you are now an unrepresented buyer. Bottom line is the Seller’s agent will be doing everything to get the best terms and conditions for his/her client. So, through using the listing agent, for the purpose of the possible savings with the reduction in commission, you have ultimately sold your representation that is paid for by the seller. I just can’t follow the logic. Let me give you a couple more examples why this may cost you more in the long run.
Negotiating the purchase price of a home is very important and is typically tied into one’s ability to get financing for the property. However, it is only one of the many moving parts in a real estate transaction. Transactions include, but are not limited to, Contract negations, EMD deposit, home inspection, lead paint, appraisal, and scheduling of a settlement date. Each geographic location in Maryland has its own set of unique requirements to be discussed when buying a property. I specialize in beach properties where almost every purchase must include flood insurance, condo or HOA documents, lender restrictions, rental licensing, rental restrictions, additional insurance (HO-6 policy), Natural Resource easements, and the list continues. If any of these items are overlooked or not properly discussed it could be costly.
Time is money and too many times we overlook that as consumers. I have tried to save money when something breaks at my house, more times than I care to count… we have all heard the term DIY! After many moments of frustration and trips to the hardware store I finally have fixed the issue. Only to add the receipts and my time and realize I should have called the local handyman. Buying real estate without a Buyer’s agent is very similar. A good agent will maximize your visits, get questions answered, and make sure all the moving parts are running smoothly. In my case, most of my clients are hours away. A typical example is when a hot oceanfront condo in Ocean City, MD just hits the market and the client doesn’t have time to make the trip to view the property. The client can call their buyer’s agent to run out and preview the property, take extra pictures, perform live video, gather specific information and give a professional opinion of price and condition. If you have chosen to negotiate through the Sellers Agent, he/she cannot legally give you an opinion on the offer price or coach you to what contingencies to add to the contract. Their loyalty is to the Seller! If you remember anything… remember a Seller’s agent may assist the buyer in the purchase of the property but his or her duty of loyalty is only to the Seller.
I’m not asking everyone to agree with me, in fact I believe that there are people out there that can navigate all the moving parts successfully. However, I do believe that if most people truly understood Agency in Maryland, they would see the benefits of the Buyer’s agent. Do your due diligence. At a minimum, research and pick a local agent IN the market area you are looking to buy, read their reviews, and speak with him/her on the phone. If you are unable to complete these items for your agent of interest, Buyer Beware!
As an experienced Ocean City, MD Realtor, I understand the importance of Buyer Agency. If you have additional questions or prefer to discuss this in more detail feel free to contact me at 443-614-7048.
Mitchell G. David