You want to attend an open house this weekend, but before you visit there are things you need to know:
Who Does The Open House agent work for?
A) The Seller
B) The Buyer (you)
C) None of the above
Answer: NOT B, but A and/or C. The listing agent has one primary job: SELL THE HOME. They have a contract with the SELLERS specifying their job is to sell you THAT home. It’s against what’s called fiduciary duties to tell you about a better match down the block.
And if the open house agent is another agent from the office and NOT the listing agent, while they’d like to sell the home, their primary interest may be in getting more buyers.
Is everything you say to the Open House agent confidential?
C) it depends
Answer: Again, NOT B, but A and/or C. Basically, assume NO confidentiality at all. Because the open house agent works for the seller, ANYTHING you say to them can be taken back to the seller and used against you. Even what seems like innocent small talk may actually be telling the open house a LOT about your motivation and means: how long you’ve been looking, why you’re looking, etc., may all lead to giving away thousands in negotiating leverage.
Answer C only applies if you don’t have your own agent and decide to let the listing agent be a dual agent (legal in Ohio) and that’s ONLY if you act immediately. Otherwise, everything you said before may have already been given to the seller.
So while there’s no real estate officer reading you and actual Miranda Rights before you step into an Open House, you might want to consider that everything you say can and will be used against you during negotiations if that home works out to be THE ONE for you.
Your best advice we have for you to protect your own interests? Avoid the open house, hire your OWN dedicated buyer’s agent and tour the home without risk of the listing agent gaining inside information about you. You’ll gain personalized expertise and the best possible protection for your own interests.
Have more questions about the home buying process in Ohio? Call 513-520-5305 or email Liz@LizSpear.com.