If you are a buyer who is looking to buy direct from the listing agent with a goal of saving commissions on the purchase price, I have some words of advice: BEWARE!!!

Recently, I sold a beautiful property in a hot little pocket of Woodbridge. The home was immaculate and showed very well. As is the case with hot properties, the sellers received multiple offers, and buyers were competing for the home.

One buyer came to me and asked if I would present an offer to the sellers. I obliged, and was happy to bring another offer to the sellers. In discussing the details of the offer, the buyers told me that because they were using my services, they expected that their lower priced offer would appeal to the sellers because the sellers would save on real estate commissions. They assumed that by using only one agent in the buying process, they were benefiting themselves.  

When presenting all the offers to the sellers, the buyer who was dealing through me was the weakest offer price. I explained to the sellers that the buyers expected the sellers to save on commissions and that their offer price took this savings into consideration.

The sellers were furious with this low-ball offer. They were shocked that the buyer would assume that any savings of commissions would be a benefit to the buyers. The sellers told me without any hesitation that any savings of commission was to benefit themselves, as they are the party that pays the commissions in the transaction. They were not impressed by this offer, and didn't want to deal with these buyers further.

In this scenario, the buyer's assumption was detrimental to themselves. In assuming that the sellers would automatically save commissions and attribute this savings to their offer price, they compromised their overall offer. Not only was their offer price low, but they unwittingly offended the sellers, and undermined their position.

In my experience with Woodbridge properties in particular, many buyers try to get a deal by buying through the listing agent. This strategy is risky...Not only can sellers get offended by a low offer, but depending on the agency agreement in place, the buyers may not have proper representation at the negotiating table. I suggest that there is a benefit to working with an agent as a buyer agent in all real estate purchases. Buyer agents are hired to represent the buyers interests at all stages of the buying process.