Most professional agents want to do their best and represent your best interest as a client. We are here to help and therefore don't want to see anyone making a poor decision in one of lifeâ€™s most expensive purchases. That's the real purpose of the brokerage engagement to create a relationship where the client receives the most professional advice and the clientâ€™s interest is protected.
As soon as an agent starts giving you professional advice without an agreement he or she is out of compliance BRRETA. So, the agent who goes around showing properties and giving their professional opinions and advice with out a brokerage engagement, you are out of compliance with Georgia Real Estate Law. Having a Buyer sign a brokerage agreement at the last minute just before you write a contract doesnâ€™t mean you are in compliance if you have been treating that customer as a client.
with Buyer under O.C.G.A. Â§ 10-6A-1 et. seq.
Above is the exact language that appears at the very top of a buyer-broker agreement. The key word is "client" and if you want the agent to represent your best interests and work for you and you only, then yes, there must be an agreement in place. If an agent is willing not to represent you and still waste their time showing you a property with no guarantee of getting paid for their services, then I guess they can do that. You, on the other hand, if you want a door opener, and no professional advise, no guidance and no professionalism, then no, you don't need an agreement. So, it may be a matter of semantics, but to give the agent a benefit of the doubt, you must have an agreement in order for the realtor to treat you as a client. The difference you will see is between the word client and the word customer. I disagree that an "offer" is the criteria wether you are being represented by a realtor as a client or not. If they open the door and you ask for their advise they may be treating you as a client, therefore, an agreement would be required. Do you want a realtor on your team or not? My suggestion is to find one you trust, who is professional and one you are comfortable being loyal to through a buyer broker agreement. The agreement protects you and the agent fairly. If you need help locating that type of Realtor, let me know and I would be glad to suggest one that might specialize in your area and hold to the standards you might be seeking.
David Brower, Managing Broker
You don't have to have the document before you can view a property.
Sometimes it's a guage of sincerity, sometimes a misused filter.."I'm not doing anything for anyone who won't sign an agreement." Superseeded only by the infamous..."I'm not doing anything for less than x% commissions." To each his own.
Real estate is difficult, the rules are in flux, the playing field is uneven and there are many, many victims. Agents don't want to be the victim often to the detriment of building new relationships. I had a buyer couple absolutely BESIDES themselves because I wasn't jumping at the bit to spend hours showing property with no proof of their ability to obtain a mortgage..."sigh...You mean we can't even see a house without a proof of funds statement?" That isn't what I was saying but explaining you are wasting your time AND mine without knowing how much you can spend didn't go over too well. People want what they want.
Everyone has thier own method of operation and truly believe that it is the "right" way because it is THIER way. One Size does not fit all! You have identified that you are not a fan of having a contract shoved in your face when the other party has not shown any VALUE to you. Now that you know what you DON'T like the weeding process has just gotten easier.
Take your time, interview agents and work with someone you feel comfortable with.
Ana, I think you and so many other agents posting here, and reading these posts may need to retake the course on â€œagencyâ€. Nowhere in Georgia law does it say you must have a signed agreement when you "know we are a good match for each other". Now, if you make it clear up front on just what your relationship is going to be a â€œcustomerâ€, take them out show them property, but remember, you are simply a doorman and a scribe, give no advice or professional guidance. I might caution you though that if you are the one sending them properties that you feel are a good fit and are then showing them these properties, you may already be giving them professional guidance. Be careful.
Your statement "This is required if you were represented by a buyer's agent at closing" is simply not a correct answer. The agreement is to be signed prior to you entering a client relationship not just if you represent them at closing.
Brokers and agents need to get a better understanding of just what agency means, how it affects them and how it opens the door to lawsuits if it is not handled correctly. With more and more brokerages popping up with no real broker guidance it's understandable why agents do not seem to understand or adhere to the most basic real estate laws and practices, and why the general public is so confused on just what is truth and what is fiction.
Some agents just don't understand brokerage relationships and how the law effects these relationships.
For me, one thing is more important than the defined relationship (even if that relationship is for just one showing). That one thing is the simple proactivity of making sure that I get paid, if I expect to get paid.
Annie - your mortgage banker introduced you to just one of the many business people who have a real estate license in Georgia who have the distinct skill of turning folks off when they open their mouths.
Agents should be more like Hank Miller.
If all agents were clear, succinct, forthright and understandable, when they initially engage a potential new client, then folks like you would not ever feel "disgusted."
From what you say, it sounds like a very good thing that you did not sign the agreement with this agent. If he in fact did not fully explain what the law DOES require and tried to trick you, then he violated the law and the Gerogia Real Estate Commission should know about it.
The answer is no, GA law does NOT require you to sign an EBA for an agent to show you a house, or for that matter to "work" with you showing you 20 more houses and even writing a contract on one.
Now having said that, there is a lot of confusion among the public in general and a surprising number of agents as well (as this post shows) with regard to what an agent is allowed to do for a buyer without a written Brokerage Agreement, and what the implications are to the buyer (and agent) when an agent merely 'works' with a buyer (who in the absence of a written EBA is automatically a "customer").
I gave a thumbs up to Strom Thurmond because he summed up the issue pretty well and I would urge any agent who "works" with buyers and then signs an EBA later, or never, to read the last paragraph of Stroms post - if you give professional advice and counsel to a "customer" you are not only out of compliance with the law - my attorney tells me you have set yourself up for possible lawsuit from multiple parties in the transaction including the seller and the very buyer you worked with. In many cases, your actions may also make you an "undisclosed dual agent" - a very serious infraction.
What a lot of agents correctly point out is that you as the Buyer are far better served and protected when an agent represents you as a client, (which can ONLY be done by entering into a written EBA with the agent) than when you work with an agent as merely their customer. That is undisputably true.
Now let me point out something that no one ever touches on - the EBA does more than just assure you of the agents best service and charging the agent with the duty to represent your best interest to the best of their ability (whatever that is) - under an EBA your agent is held to higher standards of conduct and is responsible to use due care and to perform with at least minimal industry competance while serving you.
When you DONT have an EBA to be represented and are merely a customer, short of outright, blatant and provable fraud, and certain illegal acts of the agent, you as the "buyer customer" can not take action against, and hold the agent accountable, for their actions, mistakes, or failures to act.
Thats why you should NEVER work with an agent without an EBA - you are exposed to too many risks. Any quality agent (who understands the law) will for your own protection, insist on your signing an EBA or they wont serve you - I am in that category. To do otherwise is a disservice to you.
SOLUTION - interview some agents and review thier websites and you should be able to determine who the best agent is, but if you are still uncomfortable, then you can sign a one day or two day EBA to see how they work - a "try it before you buy it" approach that leaves you protected, and still leaves you an out if the agent is a dud. There is never a reason to be unprotected - trust me, you want and need more than a taxi driver and a door opener!
As far as unpublished listings, all good buyer agents are aware of at least some of those. As for your identifying homes "for a year and a half" that seems to me glaring proof that you need your own expert! I work with both investors and home buyers and even with all the extra due-diligence I perform, in over ten years it has never taken me over 42 days to find my client a property they loved and wanted to buy. In taking that long, I guarantee you have missed many opportunities - I have seen it too many times when clients come to me who have been looking on their own or with an agent for over 6 months without success. Fortunately we are in the best buyers market of all time - and at least for now some of the best mortgage rates of all time. Let me assure you, as a consumer you can not access as many accurate and available local listings on a consumer website, as are available on the multiple MLS databases we as realtors use.
Annie, I would like to talk with you about your criteria, and if it is realistic, provide you with unmatched Buyer Representation and Protections to help you quickly find the ideal property. If your criteria is not realistic, I promise to shoot straight with you and let you know, and then let you know what is available.
See http://www.TheHomeBuyersRep.com for more information on my unmatched buyer representaion services.
For more information on the subject of Buyer Brokerage Agreements, see the web reference below for my recent blog post on this very subject.
Broker/Owner - Realtor
Professional Buyers Broker
ICC Code Certified Building Inspection Expert
But the short answer to your question is No. You do not have to have a Buyer Agency Agreement for someone to open a home for your viewing pleasure.
But if you want that Agent's opinion, guidance, thoughts, etc. , by law, they are required to have entered into a written Agency relationship as eloquently stated by Mr. Brower:
State law prohibits Broker from representing Buyer as a client without first entering into a written agreement
with Buyer under O.C.G.A. Â§ 10-6A-1 et. seq.
Congrats on your success, Lindsay, particularly in this economic climate. Before replying to a post, I try to read all of the previous threads as well as the original query. It is always amazing to me how many Agents and Brokers will write something in a public forum like this that might be considered ambiguous, misleading or down right wrong. When the state of Georgia licenses us to follow certain rules they have established, we licensees, at minimum, should do so. I, too, read your original response-before you deleted it-and also would have called that thread out if Scott had not done it. If you entertain a buyer, show them listings, offer advice, and/or begin the purchase process on their behalf without having them become either your customer or client first, you have likely jeopardized your status as an licensed agent in this state, based on the current language from the GREC. Not being a lawyer myself, however, you may consider getting another opinion. Good Luck!
It is required that the buyer be informed as to what agency relationships are at first meeting. Maybe the agent took that for an express exclusive brokerage agreement.
I am sure that if the agent was knowledgeable in that area and not arrogant, you would have signed it without question, because the purpose if it is to better represent your interests.
By the way, it took you over a year to find a home when there are Realtors that can work all that for FREE?
Using a good agent will make things much much easier for you plus it is free to you because the seller will pay all the commissions if the house is already listed with another broker.
Do not this incident pull you back...this is a great time to buy!! Best of luck and please let me know if I can assist you in the process.
Georgia State law requires that in order for a Realtor to represent you as a client, that you enter into an agreement.
Most Realtors will allow one free look for a qualified Buyer but then if they see they can work well together, ask the Buyer to commit to them as a Client.
Hope that helps.
RE/MAX Greater Atlanta