Buying from an Agent -- Buyer's Agent?
Would appreciate the advise of savvy buyers and sellers on this site. :)
As a bit of background, I have purchased and sold before, but it was a condo in a highrise and was pretty straightforward. Also, I am not a real estate expert (though I try to be informed), but I do negotiate for a living!
I am not in a hurry to buy, and I am pretty cautious about doing so in this market (still declining in my city). However, I am keeping my eye out. I am interested in a very specific, and fairly small, neighborhood in my city. I also have fairly specific criteria about what I want -- price range, lot size, type of house, etc.
A house that meets all of my criteria, on paper at least, was listed recently. It is owned by the listing agent. It is also listed for a fairly large premium over the 2005 price. While the '05 price may have been a good one, and it's not clear what updates have been done since, I think the house is pretty clearly overpriced. And, in any event, I'm not willing to pay what they're asking.
I'd still like to see it. Maybe the owner will be willing to come down; maybe I'll realize that the layout doesn't work that well.
My question, at long last: should I get a realtor of my own? Comps in this market, in this specific area, aren't easy, though a couple of similar homes have gone under contract recently, so hopefully there will be better ones soon.
I would think I could save money doing it on my own (with the help of a RE lawyer), since the agent/owner wouldn't have to pay the 2-3% (is that correct?). However, since I am admittedly not an expert, I wouldn't mind the advice that comes from a good realtor. I am looking at a firm that is known in my particular market for offering well-priced, well-marketed homes. The buyer's agent I spoke with actually knew the owner/agent.
Buyer's realtor or no? I don't particularly want to potentially "lose out" on that money -- but I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish, either.
Also, would my (buyer's) agent require a contract before taking me on an initial showing? I wouldn't have someone show it and then ditch them for a side deal, but I also don't want to lock myself in to something going forward right now.
Thanks in advance, and apologies for the rambling post.