The agent (#1) will not go after you for the commission - you had no written agreement - should you buy the house in question, if they go after the commission, at all...they will try to get it from the second agent.....its NOT your concern.
Just be honest with your current agent.
Dean Gupta,CRS,SFR,e-Pro, Broker
Serving Home Buyers and Sellers for Full Satisfaction since 1991.
For Personal Attention, Call 763-537-8382
Both Legally and Ethically, the agents are supposed to be nice enough to let you go with no hassle, but if they have not been ethical then sometimes the word of mouth passes on and they give you a run around. Ethically the customer is not at fault most times.
Just because you went into a shoe store and the salesman tried to sell you a few pairs of shoes that you did not buy, wouldn't mean you have to pay the sales man for showing you shoes. He is a salesman he gets his commission when he makes a sale not when "trying" to make a sale. Same goes for the realty agent - both buyer and seller agents.
My agent has been very nice to me, he was involved from the start and was open to me using any agent at any point of time (that speaks of confidence he had in his service - don't want to mention the realty firm he was in else this would sound like an advertisement). He used to refresh our list and shortlisted homes every week and set our appointments appropriately etc.. etc... well i thought this was about your question... :)
I have to agree with what the majority of others are saying below me. You personally can choose whoever you want to represent you in this transaction since you did not have a contract.
The threshold question and procurement is about the WHOLE TRANSACTION. The simple fact you are looking at using another realtor, on top of the agent not using a contract, will make it very difficult for him to gain a commission out of this.
Go ahead and use the 2nd agent with confidence.
The "threshold rule" is a thing of the past and tells you that Realtor is not as up to date as they should be. You want a buyer's agent to represent your best interests. You should interview three agents, ask them how familiar they are with the area in which you want to buy, how many deals they have completed in the past year in that area, how they will communicate with you, and ask for references and check them out. This is too important go on feelings alone. Good luck with your new home!
You bring up a couple of concepts that are confusing even for agents to keep straight. I will do my best to be as clear and direct as possible.
1. Can you work with X, Y, or Z agent? Yes - you can work with any agent that you like. Nothing precludes you from picking any agent and then working with them.
2. Keep in mind that whomever you hire, will have a reasonable expectation of being paid. Once you sign a contract with an agent, YOU are responsible for paying that agent a commission - not the seller (or their broker).
3. The MLS has rules that outline how an agent can and sometimes is compensated by the listing broker (seller if you will). The concept is difficult to pinpoint because it is decided by a different panel of agents each time and the same case heard twice by two different panels could very well have two different outcomes, and as Debbie pointed out, procurring cause disputes are often handled between the agents. There is however no longer a threashold rule as another agent has pointed out here.
4. The reason procurring cause is important to you is because the MN buyer broker representation contract states that YOU owe the agent a commission (technically the broker). It goes on to say that sometimes (depending on how the contract is written) if the listing broker pays your agent, you won't have to. If the listing broker is challenged and pays the first agent that you worked with, you may end up oweing money to the second agent out of your pocket. Whether they will ever pursue you is an argument for another discussion.
5. The first agent can't ask you for compensation without a contract. However, if you purchase the home, they can make a claim against the commission that would otherwise be reserved for the agent that you chose to represent you.
Coldwell Banker Burnet
licensed MN Broker
That being said, you need to be upfront with agent #2 in regard to what has already transpired.
The agents should work this out between themselves. Agent #2 should be proactive in speaking with agent #1, but you are free to proceed with your offer.
Don't get confused if others mention the term "procuring cause", as that is something worked out between the agents (under that term, agent #1 might be entitled to a portion of the commission), but it should not stop you from moving forward with an offer.