Home Buying in 90010>Question Details

Phil, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

My realtor quit during negotiations (i'm the buyer). Needless to say, we just didn't see eye to eye. What happens if I continue without?

Asked by Phil, Los Angeles, CA Thu Dec 2, 2010

her? Our contract expired a while ago.

Help the community by answering this question:


That agent hasn’t earned a commission, that’s just my opinion! In my eyes, you earn a commission when you close escrow.

There is no transaction or contract in your specific situation. The buyer agent you were working with was not the “procuring cause” since you were the one to find the property not him/her, and that is why you hired him/her in the first place, right! Plus, your contract expired. Of course, I don't know the specifics of your contact and this is not legal adivise.

Now, if after your agent has done his/her job, you can’t cancelled because then you will owe him/her a commission. But in your situation, your agent has NOT done his/her job—he quit before negotiations even started! So you are free to hire another Realtor.

There are plenty of good agents out there you just got the “bad apple.” Next time you hire a agent/realtor, interview them, ask for references, and check his DRE record, it’s so easy to do that now-a-days.

Good luck!

Aida Pinto
Real Estate Broker
Realtor since 1987
(562) 916-3237


Active Rain Profile: http://activerain.com/blogs/aidapinto
Blogger.com Short Sale Diva' s Blog: http://shortsaledivasblog.blogspot.com/
Face Book Short Sale Diva Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Downey-CA/Short-Sale-Diva/3623… © 2010

Disclaimer: This is not legal advise and this is solely for informational purposes, please consult with an attorney for legal matters. I am California Licensed Real Estate Broker, and have been in business for over 20 years in the Los Angeles County area. Please feel free to call me at 562-916-3237 should you have any further questions. © 2010
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Your first priority is to get the property. Your agent works for you and should do what you request. Any failure is dereliction of their duties (effectively eliminating their rights to claim agency/commissions.) "Buyer agent agreements" are generally considered unenforceable, and even if pursued, the most you should ever owe is a one-side commission. Contact the broker and get their best agent (or themselves) to complete the purchase with you (if you like them), otherwise--move on and let the chips fall.

You can absolutely represent yourself, however witihout prior experience in purchases or a legal background, things can get complicated--and our jobs are to assist and explain. Let us do our job. Sorry it sounds like you got a bad apple the first time out.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Hi Phil;
I see this a little differently. Most of the agents below spoke about commissions to the broker, as if that was the most relevant part of the problem. It isn't.
First of all, let me say that the most important part of representation lies beyond finding the home, and beyond the negotiation, in helping you close the sale. The agent works for you in navigating the escrow and all mandatory disclosures, explaining the preliminary title report and covenants, conditions and restrictions on the property, obtaining a fair appraisal, making sure your loan goes through, obtaining excellent inspections and negotiating fair and complete solutions to conflicts that arise. Without a strong advocate working for you, what you (possibly) save in commission you risk losing in time, cash credits, etc.
I think it's tragic when a real estate agent gives the industry a black eye. I am passionate about having Realtors adhere to a high work ethic, and place their fiduciary duty to the client above all else. I am a member of several organizations dedicated to just that.
While I don't work in your area, I know of several top notch agents who would protect your interests in this transaction. I have said this before: "I highly recommend you interview three, and hire one."
Best of luck,
Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker
REALTOR, 00588885, ABR, CDPE, eAgent, CSP, SFR, HRC, CRE
(O) 310-571-1364 DIRECT
(D) 818.564.6591
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
I am assuming from your question that you had a Buyers agreement with an agent that has since expired. You further clarified that this agent DID NOT find the house that you are trying to buy--you found it and I'm assumed told the agent you were interested. Then this agent quit during the negotiations. I would first put this in writing to the Agent' Broker--from what you said you have no legal obligation this agent and therefore there should be nothing preventing you from hiring a PROFESSIONAL agent who won't quit during the negotiations. Be sure to interview before hiring one to ensure they are a "fit" with what you what you want/need.

Best Of Luck,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
"Thanks everyone. Let me be more specific. I was the one that found the property and the negotiations have not gone through yet. Also, our contract expired before I found the property. Does this matter in regards to hiring a new realtor?"

Based on your follow up- you should be free and clear. You might want to pose this question to your local Association of Realtors, or when you find a new Realtor you are happy with you can run it past them and see what they think. They are going to want to make sure both you and they are in the clear before you guys sign anything.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Dear Phil,

Sorry to hear this, however, there is nothing keeping you from working with a professional buyer agent, and I recommend you interview for another one in your area as soon as possible.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
I am so sorry Phil. I didn't see were the contract had expired. You are free to find another local Realtor. I am sure that this next Realtor will take care of you. Interview a few to be sure they will match your personality. Nothing is worse then working with someone you aren't happy with. It makes for a very bad experience for everyone involved.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
unless you signed a buyer broker agreement, you are as free as a bird.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Hello Phil,
Unless you signed a buyer broker agreement, you are free to work with anyone. It will probably upset the agent, but if you are not seeing things equally, it is your right to go elsewhere. If you did sign an agreement, and you do not wish to work with him any longer, just express yourself and state you wish to cancel the agreement. Most people do not want to be in a relationship that is not working, so they will probably be cooperative. The only thing with this is.... if you want to go back to a property that this agent introduced you to in the first place and you end up buying that home through someone else, you may owe the other agent their commission, as they were the original procurring source. Best thing to do is tell the agent how you feel and that you no longer wish to work with them and simply communicate. Good luck.
Always happy to assist.
Richard "RJ" Kas (SFR, SRES)
"Representing the finest properties from Los Angeles worldwide"
KAS Properties - Coldwell Banker Previews International - Beverly Hills East
9388 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.859-5334 office - 310.488.9826 mobile - 310-273-0670 fax ATT: RJ
RichardKas@gmail.com - http://www.RJforLA.com - DRE: 01352771
Sellers Buyers Investors Leasing Consulting
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Based on what you've shared, I think you are free and clear to work with another agent. When you say "our contract", I'm assuming you mean the agreement you had to work exclusively with the buyer's agent that "quit". If there is any doubt, talk to her broker/manager and confirm your converstations in writing, ie ask for an email from your agent and the broker/manager confirming that they have released you, unconditionally, if there is any question about the term of the agreement.

We are all hinting at the notion of procuring cause which is often what commission claims tie to. And then there is the matter of whether you signed an exclusive buyer agency agreement . The third consideration would be if this agent actually wrote up the contract and it was accepted/signed by all. Those are the questions to be answered.

Find yourself a really good agent - the process is an emotional one - you need an agent that can roll with it.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Hi Phil,

That does make a difference - if you found the property yourself, the other agent may not be the procuring cause of you finding the property, which it what entitles them to the commission. If you were working with a buyer broker agreement which expired, and then you found the property yourself after that, then you would probably be OK to have another agent represent you at this point. I would still speak to the broker, as Horna mentioned below, as your original agent may still be entitled to the commission if they already wrote an offer for the property and it was accepted. It is in your best interest to discuss it up front with the broker and come to an agreement, so the original agent doesn't try to come after you later for the commission and you end up having to pay it yourself. One suggestion is to see if the broker will agree to accept a referral fee out of the commission (customarily 25%$ or so), which would be paid by the new agent, who will earn the balance of the commission. Hope this helps..

John Barry
DRE #01856079
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Cell: 323-810-7976
Email: john.barry@coldwellbanker.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RealtorJB
Twitter: @RealtorJB
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Thanks everyone. Let me be more specific. I was the one that found the property and the negotiations have not gone through yet. Also, our contract expired before I found the property. Does this matter in regards to hiring a new realtor?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
"... negotiations have not gone through yet. --- Are you still in contract? If you are, you may want to check with the broker of your realtor to see if he can assign someone else to work with you to complete this transaction. Although your realtor has quit, your agreement is still with that agency.

",,, our contract expired before I found the property" --- if you're referring to buyer agency, review that contract to determine what are the obligations if any, once you enter into a purchase contract that while you were in that contract time period. The reason being, if that realtor wrote up the contract for you and it was accepted, he can claim to be the procuring cause. Whether you can continue using him or not, he may claim the commission on that particular sale.

If the broker assigns someone else to help you, that may be the better scenario at this time.

It would most definitely help to put a cancellation in writing --- and make sure that realtor's broker receives it.

But as far as who gets the commission --- that may be something you can negotiate with the broker if another agency picks up where the old one left off.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
How completely unprofessional. Since your contract expired, you are under no obligation to her. I would contract her broker and notify him of her unprofessionalizm. The broker will transfer you to another agent and you can keep on your negotiations. Best of Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010

This is a great question. I would recommend talking with the manager of your former Realtor's office. Set the ground rules that it did not work out and that you want to re-engage to the seller and are moving on without them. At that point you can either higher a new Realtor or do it yourself. Best
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
Dee Eaton's answer sums it all up. Get it in writing. Though the contract may have expires she may still be entitiled to a commission as "procurring cause" I don't hve enough information to go on.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
Probably nothing will happen if you continue with her.

I am assuming that you refer to 'procurring cause" and entitlement of commission. Lots of buyers, sellers and agents have a fall-out at somepoint. Many times- the fall-out is an intentional sabotage in order to circumvent and save a few bucks- a common Russian Negotiating Technique!

Often, there is a personality conflict and those that were close friends, buyer-agent, etc. The relationship ens or is severed and unhappiness follows.

Sunny Isles Beach Real Estate and Information
in Bal Harbour and Miami Beach, Florida
Web Reference: http://www.sibre.info
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
Hi Phil...sorry to hear that. Not understanding the entire picture...I won't comment on professionalism or ethics.

Written word is king! If you were in a Buyer's Broker Agreement with that agent then make sure his or her "quitting" is also in writing. Not sure how your state handles "procurring cause" but that will also factor into it. Have you spoken with that agents Qualifying Broker or an Attorney? They can speak directly as to any obligation factors.

Now that being said...my advise is to seek another realtor's help. Unless you have personal experience or the background in liabilities, risks and mind fields that are inherent with real estate transactions, I would definitely look for professional help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 6, 2010
I wonder why your realtor quit? I have seen plenty of deals die in negotiations. One of my first lessons when I entered the trade was "offers are a dime a dozen". The buyers who are successful enter the arena with knowledge and a reasonable attitude. Negotiations are a win-win deal. The problems occur when one side backs into a corner and stonewalls. Sometimes a buyer with a valid pre approval will totally over estimate their buying power and walk at the moment they realize it (before) they sign the contract. Is it the agents fault after hours of showing homes followed by home inspections and radon tests and who knows what that a buyer backs out? How about a buyer when they have a deal ask for (another ) 10,000 dollars off. I will usually ask a buyer to explain it. There are 2 sides to every story. Maybe the agent had to cut their losses. I wonder what role the media plays in how people think, I have seen too many buyers who lead their way into a transaction letting the broker know they are in charge. A good question is do they understand whats going on? Arrogance in most cases is a sign of weakness not power. Buyers beware. Have a home inspected and have a team of trusted advisors (realtor, attorney, home inspector ,people with experience). Most important listen to your gut there will always be buyers remorse but that is human nature, in the end its a warm and fuzzy in your belly not a sales pitch.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 5, 2010
Make sure the separation is in writing and get another broker to represent your best interests. I won't go into the obligation points.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
If I understand the question you're saying that you were in a purchase contract and the realtor who was handling that discontinued rendering service? Or, are you referring to a buyer/broker agreement where you retained the services, by contract, of a realtor and that expired and the agent chose not to continue to provide service to you? In either case, all contracts have expirations, and as such, you are probably no longer bound to that agent by default. However, many contracts also have carry-over provisions, and some of these specifically address such cases where an agent was the "procuring cause" and this would offer some form of "protection" for any dealings where that agent was involved with you. I would recommend that before convoluting whatever agreement you have or had with the other agent and entangling another agent with the same sort of problem, you may want to review your agreement/contract, reading the fine print, and if you're still in doubt about the covenants, that you seek the assistance of an attorney (or have the other realtor see if they can figure it out). You didn't give a clear enough picture to speculate, but this is a stab at what you may be facing. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Your Realtors Broker should take over from the place your Realtor left off. I am sure that if the Broker released you that you could find a number of Realtors in your area will be more then happy to take over. God Bless and have a great day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
With your follow up remarks to your question it's hard for me to tell if you still had this other agent write a contract on your behalf with this property that you found and now you want to quit with her? That could pose a potential problem for you in the matter of procuring cause.

Then again if the other agent "quit" and is willing to put in writing that she releases you of any obligation to pay him/her a commission, then you'd be 'off the hook'.

You found the property on your own & are in "negotiations" with the owner. Is this a For Sale By Owner or is it a listed property? If it's a listed property you may be considered, represented by the listing agent & the listing agent may have the procuring cause.

I hate dishing out the what if's of it all. You gave me BEST ANSWER on one of your previous questions, Thank you for that. Feel Free to contact me directly, so I can know the full details of your current situation, I know I can offer you a better opinion knowing all the details.

562-430-3053 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
It depends what your buyer broker contract stated. If it has expired teh only thing you need to watch out for is a clause that entitles her to a commission if you buy a home she introduced to you within a specific period of time. Check your contract, it will tell you. Good luck with your offer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Hi Phil,
I'm so sorry to hear you and your agent bumped heads during your transaction.
You have a few options: Hire a different realtor and have the realtor contact your old agent to work something out so that you can move forward- or have the broker assign a new agent in that office and work it out for you. :)
Hopefully, too much time hasn't been lost and you can still get the property you want.
I wish you the best!Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
Kenya Costa ABR,SFR
Keller Williams Realty Los Feliz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
I second the advise to speak frankly with the broker and let them know that the agent quit on you. Proper representation in a Real Estate transaction is extremely important. There are a lot of steps, including contingencies that must be properly outlined and handled during your purchase cycle. Please find another agent to work with and there may very well be a qualified agent in the same office which will make things much easier for you. You want to buy a home, not create a legal mess for yourself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Hi Phil,

As John explained below if the agent wrote the offer and got the acceptance from both parties he/she is most likely earned the commission,

The safest way is to talk to the broker of the agent and ask them for a new agent to help you with the purchase.


Homa Moaddel
Broker Associate
C-21 Beachside
Web Reference: http://www.homaochomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Hi Phil,

I would speak to the agents broker/manager and explain the situation - possibly they can have another agent assist you and they can work out the individual agents' compensation internally. You are being represented by the broker, and you should have the representation you deserve. If you just got another agent for the same transaction without speaking to the broker, your new agent would likely not earn any commission, as your original agent was likely the "procuring cause" of you finding the home - in that case your original agent would be entitled to the commission. Definitely speak to the broker & see what they have to say. Good luck!

John Barry
DRE #01856079
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Cell: 323-810-7976
Email: john.barry@coldwellbanker.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RealtorJB
Twitter: @RealtorJB
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Since your agreement expired you can go with a realtor of the same or any other campany that you want. I would advise that you go with a realtor. This time choose one that you like. Maneuvering some of the language by yourself when you may not have the background for it is sometimes overwhelming. You are placing some undue stress on your backs that you may not need.Just choose another realtor, it will be simpler and buyer's agents are generally FREE to you as they are paid by the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Your Realtor has a Broker call them and ask them for representation. Representation is important and is for your protection.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
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