Home Buying in Milwaukee>Question Details

Jessica, Home Buyer in Appleton, WI

I contacted the agency for a house I was interested in and they assigned me a realtor who is friends with the seller...is this a conflict of interest?

Asked by Jessica, Appleton, WI Wed Jan 18, 2012

I contacted the listing agent directly for a property I was interested in and he assigned me to one of his partners to show me the home. This realtor showing us the house says she is friends with the seller and has been over to socialize and kids are good friends with the seller's kids. I feel like she won't be working in our best interest because of this. In addition, the seller's realtor and our realtor work for the same agency further making me concerned they won't be sharing information that would take advantage of a bigger offer and hence commission for both (although I know ethically they should not). We would like to put an offer in on the house...but are concerned she won't be giving us unbiased advice or work in our best interest. What are our options once a realtor has shown us the house--can we get a different realtor to work on our behalf? Or should we just discuss the concerns with the realtor or agency?

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she was upfront with you, you need to be upfront with her.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012

Your concerns are real.......consider presenting your concerns to the agent/broker. If their prorities are right, they should be able to somehow assure you that your interests will be protected and you will be treated fairly.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
Procuring cause is mentioned below and needs further explanation. Since you are ready to make an offer and you saw the home with an agent, that agent can make a claim of procuring cause against the commission. In fact, he might get the commission and then any other agent would have to try to get it back. Not likely. Therefore, any agent you hire at this point may not get paid by the listing broker and you may be responsible for paying the agent you hire.
Or, you can have an attorney to represent your interests without any commission implications.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
it's not a conflict because she represents the owner not you. Get a buyer's agent, they represent you and there is no cost to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
I would definitely get your own agent who is acting on your behalf. Very strange for the listing agent to set you up with a different agent. You need to get a Buyer's Agency Agreement which means that the agent is working in your best interests not that of the seller.
Web Reference: http://kraushouses.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
Jessica -

As Troy mentioned in his response, I encourage all buyers to work with their own agent under a Buyer Agency agreement. This contractually obligates the agent to work on your behalf and to look out for your best interests. From that point on, even if you were working under a buyer contract with this agent, then it would come down to the integrity and ethics of the agent to abide by the rules governing this contractual relationship. If you still feel uncomfortable with the two agents being friends, you can always request another agent to represent you. In addition, there may be procuring cause issues that the agents may have to work out. At the end of the day, all REALTORS work under a code of ethics to provide you service, but at the same time, you are also entitled to have someone you trust working on your behalf.

Hope that helps a little,

Alan Frankeberger
Keller Williams Realty - Elm Grove
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
Hi Jessica,

If the broker assigned a designated agency for you, that agent will owe you the fiduciary duties, not to the seller.
And in case you still feel uncomfortable with this, you can find another agent who is not working for the same company. That is your right and privilege. However, make sure that you have not signed representation agreement or any document equivalent to "notice to unrepresented buyer" form here in Connecticut to avoid procuring cause dispute.

You should also talk to the agent who is working for you first to express you concern and to hopefully ease it.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
I would discuss the options with the Realtor-express your concern. Agents face this scenerio more than you may think listing and selling homes of both friends and family. If an agent were to do something considered unethical the ramifications would be great. We do a really good job in policing ourselves-but this is a customer / client based business and we all want the customer to be comfortable and confident in the transaction-possibly the biggest decision of a lifetime.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012

If you sign a buyer agreement with the agent they are contractually obligated to represent you and your best interests, not the sellers.

If you feel uncomfortable with the relationship between that agent and the sellers you can sign a buyer agency agreement with any agent. If you've already seen the home with that agent there may be procuring cause issues but that will be for the agents to work out and not your concern.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me anytime.

Troy Miller, ABR, RNG
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 18, 2012
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