Can I talk to the seller directly?
The quick answer is NO. But let me explain why.
In California, when using a real estate agent, you have what is known as an agency relationship. This means that the real estate agent owes certain duties and obligations to you, and you owe as much back to them.
Agency occurs when one side asks another to act on their behalf. In a typical real estate transaction both the buyer and seller have different agents working on their behalf, although in California dual agency may exist where both agents work for the same broker.
Your agent will prepare all the documents needed to legally bind and protect you during the purchase, and it is imperative that all communication be in writing.
BUT, you say, you just wanted to call the seller to ask if he’d leave the swing set in the back yard. What harm is that?
It’s not illegal…..it’s not always going to end badly….but it goes against the hallmark of agency….that the best result comes from hiring and allowing your agent to communicate and negotiate all aspects of the purchase or sale.
What goes wrong when buyers and sellers talk?
Feelings can be hurt. You tell the seller you’re going to replace his mahogany floor with tile,, trying to make him feel part of your adventure…and the seller is furious. They spent thousands on that floor, and they love it.
You ask the seller about leaving their washer and dryer, even though in the contract the seller has said they are keeping it. While a seemingly harmless request, the seller may feel you’re trying to nickel and dime them, and they may be unwilling to be as cooperative with doing repairs as you’d like.
The seller tells the buyer that they don’t have to worry about the fence…..their neighbor is just great. The buyer thinks…..what makes them worry at all about the fence? Is there something wrong?
Don’t take it on yourself to talk to the other side of the transaction. Let your real estate agent do what we do best….protect, serve and maintain a professional agenda in writing at all times during this most stressful and detail filled transaction.