ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Buyer Beware: Real Estate Agents are Loyal to the Seller

Updated on October 11, 2011

Many first time buyers are under the mistaken notion that the agent is working for them and has their best interest at heart. This misconception is perpetuated by the agent who is instantly the buyer’s best friend and is certain they will find the perfect house in a great neighborhood and for the right price.

The ugly reality is that the listing agent actually works for the seller. Their job is to find a buyer and close the deal. This is also a selfish endeavor since the agent does not get paid until the deal is done. Real estate commissions are a percentage of the final sale price on the property. The higher the sale price, the higher the agent’s commission.

Even armed with this information, some buyers will think that they lucked out and got a good agent because they came highly recommended by some co-worker’s cousin. This particular agent is honest and caring and really knowledgeable about the area and market. Yep, they all are.

While there are exceptions to every rule, the basic buyer/agent relationship goes a little like this:

At the Beginning

When the buyer first signs that contract with the agent, things are all happy and melodious and the pair are great friends with things in common. The agent is certain that they will find exactly the right property in a great neighborhood for a reasonable price. Everybody is happy at this early stage; the buyer has money to spend on a house and the agent wants to sell him a house. Both parties are chomping at the bit to get the show on the road and complete the transaction as soon as possible.

Somewhere During the Search

After showing the buyer several homes the agent begins to tire of the charade and drops the pretense that he cares what the buyer really wants. It is at this point that the agent works on convincing the buyer that their standards are too high and their price point is too low. Wondering why this was not discussed back in the happy days of the relationship, the buyer reluctantly begins looking at higher priced properties.

Time to Put in an Offer

This is the aspect of the house buying process that buyers find the most difficult. It is common for the buyer to trust completely in their agent’s ability to get the best price for them. This is the worst possible thing to do. The agent wants a quick negotiation with a high purchase price; this is what drives the agent’s commission. At this stage of the relationship, the agent is in direct opposition to the buyer and is now in a committed relationship with the seller, with whom the agent has a common goal: sell this house for top dollar.

Agents do not like buyers who are hard negotiators because the buyer who will walk away without a deal walks away with the agent’s commission. At this point the agent will begin to give the buyer all kinds of “friendly advice” on how to negotiate. Much of this advice should be ignored. Here are some examples of things the agent might say to “help” a buyer with their bid:

“If you bid too low it will offend the seller and they will refuse to negotiate with you.” – This statement is completely false. The general rule in negotiations is that the buyer will bid much lower than they would pay while the seller prices higher than they will sell for. This is the beginning of a negotiation.

“Someone else could put in a bid so you should hurry up and get your bid in.” This is the agent pressuring the buyer so that a deal can be made quickly and the agent gets paid. While there are cases where hesitant buyers lose out on properties, this is the exception and not the rule.

“There is another potential buyer who is very interested and looking at the house this afternoon.” This is a common “white lie” used by agents in an effort to get an offer submitted sooner while emotions are high. If a buyer is already emotionally attached to the house, this gambit can push him into negotiations right away.


By this point the buyer has decided to buy the house and all that is left is finding the right price. The buyer wants to pay the lowest price; the seller wants to receive the highest price. Where does the agent stand? At this point the agent just wants the deal to be done so they get paid and can walk away. Many agents will advise the buyer to put in an offer that is really close to the asking price in an effort to speed up the whole process. This essentially means that the buyer is now negotiating against the seller and the agent.

Other bits of “wisdom” that your agent may give you during the negotiation phase, and which should be roundly ignored, are:

“Meet the seller in the middle.” – What kind of negotiating tactic is that? In negotiation the whole point is to give as little as possible in each volley with the hopes of finding a common ground closer to the buyer’s starting point than the seller’s. What results is a mutually beneficial price, ideally, anyway.

“Are you really ready to walk away from this house for a measly $(insert amount here)?” At first blush this seems like a valid point. If the house is perfect, why not pay the few thousand more? On the other hand, why is the “buyer’s agent” using guilt and emotion against the buyer to dig deeper instead of on the seller to sell lower? Seems the agent should be telling the seller that the buyer is going to walk, but lowering the price by the requested amount would seal the deal.

“Another buyer has put in an offer, you should go in with your absolute top dollar or you will lose the house.” While this tactic might have some merit in extreme seller’s markets on some plush Caribbean Island, the seller’s agent is usually trying to get the buyer to cough up all his dough and close the deal quickly. The worst part is that the “buyer’s agent” is all too willing a participant in this ruse, since it means a quicker close and more commissions. The really interesting thing here is that whatever offer the buyer comes up with as their top bid is somehow magically higher than the “other bidder” and the seller quickly accepts the contract.

Buyer's Agents

In Conclusion

Real estate agents do bring something to the table that a buyer doesn’t have access to otherwise; namely the MLS listing, ability to show a property and comparable sales data. They also know the areas and can drive buyers around to see the homes.

With websites like and, buyers have a greater access to available properties and sales data along with market trends and neighborhood demographics. It is important for prospective buyers to research for themselves before contacting the agent. And for goodness sake, never forget that real estate agents make their living SELLING properties, not “helping” buyers.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great article. Buyers beware for sure. As a buyer I decided to use a service called Sundaybell that gave me the power to interview and negotiate services with any and all was awesome! Here's an article from there that helped me.

      Best, Tim

    • Vicki99 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Meridian Idaho

      Thank you. An educated and guarded buyer is less likely to get taken advantage of.

    • editor_zadmail profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely article. I guess it happens all the time that people get cheated in real estate. And your last sentence,

      "never forget that real estate agents make their living SELLING properties, not “helping” buyers." So very true. I guess that is why it is most important to choose the right agent.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)