Can I save money by not using a buyer’s agent?

Your question really should be, “Is it worth it not to use a buyer’s agent”?

First, recognize that, in the United States, the seller usually pays the commission to both the listing and selling brokers. If a buyer want to buy a property without an agent the listing agent usually keeps both commissions because they are now doing the work of both parties in what is called “dual agency”.

Some buyers believe that because the listing agent is getting double the commission that they can ask for some of that as a rebate. Let’s take a $500,000 house and a 6% commission so the total commission is $30,000. I’ve seen some buyers ask for as much as 1.5% of the sales price as a rebate or $7,500 in this example.

So now the question is, “Is it worth $7,500 to not use a buyer’s agent when buying a $500,000 property?” By contract, the listing agent is obligated to represent the seller and protect their interest. So, when it comes to negotiating the price of the property who is the listing agent likely to bargain the hardest for?

Who’s going to advise you about what inspections you should get (like termite, contractor’s, roof, well or septic, etc.) That would go against the interests of the seller because then they might have to pay to have any required work done.

Who’s going to advise you about reviewing the disclosures that the seller will provide and what questions to ask the seller regarding them? Again, that would put the listing agent in direct conflict with the seller’s interests.

Don’t forget that the listing agent is now getting paid half a commission to help you while they are getting a full commission to assist the seller. Who are they going to devote more time and attention to? Who’s probably going to come out better in the end of the transaction?

So, is it worth it not to use a buyer’s agent. An agent who is on your side probably would be able to negotiate a $5,000–10,000 price reduction in a normal market. They would also likely get the seller to pay for $3,000–5,000 in repairs after inspections and on it goes. So how much did you really save on the most important purchase of your life?

I like to say, “Not using a buyer’s agent is like suing someone and then paying their attorney to represent you”. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Hire a buyers agents to protect your interests when buying any property.

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