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In the state of California, can I switch my buyer's agent during the Escrow process?

Asked by , 91367 Fri Apr 24, 2009

We feel pretty strongly that our best interests are not being represented, and it's causing unbelievable headaches and stress for us as first time home buyers. We feel uncomfortable with our agent and have lost all trust in their ability to represent us. We don't have a contract with our agent, but we're in the middle of Escrow, so we're not sure what procedure we need to follow and what our options are.

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In Real Estate the agent actually works for a person with a higher level license, called a broker. The broker is LEGALLY responsible for the performance of their agents. That means that IF the agent DOES do something wrong, the broker may be held legally liable for damages.

I would find out who the agent's broker is and contact them. Explain your concerns. It is in the broker's best interest to help you get through this transaction.

If the agent is a REALTOR, then they are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics. You can read the Code of Ethics at http://www.realtor.org. If you think that they have violated the code, then you can file a grievance with the local board of Realtors. The Association has a hearing process that can result in different levels of punishment for violations.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
I would not recommend it, as you will most likely need to pay the current agents commission as well as any new agent you switched to. If they submitted an offer and showed the property to you, there is a clause called procuring cause. The current agent you are in escrow with has earned her commission based on procuring cause. I would recommend speaking to your current agents broker to try to resolve any issues you may have.

Good luck!

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Broker Associate, Realtor
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 12, 2013
I also agree with Valerie's position. The broker at this point has already earned a commission by virtue of procurring a 'ready, willing and able' buyer and thus, is connected to the transaction. Your best recourse is to approach the office manager for assistance, whom I'm certain will do everything possible to restore the trust and confidence you deserve.

Craig Whitlock
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Brentwood West Office
(310) 488-4399
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
You have a contract with your agent, but if you are uncomfortable with them, ask the office manager to step in and assist with representation. Managers are intent on having happy customers and avoiding problems.


Jodi Summers
The SoCal Investment Real Estate Group
Sotheby’s International Realty
310. 392.1211
If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong. -Charles Kettering
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
Valorie's answer is correct. I'll add: I don't know on what specific issues you feel your interests aren't being represented properly. Certainly, I've seen agents on the other side of a transaction do things, or fail to do things, that made my eyebrows twitch but, with some exceptions, it's not my job to do their job for them. (There are some exceptions rooted in the legal and ethical notions of "agency" and "fiduciary duty" to my client and "good faith" owed to all parties.) However, something that I've seen a number of agents be remiss about is in educating their clients and creating a realistic expectation about how the escrow process works,something I tend to blend into the conversation when we're still out looking at property. That way, when the moment comes to write a contract, they've already had time to digest issues and ask questions and when we do get an accepted offer are much more comfortable about knowing what to expect along the way in the escrow process.

Jim Brunet,
RE/MAX Westside Properties
(310) 508-6878
DRE Lic. # 01051802
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
You can't change agents at this time but you can go over he/she's head . The broker of the company where your agent works is responsible and you can tell him what is going on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 24, 2009
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