Buying Real Estate in Miami without a Realtor

In the past few months we have noticed while doing open houses for our listings that there are a lot of unrepresented real estate buyers out there. 

By unrepresented I mean buyers that don’t want to work with one Realtor, buyers that think there is an advantage in working directly with the listing agent of a property. That’s why I decided to write this article. 

If you are a buyer in today’s Miami real estate market, meaning you are in the market to buy a Miami or Miami Beach home, there are factors you should consider, factors that will help you decide whether or not to work with a buyer’s agent.

Please note that we consider today’s buyers to be educated and very well informed because of the myriad of information available to them including access to the multiple listing service, tax and government information that was previously not readily available to the consumer.  So all real estate buyers should consider this:

  1. Every transaction is different – A good Realtor will have experience in dealing with problems and road blocks and will know how to resolve these quickly.
  2. Not all agents will be a good match for you – it is important to work with them for a day first to see if the relationship will work.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Make sure you feel comfortable with the Realtor, that you trust them and they are working for your best interest, not their own (or the seller’s).
  3. Loyalty will be reciprocated – Remember that the more loyal you are to someone, the more loyal they will be to you.
  4. You will not have a negotiating advantage by not working with a Realtor – Don’t assume that by not working with a Realtor, the commission will be reduced or it will go to you.  Commission agreements are between the seller and their agent – there is only 1 commission, not 2.  Assuming you have a negotiating advantage is wrong and the only one that will not benefit is you.
  5. Finding the home, pulling comparable sales and negotiating a deal is the easy part of buying real estate – coordinating the transaction is not that simple. (Coordinate appraisals, inspections, contract time frames, loan commitment deadlines and due diligence of a transaction).  Making a wrong move could mean loosing a sizable deposit, or worse yet….loosing the house of your dreams.
  6. A lot of Realtors’ expertise goes beyond  real estate services – do you know how to identify construction problems without wasting your time like additions that were not made to code or with permits.  You may find value in what some Realtors have to offer, a little research goes a long way. (Promoting my Architectural expertise may be considered shameless self promotion, but this is my blog and I am allowed).
  7. Attorney representation may not be what you are looking for – If you think you will be better represented by an attorney, make sure that attorney will represent you and not just the transaction.
  8. Can you put aside the emotional aspect of buying real estate – Will you be able to handle all the problems that may come without compromising a sale because of emotions?
  9. Do you know how to negotiate with different types of sellers? (I.e. relocation companies, bank owned properties, corporate owned properties, pre-foreclosures, short sales?)

I also know of a lot of buyers that choose not to use a Realtor because they have been “burnt” in the past and have had really bad experiences and thus a “Realtor Aversion” exists.  All we can say to that is that those experiences are unfortunate and it makes the job of the good Realtors even tougher.  There are plenty of knowledgeable Miami Beach Realtors out there, ethical Realtors, Realtors that will look out for their customers’ best interest; it’s a matter of doing a little research and finding the perfect match.

*article originally written and posted on September 10th, 2007*

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