TLDR: We want to buy a house, but the agent has made ambiguous or untrue claims. And because they are acting as a designated dual agent, we are afraid they might favor the interests of the seller over ours. Should we back out and get our own buyer agent to send the written offer?
A couple of weeks ago, we saw a house we liked in a rural part of New York. We don’t have a buyer agent (maybe not the best idea), so we reached out directly to the listing agent (let’s call him Aiden). He asked one of his colleague (Bob) to help us to schedule the visit.
Bob was not able to make it during the visit and arranged for one of his friend to show us the house. To this day, we never met Bob in person and only spoke over the phone or by email. We liked the house, so we made an informal offer.
This where it gets a bit tricky. Bob has made a couple of claims that are either ambiguous or contradict what we could find in other resources:
Bob told us last week another person made an offer, but encouraged us to still make one to beat their offer.
He sent us a Purchase Offer document to sign that says “This is a legally binding document”. When we asked about it, he told to not worry this is not truly a legal document and no money goes down until the inspection and we decide to move forward.
Facts: That does not seem to be true according to this and this.
The Purchase Offer gives us 10 days to have the home inspection visit, which does not sound like a lot of time to schedule a visit, perform it, review the results and raise any potential issue.
Because of #2 and #3, we decided to delay signing the document and mentioning having it reviewed by a lawyer. Bob told us we were welcome to get a lawyer, but pointed out we could lose the opportunity because of the extra delay of bringing a lawyer.
Facts: They told us that last Saturday, and reiterated this morning to sign the paper. So clearly, getting a lawyer review the document would have been fine.
This morning, Bob sent us a New York State agency disclosure form describing them as the dual agent with designated sales agent, while Aiden is listed as the seller agent. He told us that they just happen to work in the same company, and that does not change his role and duties as a buyer agent.
Facts: The disclosure form directly states that “A designated sales agent cannot provide the full range of fiduciary duties to the buyer or seller […] and cannot provide undivided loyalty”. There are countless articles (this and this) warning against dual agency and designated dual agency.
This is our first time home purchase and we are inexperienced. That’s why I spent all afternoon reading about dual agency, and the pros and cons of getting our own buyer agent and lawyer. It is very possible Bob is acting in good faith here, but he really seems to downplay and gloss over some of the important details. At this point, I don’t trust Bob to act in our best interest.
We have not signed anything yet, so we are considering tell Bob we don’t consent for dual agency. And then get an independent agent to act as our buyer agent and send the signed offer. What do you think? Are we too paranoid? Is it too late to back out now?