In the world of New York City real estate, most buyers and sellers have a real estate agent to help them find the properties they’re seeking. On occasion, however, a direct buyer with no ties to an agent approaches a listing agent regarding a property in which they’re interested.
There’s nothing wrong with being a direct buyer. After all, the money they save not paying a buyer’s agent can go toward their eventual purchase. But being a direct buyer requires knowing the ropes about buying property here in the Bronx and the other boroughs.
Where problems can develop
Because direct buyers have no agents, it puts the listing agent in a position of dual agency. Both parties must agree in writing to the agent representing their dual interests equally. Prior to that occurring, the listing agent must abide by disclosure laws of the state and give both seller and buyer a form disclosing that clearly.
If you are the seller, you are giving up half of the representation commitment that you formerly had in the agent. Also, neither you nor the seller will have the same access to the agent’s fiduciary duties.
What about the commission?
Dual agency gives you a chance to negotiate over the commission. If you are getting less than the original agreement from your agent, the commission can be reduced commensurately — again, with full written permission of the parties.
Don’t go it completely alone
Both buyers and sellers can benefit from being represented by a real estate attorney regardless of the use of agents in the process. This ensures that their interests and rights are fully represented at all stages of the sales process.