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I'm interested in buying a house as an investment property and am wondering if it's a faux pas to reach out to the seller's Realtor directly, as opposed to getting an agent of my own.

I could hire my own agent easily enough, but I'd hope that if I didn't have an agent, I could negotiate a lower sales price, because the seller would not have to pay commissions to my agent. (In my area, the seller's agent and buyer's agent both typically get 3 percent of the sales price, so if I don't have an agent, then the seller only has to lose 3 percent to Realtors rather than 6 percent.)

I'd be buying the house in cash, and have bought investment properties before without Realtors involved, so I don't have much need of my own agent's guidance anyway.

I know I can contact the seller's agent directly; there is nothing to stop me. But I'm wondering if this is normal, or if would make me look like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm in the United States, for what it's worth.

  • It's not uncommon for a selling agent to have agreed with the seller that they'll take a higher cut on sales that have no buyers agent (i.e. they handle the paperwork for both parties and want more money for it), so you might save the buyer 1-2%, but probably not 3%. – CactusCake May 15 '18 at 19:57
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    Why does a seller's agent put a big sign on the house, if not to solicit buyers from the passing general public directly? – DJohnM May 16 '18 at 6:36
  • @DJohnM: Not to mention all those web sites listing property, adverisements in newspapers & magazines, and so on. Indeed, I would almost turn the question around, and ask why you would get two real estate agents involved in a transaction. – jamesqf May 20 '18 at 18:45
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No, it's perfectly acceptable to contact the selling agent directly.

Normally I'd recommend getting a buying agent anyways, since (to most people, at least) the agent more than earns his/her 3% in the work they do negotiating, setting up inspections, lining up houses to view, etc. Since you have experience not using realtors (and have a specific property in mind), I'll just leave this here for future readers.

  • And the usual arrangement (in the U.S., anyway) is that the two brokers split the commission, so the cost is the same regardless of whether the buyer goes direct or uses a broker. – Pete Becker May 16 '18 at 11:54
  • @PeteBecker True, they split the commission, but if the buyer does not have an agent, the sales price and commission are typically negotiated down so that all parties get more (the buyer pays less, the seller's agent get, say 4% instead of 3%, and the seller pays 4% instead of 6%). – D Stanley May 16 '18 at 13:25
  • The buyer doesn't pay the agent anyways – WakeDemons3 May 16 '18 at 14:13
  • @WakeDemons3 Correct, but if there's no buying agent's commission, then all other parties can end up with more in their pockets. If the seller doesn't have to pay the buyer's agent, He/she can get a lower sales price, pay more to the seller's agent, and still come out ahead. – D Stanley May 16 '18 at 14:25

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