Real estate: Should you buy a home through a seller’s agent?

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Q: I was reading a rental agreement and am confused about the difference between a Lessee and a Lessor. Can you please explain?

A: Some real estate terms can be confusing. By definition a Lessee (aka Tenant) is a person/entity to whom a property is rented to in a lease agreement. A Lessor (aka Landlord) is the person/entity who rents the property out.

Q: Our niece is looking to buy her first house. Her stepdad says she should work with one real estate agent instead of contacting the agents who have the houses listed for sale. My husband says she’ll get a better deal if she buys from the real estate agent who listed the property. Who is right?

A: Stepdad has it right on this one. Before I give you the answer, I am going to ask a question that I always ask potential clients. If you were going to sue your next-door neighbor, would you both use the same attorney? No, of course not; there would be a conflict of interest. Whose best interest would the attorney be looking out for? The same goes for real estate agents in Michigan. A seller’s agent is looking out for the best interest of the seller. It is their fiduciary duty to get the seller the most money for the property and not to disclose any confidential information to the buyer. A buyer’s agent on the other hand is doing just the opposite. They are looking out for the best interest of the buyer and trying to get the property at a fair market price and helping the buyer to discover any possible negative features about the property. As far as saving money by using a seller’s agent to buy a house; not so. The seller’s agent has a listing/commission agreement already signed in place and the brokerage will receive the full commission. If there is some type of commission discount the savings will normally go into the seller’s pocket not the buyer’s. The seller’s agent does not have an agency relationship with the buyer. (There are also dual agents and transaction coordinators; but that is another story).

Market Update: March’s market update for Macomb County and Oakland County’s housing market is as follows. In Macomb County prices were up by more than 4% and Oakland County prices were up by almost 2% as well for the month. Macomb County’s on market inventory was down by more than 1% and Oakland County’s on market inventory was down by more than 7%. Macomb County average days on market was 38 days and Oakland County average days on market was 37 days. Closed sales in Macomb County were down by more than 11% and closed sales in Oakland County were down by more than 22%. The closed sales are down as a direct result of the continued low inventory. Demand still remains high. (All comparisons are month to month, year to year.)

By the long-standing historical definition from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) which has been in existence since 1908; a buyer’s market is when there is a seven-month supply or more of inventory on the market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers is when there is a six-month supply of inventory. A seller’s market is when there is a five-month or less supply of inventory. Inventory has continued to drop. In March the State inventory was at 1.5 months of supply. Macomb County’s inventory was at 1.1 months of supply and Oakland County’s inventory was at 1.2 months of supply; little to no change. As you can see, by definition it is not a buyer’s market.

Steve Meyers is a Real Estate Agent/Realtor at RE/MAX Metropolitan located in Shelby Twp., Michigan and is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. He can be contacted with questions at 586-997-5480 (voicemail) or email him at [email protected] You can also visit his website: AnswersToRealEstateQuestions.com

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