The first question to the potential buyers from the Realtor is, ‘Are you working with a Realtor?’ This is a proper and needed question. Because the Realtor at the open house represents the seller, he/she needs to know if the buyer is represented by another Realtor.
If the buyers say ‘no,’ (because they have come into the open house on a whim), the Realtor MAY be thinking that she can be a facilitator (not representing either party, just the transaction) and get more commission. And, another thought may be, ‘since these buyers don’t have a Realtor, AND if they don’t like this house, then I might be able to sell them another house.’
The buyers, though smart in a lot of ways, are innocent to what this question means to the Realtor. They say ‘no’ because at that moment, they have seen the open house sign and impulsively want to go in and take a look. This is the first house they have looked at since they mentioned moving to each other a couple of weeks ago. With life being as busy as it is, they have not contacted a Realtor to start a formal search for a home.
That night the buyers are talking and both are interested in the house. They both think the house has possibilities. They call a close relative and tell them about the house. The relative reminds them of George, a close friend who has been in their home many times over the years, and has many years of experience in the real estate business. Maybe George could represent them in this transaction.
Oh, yes, George. The buyers call George and after catching up, realize that if they buy, they want George to represent them.
Does the Realtor holding the open house have a right to be miffed if George shows the buyers the house again and writes an offer on it? Does the buyer have a right to get their own representation, even if at the time they looked at the open house they hadn’t lined up a Realtor to work with them? What if they don’t want to be represented by the seller’s agent at the open house?
Should Realtors fully disclose what they mean, and are thinking, when they ask that question to potential buyers? Should buyers learn to say to the question something like, ‘Not at this time, but I may want my own representation later?’
If you are a buyer, you have the right to your own representation. If you have signed a buyer representation agreement with a buyers’ agent, be sure to tell the listing agent at the open house. Have your buyer’s agent call the listing realtor and discuss, if you want to write a offer on this open house property.
Sarah and John Rummage would like to help you buy or sell property. Call or email us to discuss your ideas and goals, even if moving is a few weeks or months away!