Yesterday, I was reviewing the status of  a repair negotiation for one of my clients with one of my assistants, and she made the comment that I protected my buyer clients like a bobcat mama.  I’ve thought about that statement repeatedly since then… and I’m concerned.  Let me tell you why.

I participated in one of the recent Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) focus groups a couple weeks ago, and also in the ARMLS Strategic retreat where the results of all of the focus groups were presented.  Once of the most interesting observations repeated from group to group was that buyers are shopping for houses, then for an agent. 

This is a trend that I’ve been experiencing, too.  Buyers are coming to me via the Internet, sign calls, and open houses.  This past weekend, I got a call from a guy who found one of my listings over the Internet, and said that he only worked with the listing agent.  I got another call on Thursday from an investor, who only works with listing agents.

I’ve been a very active REALTOR for four years, and purchased a good number of properties personally and as an investor prior to that.  I always preferred my own representation in negotiating a contract.  I wanted my own agent who had MY best interests in mind, not someone who was working for the seller, too.  My agent was a pro, and I relied heavily on her experience, her instincts, and her no nonsense style.  She’s served a  model for me as I’ve crafted my career.

So back to being a bobcat mama…. I believe that buyers are doing themselves a huge disservice when they do not interview and choose a real estate agent that they jive with… one who knows what he/she is doing and has the ability to communicate AND negotiate effectively.

Let’s face it. Real estate is a contact sport this year, and it’s only the first quarter.  As a buyer, you need someone who is going to assist you in researching properties and neighborhoods, someone who is going to write a solid contract that protects your interests, and someone who will guide you through the home inspection process.   In our market, repair negotiations have taken on a life of their own, and are more critical than ever.  Contracts can easily fall apart at this stage if a certain level of finesse and dose of creativity are not injected.  In my opinion, buyers who do not consider having their own buyer representation are selling themselves short.

Other agents have written extensively about the specifics of why you want your own buyer representation, and there are many reasons.  Ultimately, it comes down to:  Do you really know enough about the current real estate market, the art of effective contract writing, and the nuances of real estate negotiation to effectively represent yourself?  Or, would you be better served, to find an agent, build some trust and rapport, and have the benefit of someone who solely represents your best interests in today’s rough and tumble real estate market?