Online Owner Agent Listings Don’t Mean I’m Either Owner or Agent

From the inbox yesterday …


As it turns out, this question was not about one of my listings but rather one of the other 20,000 properties for sale available for viewing through the home search here on All Phoenix Real For those interested in the details, we use an Internet Data Exchange or IDX feed to provide you with all the homes in the MLS where the agents opt to have the listing marketed electronically.

On this particular home, the listing was written as “owner/agent”. But even putting aside the IDX aspect, that doesn’t necessarily mean the listing agent is the owner.

In Arizona, if a home owned by a licensed real estate agent is listed for sale then the home has to be marketed as “owner/agent” since, presumably, the owner will know a little more about real estate than the buyer.

Even if the home is listed by another agent, as the home in question here is, the “owner/agent” tag remains.

Even if the owner isn’t licensed here in Arizona, the “owner/agent” tag remains.

And, most importantly to the above question, being either the owner, the listing agent or both doesn’t mean that we’re going to disclose the details of other offers. There is no requirement that this be done; there are times when it’s beneficial to the seller to do so, other times when it’s not. And since the agent works for the seller, especially when the seller is the agent, the agent’s going to opt for the action that best suits the seller.

This leads back to the idea of getting independent representation as a buyer. The listing agent is not representing you, he or she is representing the seller. While the NAR Code of Ethics requires “fair dealings” the agent’s fiduciary responsibility still will be with the seller and not with you.

Working with a buyers’ agent isn’t necessarily going to get you the answer on specifics of other offers that have been made. But it might save you time for e-mailing listing agents about homes – particularly, in this case, a short sale that’s already been under contract for nearly two months.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at

1 Comment

  • Another Investor 7 years ago

    Someone is so anxious to buy the house, he or she will offer $25,000 over list???  I guess the buyer’s market in Phoenix is really over!

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