There is a very old saying, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” And if you are a Buyer in the Silicon Valley housing market right about now, you just might qualify as desperate. Which is probably why those of us in the real estate industry are hearing more and more about Buyers who don’t want an agent to represent them exclusively in a transaction (a Buyer’s Agent). Instead they will only deal directly with the Listing Agent to write an offer, which is known in the industry as a double-ended deal for the agent. In a balanced market, this is almost unheard of. The listing agent is representing the seller’s best interests, so how can he or she also represent the buyer and ensure that their best interests are also represented? But apparently these buyers have convinced themselves that working with the listing agent will give them a distinct advantage in this highly competitive market. They are willing to overlook the obvious conflict of interest for a chance at getting into contract on a home. Which fits perfectly with the definition of the aforementioned old saying:
“In adverse circumstances actions that might have been rejected under normal circumstances may become the best choice.”
Now I’m not saying that all double-ended deals are shady. There are circumstances when they legitimately come up and with the proper checks and balances in place, they can be executed in a manner that is fair and equitable for all involved.
But when a buyer approaches a listing agent with the intention of bending the odds in their favor, one can only imagine that the agent who takes them up on it is lacking scruples. Most honest and reputable listing agents don’t want to risk even the appearance of impropriety so when they are approached by buyers who want them to double-end a deal, they will instead refer them to a colleague to help write their offer. And THAT, my dear friends who are looking for an edge in this crazy market, is what you should do.
Now don’t get me wrong. Researching and hiring (per my previous post) your own agent who understands your needs and wants and having that established relationship is, of course, ideal. But if you do find yourself falling for a house and you don’t already have a fabulous agent to represent you, take the referral from the listing agent. Chances are, the two agents will know each other very well and are even perhaps good friends, which means there will be a certain familiarity and comfort level that can work to your advantage. And a scrupulous advantage, at that.