Home Buying in Phoenix>Question Details

S, Other/Just Looking in Phoenix, AZ

I am working with a realtor who has showed me a couple of properties. She is unable to answer my questions

Asked by S, Phoenix, AZ Wed Jan 28, 2009

and isl not willing try to find the answers for me. Additionally she provides very poor customer service. I want to find another realtor. My question is, am I legally obligated to this realtor if I decide to buy a property she showed me? If so, is there a time frame that ends that obligation?
Thanks in advance for you input.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi S,

In most of Arizona's buyer/broker agreements, there is a clause that prevents you from using another agent to buy a home that your agent showed you within a specified time period after the agreement expires, UNLESS YOU SIGN ANOTHER BUYER/BROKER AGREEMENT WITH ANOTHER AGENT. Then, you are "off the hook" ... so to speak, but this really only matters if you have a signed agreement with your current agent.

Basically, if you want to get out of your agreement, you will be more than likely to do so. You probably should stop looking at homes & focus on finding a new Buyer's Agent to help you. Then have that agent help you with the proper & ethical steps to cancel any agreement you have with your other agent. Then allow your new agent to help you to continue to look for & buy a home. It is still very possible to buy a home using another agent even though your current agent showed it to you. But find a new Buyer's Agent first.

Buyer's Agent
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hi S,

There is no legal obligation unless you signed an agreement stating such. However, there may be an implied agreement that could prevent another agent from helping you to buy any homes that this agent showed you. It comes down to procurring cause. You can contact me for more details.

Buyer's Agent
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
I am so sorry to hear about your less than stellar experience with this agent. If you haven't signed a Buyer Broker agreement you are under no obligation to continue with her. Unless the agent can show procuring cause then you have no obligation to her in terms of the home she has shown you thus far.

Working with an agent is much like a courtship, you can usually tell right away if your styles are going to mesh. And even the most experienced agent may not be a fit for you--our different styles is what makes this such an interesting world. I'm guessing, but it sounds like she may be relatively new to the business--if so, she will gain much from your honesty as to why you've decided to change agents...and if she is going to be successful in this business will never make the same mistake again with another client.

Best of luck to you in your search for a new agent.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 29, 2010

Unless you signed an agreement you have no obligation to this agent. If you are unhappy with the service thus far, it might be time to part company.

Our recommendation, if this is your choice, is to do it the right way. Let her know what you both liked and disliked about her service. Hopefully, she will make use of your willingness to share this information and use it to improve her skills.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
Even if you have signed an exclusive agency agreement, if you believe your agent is not providing the service you deserve and you notify her in writing that you are terminating the agreement because of her failure to perform, your agreement will terminate on grounds of "estrangement." Whether she is entitled to a commission if you buy the properties she showed you depends on her establishing that she was in fact the procuring cause of your purchase. Make sure that you carefully interview your next agent and disclosure your previous experience to the new agent. Check agent credentials and get recommendations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 29, 2009
Did you sign the agency agreement?

If you havn't then I think you would be free to go choose a new agent ,it might be polite to give him her a chance and let them know what you need.

I suggest buyers or sellers to ask for referrals and years of experience. You may also ask questions about the process. A good agent can provide a buyer's folder to help stream line the process. In this market each sale can be different with all the lender owned properties and the short sales too(pre-foreclosures). There is no definate answer as each sale comes back with different circumstances.

I hope this helps!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Lucinda Tkach
Windermere Central
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
I am also sorry to hear about your experience! As Carlos mentioned, as long as the questions you ask can be legally answered your agent should help to provide you the information you seek. Also, if you have not signed an exclusive buyer broker agreement you can certainly seek another agent that would better meet your needs. Buying a home should feel like a clear process and your agent should make you feel comfortable with each step and be able to answer your questions and act as a consultant and guide through the process. When looking for a buyer's agent consider interviewing the agent to make sure you have a good fit. Here are some questions to consider:

Do you work full-time or part-time as a REALTOR®?
Full-time typically means the agent has a good grasp of the market conditions and has the time to dedicate to your needs.

How well do you know the area(s) in which I am looking?
An agent who sells often in the areas where you are looking will be able to help advise you on activity, pricing and even things to do (i.e. where are parks and restaurants).

How many years of experience and what type of education do you have?
Obvioulsy, education and experience are a great benefit to you and your buying experience.

Can you give provide me with Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of recent sales in the area?
This is critical when you make an offer on a home as you want to be sure you understand market pricing and that you have been educated on the market. This will educated you on making a fair offer on the property.

Do you have references that I can contact?
Check your real estate agent's references. It can provide you valuable information and help you to make sure you are selecting an agent that you know can help you to reach your goals.

Best wishes in your house hunt!
Christine - ABR (Accredited Buyer's Agent), CNE (Certified Negotiation Expert)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009

I am really sorry to hear about your bad experienced. Your agent should be able to answer your questions and concerns - as long as it does not violates the law or code of ethics.

If you did not sign a buyer-broker agreement you are free to change Realtors at any time. If you did sign it, talk to him/her first about severing the relatioship. If you are not happy with the performance, no agent will tie you to them if you do not desire to keep working with him or her, even if you had a contract.

However, if that specific Realtor showed you a property he/she might have what is called "procuring cause" and should be entitled to compensation shall you decide to buy that specific property - even if you did not have a broker-broker agreement.

Good luck and please let me know if I can be of further help.

ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009

We have something called "procuring cause" for what causes an agent to get paid when a buyer buys a home. Essentially, procuring cause is an uninterrupted sequence of steps that results in the buyer buying the home. That definition doesn't have a time line, but it does have that fun "uninterrupted" bit to hurdle. The time line, in which it needs to be uninterrupted, is from the time you saw a home, until the time you decided to buy the home, not necessarily until the time that you actually wrote a contract or close on the property. Just the time between being completely unaware that the property existed, until you've made a decision to buy the property.

If you've already made the decision which home you are going to buy, your current agent has probably met the definition for procuring cause and as such, has "earned" a commission. If you have not made a decision, and you do indeed fire your current agent, then even though they showed you a house that you later bought, it would appear as though the sequence of events was indeed interrupted, and your current agent would not be entitled to a commission. Obviously, this is a sticky situation, and depending on the scruples of your current agent, the money involved, and how hard they feel they've worked, may result in a huge fight, or it not being an issue at all.

If you signed a Buyer-Broker Employment agreement, you will certainly need to work to be released from that agreement, because it states clearly in the employment agreement that your current agent will get paid if you buy anything during the employment period.

Further, if the agent in question is able to establish procuring cause, that doesn't mean you still cannot get another agent. Agency and compensation are two separate things, such that you can always fire your agent and get a new one. You may need to compensate them, and the new agent will probably want compensation as well, but you can get another agent. It might cost some money from your pocket to pay two agents, where you weren't expecting to need to do that.
Web Reference: http://www.teambelt.com/buy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Did you sign a "Buyer Broker Exclusive Employment Agreement"? That is the standard Arizona document that ties you to one buyers agent for a period of time. In the event you signed one you would want to be released from that agreement first so as to not obligate your self to two agents.

I'm sorry you have had a bad experience! We have many good Realtors in Arizona that will provide you with a high level of service.
Web Reference: http://www.AzReoSales.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hello S,

My question is Did you sign a BBA (Buyer -Broker Exclusive Employment Agreement) it is 2 pages.
If you did, on the front and middle of the page, it will have where she wrote in, how many calendar days.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009

You are free to work with which ever realtor you want, even with a Buyer Broker Exclusive Agency (BBEA).

If you do have signed documentation, then I would notify the broker "not the realtor" that you want sever your obligation (generally, most brokers won't fight with you over this) and do that in writing.

The BBEA obligates you to provide the Realtors broker a commission with a successful close of escrow (you actually purchased the home) if you purchase a property regardless of who does the contract offer.

If you do interview with other Realtors, be sure to disclose that you have been shown property by another realtor and identify which properties they were. If you decide to purchase a property using a different realtor other than the one who initially showed you the property, then the Realtors and their brokers will need to negotiate their commissions.

The commissions can not stand in the way of a completed purchase agreement to prevent the sale.

So again, whom every you choose, inform them of your experience in advance.

Good Luck To You,

Stew Keene
Ph (480) 220-7491
Fax (866) 711-8573
Keller Williams - Scottsdale, AZ
2008-2009 Master of Real Estate award recipient
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
You have the right to end your Realtor relationship with an agent that isn't satisfactory to you. Do it now before you see any other properties! Did you sign any Buyer Agency agreement with this agent? Many states use these, but not everywhere. If you did, read the clause for ending the relationship. Be honest and straight forward with the agent and you should be released of any involvement. After doing that , get your release in writing, before starting with another Realtor. Tell that agent about the homes you saw with the previous Realtor so that agent can disclose if nessessary when they show you homes. Hopefully, the new agent will show you new homes so no controversy comes from any past veiwing of homes with the old agent. Also, when in doubt, have an attorney reveiw things with you. And the Local board of Realtors can answer some of those questions too. I hope I helped you.

Cynthia Cursaro-Weston
ERA TriSun Real Estate
Youngstown, Oh.
330 518-4601
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
Unless you signed a ''Exclusive Buyer's Agent" contract with her, than no you do not need to continue working with her. Within that contract, if you were to have signed it, would be an agreed upon time frame yes, and once that lapses, you would be free to work with whomever you like.

Agents have to present a disclosure notice, which simply states who the agent is working for, but this is NOT a contract.

Get in touch with Stacie Durnford at stacie@durnfordgroup.com. She will be happy to help you out, and save you money as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 28, 2009
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