Can I use the Realtor I met at an open house?


Dear David,

I went to an open house this weekend. I liked the house right away and really hit it off with the agent. Can I ask them to write up an offer for me? – EASY PEASEY

DEAR EASY: As COVID-19 restrictions fall by the wayside, we’re seeing more and more open houses, and an increase in these types of questions.

When you meet a new Realtor in the process of shopping for a home, they should ask if you’re already working with an agent. If you are, the Realtor will recommend that you have your own agent draft the offer. This course of action may feel like a brush off at the time, but it’s meant to protect both of you. The Realtor is ethically and professionally bound to steer clear of other agent’s clients, and a homebuyer in need of representation is often best served by a Realtor who is not already working for the other side.

The agent at the open house is contractually bound to protect the seller’s best interest, which makes it challenging for them to do the same for you. When a Realtor represents the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, it’s known as “dual agency”. This happens on occasion, but many Realtors actively steer clear of it.

If you were heading into court, it wouldn’t make sense for you to hire the same lawyer as your opponent, and the same can be said for negotiating a sale. Sellers want to sell for the highest possible price, buyers want to buy for the lowest, and the agent trying to bring them together is bound by strict rules of disclosure. If you visit an open house, fall in love with the property, and spend a few minutes chatting with the listing agent, it’s remarkably easy to give away important negotiating information. If you come through the house on a showing appointment and are accompanied by your own agent, you protect your bargaining position since the seller won’t know anything about you.

You be the judge. If you really like the Realtor you met, you could by all means ask them for help finding a home.

PRO TIP: The duty of care between an agent and their client is one of the most important business relationships. Your Realtor is typically handling your largest asset, and needs to protect your interests over the long term. Even if you go in thinking of this purchase as your “forever home”, a great job offer or changing family circumstance can turn your long game into an interim move, which is why I always keep my client’s exit plan in mind.

Choosing a Realtor shouldn’t be a snap decision. Ask for a referral from your sphere. I typically tell people to Google my LinkedIn profile to see what I’m all about, and recommend you take a similar look at any agent you’re considering. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.