Home Buying in Torrance>Question Details

Cloud, Home Buyer in Gardena, CA

I am trying to change real estate agent.

Asked by Cloud, Gardena, CA Tue Nov 16, 2010

I tried to work with my agent and he was not too knowledgeable. It happened to be that the contract has to be cancelled by the seller per mutual agreement. Seller has put the property back in the market and I am try to submit an offer on the same property. Is it possible to use different agent to purchase the same property? I am afraid that he would come after me for the commission. I heard that as long as I didn't sign "Buyer Exclusive" form, then I am safe. Can anyone tell me where can I find the form? I don't recall signing such form but I would like to see how that form looks like. Please advise.

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Steven Ornellas’ answer
Hi Cloud, if you go down the path of obtaining a new agent and placing an offer on the same property you need to be aware that your prior agent may have a "Procuring Cause" claim, whether the was a "Buyer Exclusive" signed or not!

Read more about "Procuring Cause" here: http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Buying/We_ve_had_it_Can_we…

Rather than asking for a copy of the "Buyer Exclusive" contract form, which may not match how yours was filled out or may not even exist, simply make a direct request to the Agent's Broker for a copy of any Agency documents, and that if you do not receive any documents within X days you will assume no such documents exist.

Again, even if no Agency documents exist you still may have a "Procuring Cause" claim initiated against you.

Best, Steve
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Hi Cloud,
Yes, you are right to be concerned. Since your former agent showed the property to you, he is the Procuring cause of the sale, regardless of who you work with down the road.
In my professional opinion, you might want to consider a different property to avoid such issues. These cases have gone to court..and often!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 27, 2010
I would not have too much faith that the chain of events has been broken. Steve is correct, it is a matter of opinion. And if worse comes to worse, it will only be the opinion of a judge or arbitrator that matters.

The best solution will be to resolve this situation before it becomes a problem. Ask the agent to release you from any procurring cause liability. Explain to him why this is important to you. If he refuses, then discuss this matter with his broker. Ultimately, the broker is the one representing you and he can make the appropriate decisions. Ask him to match you up with an experienced agent in his office and let them sort out how to split the commission. If you keep it in-house, then the broker should be happy to resolve this situation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 17, 2010
I also second Steve's suggestion of having your new and old agent work some kind of a referral agreement. That way you will be relieved of any lingering liability and get the house you want. If you already have a new agent they should be able to guide you through this process. If you are looking for an agent that works in the Gardena area, check out my website and let me know if I can be of assistance.

Best of luck to you.

Catherine Bedrossian
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
" what if I add my husband to the contract. Would it still fall under Procuring Cause?"

Not a lawyer, but I doubt this would remove your potential personal exposure.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Cloud, a possible solution to your predicament, assuming both parties agree (the parties being your old agent and your soon-to-be new agent), is to have your old agent contact the agent you want to work with and offer to "transfer" you to the new agent under a referral fee agreement that has each sharing any resulting commission on the home in question. If agreed, this would relieve you of any potential out-of-pocket commission payments.

Depending on the facts of your situation, your old agent may or may not agree, but it's worth a try to "stay out of the mud."
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
It appears that your agent may be considered the procurring cause regarding this property. I would first talk with the managing broker at your agent's real estate company and see if she or he will assign an experienced agent to work with you for this purchase. However, if that is not successful, I would find another home through another agent. It may be even better than this one.

Harold Avent, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO
REMAX Execs South Bay
Email: harold@haroldavent.com
Web Reference: http://www.haroldavent.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 17, 2010
Legally, the realtor could go after you for a commission. And yes, it happens. My suggetion is to find a different realtor and a different home to purchase or you could create a major headache for yourself.

Call me at (661) 255-3335 for further assistance.

Cheryl Garner, Mortgage Expert
Fairview Mortgage Capital, Inc.
Web Reference: http://www.cherylgarner.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 17, 2010

I completely understand where Emily is coming from and I applaud her for being personally pro-active in addressing "Procuring Cause" situations; however, I do have a bit of reservation as to the comprehensiveness of any contract handling ALL situations. For example, the CA Association of Realtors® constantly reviews and makes changes to all of their standard contract documents (many changes of which have been made due to the final outcome of litigation).

While Emily's "Procuring Cause" document has been reviewed by various lawyers who assumedly believe it completely covers all "PC" situations, the fact of the matter is only a judge (whether Small Claims or Superior Court) will make a final decision after listening to both parties’ version of the facts. There is a century’s worth of insomnia-curing case law available for reading all of which has been created over time due to the discourse of individual opinion!

We are all just sharing our individual opinion regarding a scenario that MAY eventually become a possible legal situation for you. None of us can say with certainty what will happen, and more importantly, any lawyer you hire will only be providing their opinion on whether you have exposure. Again, if you allow the situation to escalate to a court the judge will decide for you. I believe the more prudent action is to work out an agreement between your old and new agent, as suggested previously.

Best of luck resolving your situation, -Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 17, 2010
my final input to this issue, I have received Cancellation of Contract both signed by seller and buyer and earnest money was returned to me. And I am trying to pursue same property with different agent, is my former agent a procuring cause and will get paid commission?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
I'm sure with the answers below you're hearing a lot about something called Procuring Cause. I actually wrote up my own Procuring Cause form for situations like this & had it approved by attorney's for a couple different Real Estate Brokerages. Basically if I started working with you, I would have your previous agent & his/her broker sign it.

Even though, technically there wouldn't be a case for your previous agent. Procuring Cause, more or less is defined as: A series of events where if, the chain is not broken leads to a sale.
Your chain of events between you & your current agent FOR this particular property have been broken, with the failure of your current deal not closing & thus being canceled.

I can send you a copy of a Buyer Broker Agreement so you can see if you've possibly already signed one of these.

If you like, feel free to shoot me an email directly, I won't look back for other answers on this same Trulia posting.

562-430-3053 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Steve is right on, if you proceed with the same property that agent will most likely get the commission in the end even if you have another agent do the work. They are the procuring cause. If you are not happy with an agent you always have the choice to work with someone else even if you have signed a Buyer Exclusive form.
However you actually made an offer on a property and wish to do so again with the same property. It is different.
I would suggest you contact the agent's managing broker. I'm sure an agreement can be reached that will make you happy.
Good Luck, let us know how it goes

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
The reason why this deal was off was because seller's listing agent was no longer representing the property. Therefore, I had to resubmit the offer to a new listing agent and when this is done, I would like to hire or find new agent to work for me. I don't know why Former Agent has right to commission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
What was the reason you were not able to purchase the property with the current agent? If you are unhappy or your offer was not submitted properly and did not get accepted. I dont see why you can not use another agent to purchase that same property if it is still available. Let your current agent know how you feel and move on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
To add to the question, what if I add my husband to the contract. Would it still fall under Procuring Cause? I am buying the same property but now there are more than one buyer. Is it still going to be an issue?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Cloud, yes, if you proceed with purchasing the SAME property you may end up having to pay your former agent a comission.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
I have signed the cancellation of contract requested by seller. Seller's listing agent was switched to another company and so I have to resubmit an new offer. Although, this is what it is, am i still entitle to pay prior agent if I get accept and purchase the same property?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Richard has a good point. As Steve, Gay-lynn and CJ pointed out, talk to the Realtor and see if you can get a release or cancellation signed by him protecting you against any commission liability. You might also consider dropping this property from your list and going after other properties.

-Salim Patel
The RealEstate group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
It is true that if you didn't sign a buyer exclusivity contract with your agent, then you should be free to work with another agent on buying different property. HOWEVER, there is also the issue of "procuring cause", under which your original agent may be owed commission for showing you a specific property, if you were to go back and buy that property. You may not just be able to switch agents offer on the SAME PROPERTY without the first agent being owed commission. However, you should consult legal counsel for specifics pertaining to your situation. I am also an experienced agent and happy to help answer any questions you have - feel free to contact me.

Richard Schulman
Keller Williams Realty
#1 Buyers Agent KW Los Angeles
(310) 482-0173
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
You have the right as a Buyer to work with your Realtor of choice. You may submit another offer on the property if the previous offer has expired. Definitely talk to him and discuss you no longer want to work with him. Best to email or type the request for documentation. You may then proceed forward with the new agent. The Buyer/Broker Agreement would have been very noticeable, it is not one of the California Contracts, they are a separate form personally constructed by them or their office.

Any questions, please feel free to contact me

Gay-Lynn Barnes
ReMax College Park Realty
Email: barnesreos@yahoo.com
Ph: 562-858-7065
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
Cloud -

If you are unhappy with your agent, first talk to him and let him know you no longer want to work with him. If there is any issue with the process, ask to meet with his broker and discuss why you are not satisfied with services and why you want to be released from buyer/broker agreement (if you signed one.).

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 16, 2010
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