Q: We’ve looked at more than 50 houses with our agent and even made offers on two properties. Unfortunately, those offers didn’t work out.
We’ve now found a house that’s for sale by owner. We’d like to make an offer on the property, but we feel bad not buying from our agent after she’s spent so much time with us. What should we do?
A: Why don’t you try to use your agent to negotiate with the seller? It’s possible that the seller will see the wisdom of agreeing to pay 2 or 2.5 percent to the agent and will build that commission into the final price (after you negotiate).
If not, it would be nice (although not strictly necessary) to buy your agent a lovely gift to say thank you for all the hard work she has put into helping you purchase a home. You can even give him a gift card in an amount you think is reasonable or some people even write the agent a check in order to say thank you in a more meaningful way.
Real estate agents understand that they are going to win some and lose some. Listing agents who cannot get a house sold know that they may eventually lose that listing — even after putting in hundreds of hours. Buyer’s agents know that buyers decide not to buy, or they buy by-owner, or they move to a different state or city and buy there.
Keep in mind if the deal with the for sale by owner falls through, you will want to work with your agent again. Whatever you decide to do, it would be thoughtful to write your agent a letter thanking her for assisting you along the path to homeowner, and offering to recommend her to your friends.