Home Buying in 94122>Question Details

Dummy, Home Buyer in California

Am I legally bind with my buying agent? and ethical issues problem

Asked by Dummy, California Mon May 16, 2011

I have an agent, never sign agency agreement. But he does not fulfill my needs and does not protect my interest as buyer. He seems to care about getting the deal done so he can get is commission. I don't like the quick money attitude. However, he spend two days showing me houses (searched by me), and I plan to offer on two houses through him. I plan to get my real estate lisense if those two offer does not get through after I reach my financial limit ($220,900). Can I buy OTHER houses without legally pay him commission? Is it still ethical as far as real estate thing goes? I want this guys to earn money if the offer goes through, I do want to offer my max limit that I can afford, because I want them. But stay with him beyond those two offer is not for my good interest as buyer. Not enough space to explain, but I know it is not a good fit.

Thank you very much

Help the community by answering this question:


Your plan looks reasonable and fair. Based on the facts you present there is no written contract binding you to the broker.

You did not ask whether there is some other theory or set of facts creating contractual liability.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 25, 2012
You are not obligated to buy through any agent, not unless you signed a buyer/broker agent agreement, and even then, there are certain stipulations that would need to be met in order for you to be bound. A buyer is normally not contractually bound to an agent, however, if you've made an offer through an agent on a specific house, you are contractually bound to that contract through that agent for that house. If you do not proceed with that purchase for reasons that are conditions to the contract, your obligations to that agent cease. You need to review your agreement(s) with your current agent to insure that you have no other commitment. However, if all you did was sign a purchase contract with or through an agent (who no longer meets your needs), you do not have any commitment outside that (purchase) agreement
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 17, 2011
Always follow your intuition, whether it's real estate or anything else. It's what I call a double negative. If you know something is not right or not good for you and you still move forward, more than likely you are going to get burned. And if you went against your intuition, Sorry, but that would make you a dummy.

You should work with an agent who is going to look out for YOUR best interest. That agent should make sure you negotiate the best possible price, now the values in the area, get the proper inspections and take you by the hand and walk you through the entire process smoothly. Then that agent has earned their commission.

Once the agent has done all of that, hopefully they will stay in touch with you and be there down the road if you ever have a problem. Hopefully, because they have done all of that, if you ever know someone who is thinking of buying or selling a home, you would refer your agent because they did a good job.

Real estate should be about relationships. Now, if your agent is showing you these homes, they deserve you represent you for those homes.

If you have not signed a buyer/broker agreement committing you to your agent, you can walk away at any time if you feel the agent is not looking out for your best interest.

Best of luck.

Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 16, 2011
Rule number 1 is disclosure, if you did not sign a buyer broker agreement you should have at least signed an agency agreement. You may be liable for a commission to them for any house they introduced you to if you buy kater. If you have no agreement, you can break ties, i would put it in writing so you have a record of it and get a real buyer broker who will look out for your interests, If you are not licensed yet, you can not complete task as an agent as of yet. You need to familiarize yourself with these laws regarding disclosure. good luck with your search
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 16, 2011
If it's not a good fit, find someone else. And I commend you for asking about the ethics involved.

However, there are elements in your question that suggest that you might encounter similar problems in the future. You feel as if the agent has a "quick money attitude," yet spent two days showing you houses. And, yes, he probably did want to complete a deal to earn a commission. That's the way agents get paid. You didn't really present much information to suggest that he wasn't protecting your interests as a buyer. If he truly wasn't, certainly look elsewhere for future offers. However, make sure you understand how such protection occurs--what an agent should and shouldn't do.

You say "I do want to offer my max limit that I can afford, because I want them." That's dangerous, if you might end up overpaying. Make sure you know what the houses are actually worth. It may or may not be in your best interest "to offer my max limit." That's especially true if you're buying those houses as an investment. You say you plan on making offers on two houses, and you hope to buy others. Make sure the numbers work. The maximum you offer shouldn't be based on what you can afford, but rather what the numbers support.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 16, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
You are not bound to an agent if you never signed agency.
If you did, the agreement should either have an expiration date or specify that the agreement is terminated after a successful closing.
Web Reference: http://www.321property.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 16, 2011
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