When Buying a House, Is It Usually Cheaper to Go Directly Through the Listing Agent?
I don’t agree with the other answers you’re getting. It’s usually not any cheaper to go through the listing agent, and it could end up costing you more.
Although it varies by state, here in Florida you don’t have to use a buyer’s agent. You can let the listing agent either represent you, or you can not have representation which I strongly urge you not to do. The seller pays the listing agent, and they in turn pay the buyer’s agent. The amount the seller is paying is contractually agreed to ahead of time and normally is the same either way. If the property has been listed as variable commission and you let the listing agent represent you as well, the seller pays slightly less commission to them and may be willing to pass that savings to you. In my market, very few listings have variable commission however.
Here’s what you aren't being told, though. If you choose to let the listing agent represent you, they are negotiating price between you and the seller who they already have a relationship with. Although our code of ethics prevents them from taking sides, it’s very difficult for one agent to fight for both sides of a negotiation. In my opinion, you will likely end up paying more for the property and getting fewer concessions for repairs, etc. if you share an agent with the property owner. I have represented both sides in several deals, but I prefer not to do so because it’s hard to get both sides to trust the same person. Without trust of your agent, things just do not go well for anyone involved.