Getting ready to buy a house

Here’s a compendium of advice for first-time home buyers from HouseLogic, a website produced by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Even if you are a second or third timer, it couldn’t hurt to review these basic principles. Give me a call (845-532-1204) or email me (marty@ask-marty.com) to discuss buying or selling your house this spring! And check out Ask-Marty.com to search for your next home and for other pearls of real-estate wisdom from yours truly!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Search online, but call a local agent first!

Shop local, get better service

To keep more of your commission dollars in the local economy and to get service from an agent who is truly in touch with your local market, you should call a local real estate agent and a local mortgage agent before you connect with any agent or agency that you encounter online.

Non-local offers everywhere

Whether buying or selling, of course you’re going to search for properties and mortgage rates online. And you’re not going to wait to speak to a local agent before you do so. Online brokerages and mortgage companies know this; and they spend large sums of money trying to reach out to you before you contact someone local. As you search, you’ll be bombarded with advertising from real estate and mortgage agents and agencies. But consider, are those agents and agencies truly local? Online real estate and mortgage brands will advertise to you even if they do not have agents anywhere near your town.

Problems with non-local offers

So, what’s the harm in calling these advertisers to see what they have to offer? Here’s the answer. Once someone has your name, they will offer to put you in touch with their own agents or with agents to whom they are selling leads. Either way, once those agents become your agent, a part of your commission dollars is earmarked for the referring company — which in our region, means far, far away. It’s just one more way that corporations are draining money from local economies — it’s literally part of their business plans and it’s a pervasive aspect of the real estate trade. And you still don’t know if the referring company put you in touch with the best agent for your needs.

Action — call a local real estate and mortgage agent directly

Online searching of homes and mortgages is here to stay, and for the most part, it’s a great benefit to buyers and sellers — and their agents — to have all those listings and rates at our fingertips. Especially if you are buying or selling close to where you live, do consider calling your local agent directly before reaching out to the national brand. If you do call them, and if they offer to put you in touch with a local professional, consider saying “No thanks,” and  call a local pro directly.

Full disclosure

I know referrals work because I do accept them. If someone has given permission to a major lender or broker to refer them to a local agent, I might as well take the referral as see that business go to someone else. But I know that anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of my commission will have to be paid to the referring agency. (I also decline such referrals when I know I can’t help someone, for example someone shopping outside my market area.)

 

Appointment-Required Real Estate Listings

I have written before that the use of the word “exclusive” in real estate advertising is usually misleading. While driving past yard signs that included sign riders with the phrase “By Appointment” or “Appointment Only,” it struck me that this phrase is also misleading — and for the same reasons. Upon further consideration, I can see the issue is not so very simple, though the potential to mislead is real..

Why add the appointment phrase to a for-sale sign?

New York State tresspass law states “A person is guilty of trespass when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.” There are varying levels of violation and penalty, but the bottom line is that unauthorized entry into or onto a property is unlawful entry. Given New York State law then and perhaps to allay seller/owner concerns, a real estate agent may wish to make it clear that although the property is for sale, it is private property, and even potential buyers do not have the right to walk on or in the property without permission. That seems to me to be a legitimate use of a sign or sign rider that indicates that prospective buyers must have an appointment.

Two reasons the appointment phrase on a for-sale sign can be misleading

First, it is misleading to the extent that using the phrase might be seen as an indication that this property listing was somehow different from most others. It’s not, virtually all showings for any for-sale property must be by appointment.

Second, and more importantly, it is misleading because, like all for-sale signs, only the listing broker/agent is identified. I believe that adding the appointment phrase without additional instructions reinforces the idea that prospective buyers must contact the listing agent/broker. That’s a common misperception that’s simply not true, as I have pointed out before.

Best practice

I believe the best practice is to provide as much clarity and detail as possible on the for-sale sign and other advertising. My listing signs have always had words to the effect “for appointment, call any agent” or “call Marty or any agent,” etc. The practice may occasionally cost me a prospective buyer, but it serves us all — buyers, sellers, the public, the profession, and myself — best by virtue of being clear.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs — Mid-Hudson MLS (Dutchess County), Hudson Valley Catskill Region MLS (Ulster County), and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS — you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Beware Real Estate Advertising Statistics

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a note that showed how numbers could be manipulated in ways that were truthful but either unhelpful or misleading (or both) when it came to comparing individual real estate agents. Recently, the following advertisement comparing offices in Rhinebeck caught my eye; and I can’t resist discussing it in the same context.

BH_Ad2

The ranking and statistics as reported in the advertisement are correct. According to this advertisement, it’s “Good to Know” that a certain office in Rhinebeck had a larger dollar volume of sales than any other. But does that help a prospective house seller or buyer?

Number of Sold Units More Important than Dollar Value

If I were going to sell my house, I’d be less concerned with which office had the most business in dollars. I get that many dollars indicates a high level of activity. And many sales dollars generates many commission dollars. But does that activity benefit the individual seller? In terms of dollars, I might be more interested in how close sale prices were to listing prices.

More than that, however, I’d want to know which office sold the highest percent of its listings, because actually getting my house sold is my highest priority. And so I divided total number of sales by total number of new listings to derive a percentage. Based on that criteria, the Rhinebeck office ranking for 2015 changes quite a bit*:

Rank Office New
Listings
Sales Percent
1 Paul Hallenbeck RE 132 50 39
2 C21 A. Ferri 33 12 36
2 Berkshire 183 65 36
3 J. Ettenson RE 53 18 34
4 Northern Dutchess 72 24 33
5 H.H. Hill 60 13 22
6 Paula Redmond 59 12 20
6 Staley RE 60 12 20

Based on percent of listings sold, Rhinebeck has a different leader. Tied for second and alone in third, are two offices that didn’t even make the dollars list. A third office is added to this group because it is statistically even for the number 6 ranking.

Success Rate of Individual Agents More Important than Office as a Whole

The office that supports your prospective agent is a valid consideration. But does the sheer number of office sales mean that much? I wonder which office contains the most productive individual agents because those agents — or one of them — will be primarily responsible for my listing. In the following table, I divide total new listings and total sales by the number of agents listed for each office in the MLS roster. Then I divide the resulting number of sales per agent by the number of new listings per agent to obtain a rank by percentage:

Rank Office Agents New Listings
Per Agent
Sales Per Agent Percent
1 Fraleigh & Rakow 3 4 2 50
1 G. DiMauro RE 5 4 2 50
2 Northern Dutchess 14 5 2 40
3 Berkshire 22 8 3 38
3 J. Ettenson 7 8 3 38
4 C21 A. Ferri RE 10 3 1 33
5 Paul Hallenbeck RE 9 26 6 23
6 H.H. Hill 4 15 3 20
6 Paula Redmond 4 15 3 20
6 Staley RE 3 20 4 20

Based on this ranking, we now have two new leaders among the Rhinebeck offices, neither of which appeared in the original advertisement or in my first table. Third and fourth spots still belong to two offices that did not make it into the original advertisement.

Focus Numerical Analyses on Individual Agents

Not only do I believe the numbers that reflect actual sales are more important and useful to prospective property sellers and buyers than sheer dollar amounts, I also believe that numbers pertaining to individual agents are more important than numbers pertaining to offices or brands. But even those numbers should be scrutinized, as I showed in last year’s post on Dutchess County sales numbers. To begin, each office is organized in unique ways and contains unique agents.

Imperative to Go Beyond the Numbers

Knowing that statistics can be massaged and manipulated, how does one choose a real estate agent? There are so many considerations — for now, I suggest that you Google “How to choose a real estate agent?’ As you read through the many pages that will come up, jot down the your concerns and the agent characteristics that matter to you most. Then have a conversation with more than one agent before you decide who to use. When presented with statistics always ask, what do these numbers really mean for me as I am considering this individual to help me buy or sell a property?

*Data sourced from Mid-Hudson MLS, the same source used in the advertisement. All fractions and percentages rounded to nearest whole number. Number of agents on roster comes from MLS at the time of writing.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Red Hook, NY, Real Estate Sales, 2000-2015

 

The following are sales charts and analysis for the real estate market of the town of Red Hook and for the villages of Red Hook and Tivoli. They cover total number of transactions and dollar amount of those transactions, as well as median and average prices. Figures pertain to single-family detached houses as reported in the Mid-Hudson MLS

Town of Red Hook

Though actual sales activity seems to be returning, analysis of a decade’s worth of sales of single-family detached houses in the Town of Red Hook indicates that the depression of 2007/2008 has left its mark in the form of reduced valuation. The big slide in prices lasted through 2009. Although prices did not return to these low levels, they did drop again slightly from 2014 to 2015. Taking the long view — the dramatic rise and fall of real estate prices between 2000 and 2008 notwithstanding, if you purchased your property in 2000 it is probably worth about 30 percent more now.

I believe buyers are starting to be satisfied that the worst is over as far as declining values are concerned and are hunting for properties that are priced well below what they might have fetched in 2005/2006. This mindset accounts in part for increased activity in 2014 and 2015. Another reason for increased volume is probably pent-up demand. First-time and vacation buyers alike felt priced out of the market when it was high and became afraid of the market when it was sliding downward. As we enter period of relative stability, their confidence is returning, as is their dream of home ownership in our beautiful town and villages.

Another reason for increased volume is probably pent-up demand. First-time and vacation buyers alike felt priced out of the market when it was high and became afraid of the market when it was sliding downward. As we enter period of relative stability, their confidence is returning, as is their dream of home ownership in our beautiful town and villages.

Town of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Sales, year 2000, and then annually 2005-2015.

Town of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Sales, year 2000, and then annually 2005-2015.

Red Hook Village

The real estate market in Red Hook Village paralleled that of the Town, including the increased volume and the price dip of 2015. Average real estate prices run much lower in both villages than in the town generally — not suprising given the relative vintage of most properties inside the villages and the relatively smaller lots. But the villages have their own charms and may well provide an affordable entree into the region.

Village of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Housing Sales, year 2000, then annually from 2005 through 2015

Village of Red Hook, NY Single-Family Housing Sales, year 2000, then annually from 2005 through 2015

Village of Tivoli, NY

In 2011, a Hudson Bluffs property in Tivoli Village sold for over $4-million. Of course, that sort of sale will skew the average for most municipalities in this part of the Hudson Valley. To capture the normal experience of a location, one could argue that such statistical outliers should be deleted, and yet, the fact is that we do have some marvelous luxury properties in our town and their changing ownership is part of our real estate landscape.

Single-Family Home Sales, Tivoli, NY, year 2000, then annually 2005 through 2015

Single-Family Home Sales, Tivoli, NY, year 2000, then annually 2005 through 2015

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Negotiating buyer-agency fees

How the buyer agency fee is usually set

This topic of negotiating buyer-agency fees is not discussed as much as negotiating listing-agency fees because buyer-agency fees are usually specified in the listing agreement. Most listings include an offer of cooperation to buyer’s agents. The offer for a specific amount or for a specific percentage of the sale price is made by the listing broker and approved by the seller. The amount is part of the listing contract between the seller and the listing agent.

Why you might want to negotiate

Here in the Hudson Valley and lower Catskill Mountain region, the most frequent offer of cooperation is a specific percentage of the sale price. Occasionally, the offer will be a half percent less and occasionally it will be a half percent more. So, let’s call those typical offers 1 (for less), 2 (for most frequent), and 3 (for more). As a buyer, you might agree that offer 2 is reasonable, but you might take issue when your buyer agent gets 3 or more. After all, those are dollars that are taken out of the sale proceeds — if the seller didn’t have to pay them, he or she might have accepted a bit less. The price range in which you are shopping and the level of service you require might also influence this decision.

How you might negotiate a fee that has already been set

If the buyer is willing to enter into a buyer-agency contract, one part of that agreement could be to set limits on the buyer-agent compensation. Buyer and agent could agree to a specific dollar amount or to a specific percentage. If the buyer-agent compensation is greater than agreed, the difference could be credited to the buyer or the seller at closing and the buyer could bring that many fewer dollars to the closing table.

However, the arrangement can cut both ways — if the buyer-agent compensation is less than agreed, then the buyer will be expected to make up the difference at closing. Remember also, compensation will not be discussed in a vacuum. Your buyer’s agent will grant you compensation limits and the obligation to perform specific duties, but he or she will also have expectations for you that could include your loyalty and cooperation.

If you think you might want to negotiate buyer agency fees, be sure to do that at the same time you ask a buyer agent to show you a property or search for listings. Buyer agency contracts are a good idea — they specify expectations and obligations, including compensation, that are often taken for granted by agents and clients alike.

What usually happens

Partly because buyer agency is often undertaken without a formal contract, most buyer-agents simply accept the offer of cooperation specified with the listing, and their buying clients do not attempt to negotiate that figure. It can be a significant disruption when either buyer or agent attempts to negotiate a figure that has already been specified or that should have been negotiated earlier.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Affordable Homes to Buy in the Hudson Valley and Catskills

NYC Urbanites Are Looking at Properties in the Hudson Valley and Catskills

In “Buying a Second Home First,”New York Times Real Estate writer Michelle Higgins noted recently that many New York City renters who can not afford to purchase in the City are finding homes that they can afford in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and other nearby regions. If you are reading this post, you are probably already familiar with the region and know its extraordinary features and potential for a high quality of year-round or vacation life. Click on this sentence if you’d like a little inspiration.

Early Fall Scene, Pasture near Burger Hill, Rhinebeck

For Many, the Move Makes Financial Sense

Higgins correctly points out that there is a wide range of properties available — literally something to suit just about any budget or taste within easy commuting distance of New York City. And, as real estate prices in the region remain depressed from their post 2006/7 highs while rental and purchase prices in virtually all parts of the City are zooming upwards, a purchase in the Hudson Valley or Catskills regions just might make good economic sense. Now that the excess value has been purged from all these lovely properties, is a good time to pick up something that will appreciate in value while providing a refuge just a short way from the hustle of the City.

You Can Get There From Here

I love living in the Hudson Valley where the Catskills in my western view create spectacular sunsets almost every evening. My Red Hook home town is a pastoral paradise — home to busy farms and restaurants, and world-class performing arts facilities at Bard College’s Fisher Center. But I go all over the region, crossing the Hudson River weekly, to do business and meet friends from Woodstock, Saugerties, Stone Ridge, Rosendale, and High Falls to Rhinebeck, Staatsburg, Hyde Park, and Germantown, and to the cities of Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Hudson. Red Hook is centrally located to all of it. It’s an excellent location in which to search for a vacation home or from whence you can explore properties in the entire region.

Buyers and Sellers — Act Now!

Aside from the fact that historically low interest rates must rise sooner or later, the fall is a wonderful time to experience the Hudson Valley and Catskills. Buyers, a well-organized property-shopping trip could include several showings with your buyer’s agent while leaving time to experience some of the region’s favorite activities. Sellers, a nicely maintained property will look all the better surrounded by the glorious colors of fall. Call me to get started or log on to www.Ask-Marty.com to get started.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

When you’ve found a house to buy — who ya gonna call?

Historic Red Hook home, barn, and garage currently listed at $475,000

Historic Red Hook home, barn, and garage currently listed at $475,000

Whether you find it online, in the papers, or driving by; there comes a time that you will want more detail about a property that is for sale than you can find in the listing or just by looking at it from the street. After some consideration, you may even want to make an offer on the property. You may call the listing agent, of course. But you don’t have to. In fact, between New York State law and the Multiple Listing System (MLS) rules and regulations, the system is set up to insure you have access to a real estate agent who puts your interests over those of the seller. That’s the person you should be calling — your own buyer’s agent.

Real estate marketplace

Unless the property is being sold by its owner without the assistance of the a real estate broker, the property will be listed in one or more Multiple Listing Systems (MLSs). The MLSs are like stock exchanges, but for real estate. As in any other exchange, various rules and regulations have been created to insure that that buyers, sellers, agents, and properties are treated fairly, openly, and efficiently. In other words, the MLS is a way of bringing order to the marketplace.

Marketplace rules

There are two rules of importance that relate to the central question of this post, which is who are you, the potential buyer, gonna call for more information and perhaps to make an offer?

Offer of cooperation

The first is that each listing must include an offer of cooperation to other participating brokers. The offer of cooperation states a percentage of the listing commission that will be paid to a buyer’s broker or sub-agent. As a potential buyer then, you should understand that the cost of a broker/agent who will put your interests ahead of his or her own and those of the seller is already built in to the commission that the seller is paying. Using your own agent to get information about a listing should not increase your purchase price.

Listing types

The second rule is that — at least in our area — the MLSs accept only two types of listings as defined by New York State law. One of these types is called “exclusive right to sell”; the other is called “exclusive agency.” Thus, the term “exclusive” refers to specific types of arrangements between agent and seller and has nothing to do with which agents can show you a listing. In fact, all participating agents and brokers can show you the property and contact the listing agent on your behalf.

(Why do some brokerages insist on splashing the word “EXCLUSIVE” all over their yard signs and newspaper ads? — you might well ask. I think the practice is misleading and should be banned. See this posting for more.)

What if I don’t have my own buyer’s agent?

Of course, inspiration is likely to flash when least expected. If you have a smart phone or other internet-connected device, you’re in luck. Just about anywhere in the country you can at least get the price of any listed property right at the end of its driveway. (In Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, just go online to Ask-Marty.com and use the Find Me button to re-center the map on your location. I leave a bookmark on my screen; it works just like an app!)

But for anything beyond the price and the listing itself, it will surely pay if you take the time to do a little bit of research and establish a relationship with a real estate agent or broker who will serve as your buyer’s agent by guiding you through the  process and placing your interests and needs above his or her own and those of the seller.

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Thanks for reading. When you are ready to start browsing homes or land in Dutchess, Columbia, and Ulster Counties, I encourage you to do so at my websiteAsk-Marty.com. Because I am a member of THREE MLSs (Mid-Hudson MLS [Dutchess County], Ulster County MLS, and Columbia Greene Northern Dutchess MLS), you can search the entire region on both sides of the Hudson River. You can save properties that interest you and you can set the site to email you notices when new listings match your criteria. This a great way for buyers or sellers to monitor a specific neighborhood or school district or type of property!
Best wishes,

Marty

Maarten Reilingh (Marty)
Licensed Real Estate Broker
Serving Dutchess, Ulster & Columbia Counties
48 E. Market St; Red Hook, NY 12571
www.ask-marty.com
marty@ask-marty.com
845-532-1204 (voice)
720-625-6543 (fax)

Real Estate Buyers and Listing Agents

A professional real estate broker will always take the time upon initial contact to clarify the issue of agency and insure that the new contact knows the options. (In fact, New York State mandates this procedure and provides an acknowledgement form for prospective buyers and sellers to sign.) Buyers should not be misled by for-sale signs that use the word “exclusive.” Buyers have a right to be represented by their own agent, and in most cases that agent’s fee is already rolled into the asking price. This message is for real estate buyers, and for those who have some influence with buyers.

Who is the listing agent & agency working for?

Imagine you are at an appliance store or an auto dealership. You are greeted by a salesperson who asks if he or she can help you. Do you – for an instant – ever think that person is working for you? Of course, there must be many honest appliance and car salespeople who are truly interested in the satisfaction of their customers, but it pays to be aware of their conflicting interests. The same is true when a prospective home buyer calls upon the listing agent or listing agency in order to see a property. The buyer must know that the listing agent and agency both have fiduciary obligations to the seller. These obligations are legally mandated responsibilities that preclude the listing agent from providing complete loyalty to the interests of the buyer.

Dual agency

Because so many buyers do contact listing brokers and because so many listing brokers are able, willing, and even eager to work directly with buyers, New York State does acknowledge and permit dual agency. Under dual agency both seller and buyer give up the loyalty that they are owed by their agent in order to expedite the process. They also give up certain insider knowledge that the agent may know by virtue of his relationship with the other party. New York State allows such arrangements so long as both buyer and seller have given their informed consent. The New York State Association of Realtors (NYSAR) has published this document to assist agents to explain dual agency to their clients. A buyer’s signature on this document would indicate that they (the buyers) understand and agree to dual agency.

Dual agent with designated sales agents

A special status exists for such cases in which a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent work for the same company. Under supervision of their broker and with both parties consent, a dual agent with designated sales agents status allows agents to work for their respective clients. They must take special care to not collude while they are in their office and loyalty remains compromised. NYSAR has also published a document to assist agents to explain dual agent with designated sales agent status to their clients. A buyer’s signature on this document would indicate that they (the buyers) understand and agree to dual agent with designated sales agent status.

Reasons for buyers to use listing agents

Buyers may elect to consult listing agents for various reasons. A listing agent may have a quicker and more comprehensive knowledge of the property than other agents. By calling listing agents directly, buyers can avoid creating long-term relationships before they are ready to do so. Undeniably, quick responses and anonymity are powerful inducements these days.

Better reasons for buyers to use their own buyers agent

I believe it is wise for a buyer to engage the services of a single buyer’s broker. Find an agent that knows the market in which you are interested and let that agent insure that you get to see all the properties that might suit you. There’s no better way to insure that you are making the best possible choice. You’re buying a house, after all, not a candy bar or a pair of shoes! Set about the process in an orderly way and engage a pro to help you.

Also, be aware that when you call a listing broker, you may get short shrift from a listing agent who doubts your interest or a long sales pitch from an agent who wants your business. Agents with many listing, often will steer buyers to their junior colleagues, automatically creating the dual agent with designated sales agent status. If you end up buying a different house from a different agency, the listing agent may yet collect a referral fee from the junior agent.

I do it too!

Go back to the beginning of the previous paragraph. I can’t tell you that I don’t welcome the opportunity to meet a buyer who has interest in one of my listings. Such a person is a potential new neighbor and an ongoing source of referrals. I also can’t tell you that I’ve never given short shrift to a buyer “prospect” — mostly the kind who demands admittance to a property immediately without knowing a thing about it. But I am always scrupulous about a buyer’s right to have his or her own agent — and the ease with which such an agent can be contacted and engaged.

But doing dual agency is extra work. I have to be very careful to give each side full service while treading the loyalty line. And when I do receive inquiries about my listings from a buyer’s agent rather than directly from the buyer, I am free to concentrate on selling the property and to not worry about conflicting loyaties. That is why my for-sale signs say “Contact Marty or any broker.”