Home Buying in 77478>Question Details

Narayan, Home Buyer in Sugar Land, TX

Buyer Representation form - is it mandatory to sign this document to view a house in Houston area?

Asked by Narayan, Sugar Land, TX Mon Dec 17, 2012

I was looking houses and wanted to view that house. Contacted the agent listed on Trulia for an appointment to view. The agent sent me a buyer representation form. When I emailed the agent back asking for explanation, was informed that if I were to view the house, like it and choose to guy, I would need to accept the agent as my representative. Now, I have seen houses (open houses) without any such binding (I haven't selected an agent yet) and was unsure how to respond. Any thoughts if this is the rule of the game? I would imagine, the agent represents the seller and is just showing a buyer the house. Why would me having/not-having an agent affect the viewing? I understand there is commissions involved and if I were to have an agent, the two agent would have to split the commission from whatever the seller has agreed to. Is this the reason? Comments/suggestions welcome.

Help the community by answering this question:


It is not necessary to sign the Buyer Representation agreement to view a house. In order to get paid when you make an offer on a house, your realtor should have this document signed by the buyer he/she represents.

There are many buyers' realtors that have their clients go directly to the listing agents. The listing agent takes the time to give information and share details on the houses, then the buyer will have their own realtor make the offer and get paid. This can be very frustrating to the listing agent. Unfortunately you got caught in the middle.

If you really do not have a realtor, just explain to the listing agent that you are still in the looking mode and have not made a realtor commitment yet. She cannot force you to complete the agreement, but she should show the house to you as it is her obligation to expose her seller's house as much as is possible and feasible.

PS: I just read about giving up 30% of the commission. Unacceptable. As a professional realtor, this is my full-time profession. I would never agree to a proposal like that. You as a buyer are not working to earn that pay.Although some realtors might accept your proposal. Those are the realtors to be wary of...
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012

GREAT topic - as BR forms seem to always bring about debate (similar to politics or religion!). If an agent decides to represent both parties (buyer and seller) in the same transaction, it will be a fine line they will be walking! I have actually done it twice this year already. I can't discuss all the specifics due to confidentiality, but if the agent knows how to handle this scenario, it can be great (and very fast) for both parites.

As Realtors, we are held to a Code of Ethics. This code is similar the codes that lawyers and doctors are held to. When an agent works both sides of a transaction, all the details and facts must be presented to all parties involved. However, the agent cannot offer advice or opinions to either party. This does open up ethical doors that most agents are too scared to open. Again, if the agent knows how to handle this scenario, then all parties can benefit.

I think if you're a first-time buyer, you might be better off working exclusively with a buyer's agent. You will have many questions along the way and you might want to ask your agent for advice.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
I think it's too hard to fully answer this scenario. Every real estate deal is different. Personally, I wouldn't work with anyone asking for 30% of my commission. I wouldn't expect someone to work for 30% less than what his/her salary is. If they did agree, I bet you would be getting only 70% of their attention.

Realtors get paid differently than most of the workforce. I know I'm not into cutting my commission, but I'm sure others out there will.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Hi there!

You are not technically "required" to sign a buyer's representation agreement in order to view a home although some brokers do require their agents to have one signed prior to closing. A buyer's representation agreement is simply a document showing that you have hired that agent for a specified period of time. It can actually be a good thing because it also outlines the agent's responsibility to you as their client, but it also means that you are obligated to work with the agent for that set period of time. In addition it is protection for the agent to receive an earned commission. It is a good thing to have if you plan on working with the agent exclusively to find a home. It expresses loyalty and trust by both parties, but it is not required for a showing.

The only document that an agent should require you to sign is an IABS. The Information About Brokerage Services page is not a contractual document and does not bind you to any one agent. It is merely information about brokerage services as it states in the title. Signing the document just shows acknowledgement that you received it.

In closing, the listing agent for the home may choose to work exclusilvely with his clients, and therefore may require them to sign a buyer's representation agreement in order to show them a home. However, you are free to select any agent you choose in the Houston and surrounding areas, and they can show you the home without a buyer's representation agreement.
Web Reference: http://Vsellshouston.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Some agents want a buyer rep the day they meet you and some don't.
If you are serious about looking for a home, find an agent, and sign a buyer's rep with them.
Then they can show you any home you want to see. It should be a lot easier, than trying only to look at open houses, and calling every different agent you run across.

For some agents, this buyer's rep agreement cuts the serious from the lookers.

Obviously this does not work in all cases, but just as you have decided not to work with one agent yet and not sign a buyer's rep agreement yet, this agent has decided not to work with buyers that won't sign an agreement. They have decided that if they spend their time to work with you, they want you to be loyal to them. They don't want to take time to show you the home, and then have you pick another agent to work the deal.

I understand the frustration on both sides, justified or not.

Sounds like you have met several agents now. Call three, interview them with questions you might have and pick one to work with and sign a buyer's rep agreement with one of them. This is the second step in the home buying process. Getting preapproved for a loan is #1, unless you are buying cash. A good agent you pick will save you time, money, and a lot of headaches.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
A buyers representation form means that the agent that shows you a particular home will be representing you in the event that you decide to purchase that home. Some agents require you to sign the first time you meet, but it is best to get to know that agent and make sure you are comfortable with them and their expertise in representation. I always take my clients out and if we get along and they want me to represent them, then I get them to sign the agreement. Most brokers require that the buyer signs this document in order for the agent to get paid his commission.
First and foremost, you should be comfortable working with the agent before signing anything.
Always get your own representation. The agent's name that appears on the sign in the front yard is representing the seller. The buyer should have his own representation. I would suggest that you speak to some agents and based on how you feel, work with one of them exclusively.. An agent can't do much for you if you are working with multiple agents. We spend time with our clients, learn what their needs are and search for a home that is a good fit.
Judy Everett
RE/MAX Fine Properties
281 799-6282
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 9, 2013
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 25, 2013
The Buyer Representation form is not required to show a home, however, it does a couple things for you. First and foremost, it protects you as a buyer. Without a signed representation form, a showing agent is legally acting as a sub-agent to the seller. This means that anything you say about your situation becomes compromised and can be used against you in negotiations by the sellers agents. Not Good!!

With a signed rep form, the agent enters a fiduciary relationship with you, meaning they must legally act in your best interest. A great relationship to have!

Secondly, the Rep form will outline the expectations of the buyer/agent business relationship, commissions, term length, etc. Hope this helps. Contact me with any questions. Good Luck!!

Anthony Velazquez
Keller Williams Realty Southwest
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 25, 2013
Hi Narayan,
A buyer's representation agreement is not required to be shown a house, however remember realtors are not paid unless they sell something. As such, some realtors prefer to meet only buyers who will commit to having them represent them. That said, it does not cost you anything to have representation & in this market today, it is highly recommended that you have a professional work with you to make sure you are successful in finding what you want. As far as splitting the commission, the seller pays what the agreed upon rate is when he/she lists the property so that does not really have anything to do with the buyer, and the seller pays the commission at closing. I generally like to make sure anyone I am working with is not already working with another realtor, as many people do not understand that they don't have to have the listing agent show a house to them, any realtor can show any buyer any listing in the area. I feel that if I meet with a buyer they will most likely want to work with me after I educate them on how the process works & let them know I am in their corner, working for them when I represent them as a buyer's agent. Hope that helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 15, 2013
Interesting article Narayan. It's good that you are looking things up and asking questions. Informed buyers/sellers are the best buyers/sellers!

I'd like to offer one final piece of advice. I noticed that the article you referenced talks a lot about California, etc. Most of the info is good, but general... If you want to find the most relevant information about TEXAS real estate practices, check out http://www.TexasRealEstate.com. This website will refer to TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) practices, guidelines, etc. In fact, check out the attached link for more info on agency in Texas! Take care my friend!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 18, 2012
Thank you all for your wonderful answers. Really appreciate you taking time to answer. I have learnt a lot in the last 24 hrs!

The attached article actually helped me understand the business better. Putting it out there, just in case some one comes looking for it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 18, 2012
Mr Nayaran....
Get youself a Buyers Agent agent, preferably an ABR agent.
Real estate can be confusing enough as it is, your Buyers Agent will be able to explain representation and commissions and a lot more.
You are getting a lot of information from Real estate agents that are Not familiar with Texas Real Estate.
Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
So, can I define my incentive? Say 30% of the commission? The selling agent still benefits from receiving 70% of the sellers arranged commission. As agents, how would you respond to such a proposal?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
We are all independent agents, and run our business differently, I will show one property before, commiting a costumer to working with me, or committing my services to the costumer, simply because I may not wish to work with you just as much as you may not want to work with me... I do hand them the IABS* Form in our first meeting to view the property.
we get to meet, and to know one another, if weare all in agreement, then we sign the Buyers Rep.

Approved by The Texas Real Estate Commission *Information About Brokerage Services is a form that is mandatory for us agents to present to you, and voluntary for you to read, it outlines clearly the agreements for agents and consumers.
Irma Klenk, Accredited Buyers Representative
Remax Southwest
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
There is no way that the listing agent can represent you equally.....
Their job is to get the most for the home as they can for the seller.
This is why you should always hire your own buyer's rep

Tom Burris
Mortgage Banker
(214) 763-4629 cell/text/nights/weekends(Really!!)
Lending all across the entire Great State of Texas!!
NMLS# 335055
Search Dallas area MLS for FREE. No registration => http://www.ntreisinnovia.net/cgi-ntr/BR_login?0501134
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Thank you VERY much for your very informative responses. I am better able to appreciate the situation. However, I am still pissed by the fact that I was given the BR form without explaining anything about it. Giving the benefit of doubt, lets just say that the agent "assumed" I'd know what it means.

My follow up questions is thus:
This agent has been hired by the seller. How can the agent represent me (buyer) properly? Isn't that a blatant conflict of interest? The agent has an obvious incentive to sell the property. What is the incentive for the same agent to represent me? I am unable to wrap my head around it. Kindly enlighten.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
If the agent represents the seller and you chose to purchase the home, then that is where intermidiary status would come into play. You would be required to signed a special document acknowledging that you understand that the agent is representing both parties. In many situations like this the broker will appoint another agent to represent you, however, it is not required.
Flag Mon Dec 17, 2012
If the agent represents the owner, she/he cannot represent a buyer as well. It would behoove you to find an agent to represent you, other than the listing agent. In this case, If you were to look at the home with her and decided to place an offer, it would become an Intermediary situation, in which she could handle both sides, without representing any side, or another agent from her brokerage office would be appointed to represent you.

Did she provide you with the Information about Brokerage Services DIsclosure? This would explain how agent representation works in Texas. If you would like help looking at homes, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to help you or refer you to an agent with Coldwell Banker, that specializes in the Sugar Land Area.

Best Wishes!
Flag Mon Dec 17, 2012
Hi Mr Narayan,
I would be glad to answer your question. That is important because that shows that she or he will be your agent and that agent will represent you only. Seller has his/her agent who has listed. And signing that form doesnt mean that you have to pay because buyers doesnt have to pay seller pays to both the agents legally. What I do mostly in first meeting I dont ask to sign but before second meeting definetely i ask to sign the form in this way buyer and the agent both are comfortable and agent will fulfill her fiduciary duty towards you. She/he will do all the negotiations,all the paper work,follow up with the title company,follow up with lender(if there is loan involved_etc etc.
I would suggest you should have one realtor and she/he will guide you through whole process.
Thankyou for the Opportunity
Shahnaz Lilani
Keller Williams Realty SW
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Hi Narayan,

Most people don't know this, but without a written buyer's representation, that ALL agents work for the seller's and their best interest. By signing a buyer's rep agmt, you are allowing that agent to represent you and provide you with advice, opinions and completion of (CMA's) Comparable Market Analysis.

This is a protection for the agent as well, as previously stated. You could ask that the buyer's rep be only binding for that one day and specifically list the property that you wish to view. If you wish to continue to work with that particular agent, the agreement could be amended at any time.

I hope that this helps to answer your questions.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
I have heard stories of people using the realtor for weeks and then purchasing with their buddy the part time realtor as the actual agent.

You have to understand that the agent doesn't get paid if you don't buy with them listed as the agent.

Find a realtor you like and sign an agreement.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
The agent you contacted is just money hungry. You don't have to sign anything to just go and view a house. If I were you I would find an agent that isn't the guy you contacted. Find someone who is going to look out for your needs not just his own pocketbook.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
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