Do Real Estate Agents have a conflict of interest?

A common perception I often hear is that Real Estate agents have a conflict of interest, as their customers are both buyers and sellers, with seemingly opposing objectives.  Buyers want to buy as cheap as they can, while sellers want as much money as they can get.  Agents want to please buyers since they will hopefully become their future established clients, while sellers are the ones paying the agent’s commission.

An agent who works for the buyer to get the price down below what they would be prepared to pay, while being employed by the seller to achieve the best possible result for them, is most certainly engaging in a conflict of interest.  This style of negotiating (I use the term loosely since it generally entails little more than relaying offers back and forth) generally involves a winner and a loser.

But it needn’t be this way.

An agent can definitely run with systems, training and a general philosophy whereby everybody wins.  For a seller, the most important objective is generally achieving a sale, at the highest price possible and on suitable terms.  And it must be remembered that the seller is the one employing the agent to achieve just that.  Their interests must be the primary focus of the agent at all times.

But this doesn’t mean that buyers have to lose.  A buyer’s primary objective is to buy the best home for them, provided they can comfortably afford it.  A good agent will work proactively with a buyer, move heaven and earth to find the right home for them, act courteously at all times, maintain excellent lines of communication, provide exemplary service, but ultimately not back away from their duty to find out the highest price they will pay.  After all, the higher the price a buyer offers – the better the chance they have of securing the home they want.  Many a buyer has been too “clever” with their offer, only to miss out on the home they want and settle for something else, forever comparing back to the one they missed out on.  A good agent will help them avoid this mistake, and while doing so, achieve a great result for their clients, the sellers.

Take Jill, for example, who recently purchased a property from us at Wilson Real Estate.  Upon signing contracts for their purchase, Jill, who has bought and sold multiple properties over the past few years, made the comment that if she were a seller, she would want the agent to deal with buyers exactly the way she were dealt with.  While as a buyer she was delighted with her purchase, and the service received, it is clear that the sellers also achieved the best result possible.

The classic Win-Win.  As it should be.

 

Another recent example is encapsulated in the picture below, a delightful moment with excited buyers having purchased the home they want – willingly paying the full asking price, which clearly allowed the sellers to happily get on with their plans knowing they have left nothing ‘on the table’ in their transaction.  As you can see with all parties smiling as they met up for a cuppa before the property changes hands, there certainly need not be any losers in a real estate transaction.

Article by Lucas Wilson.

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