As to which agent will get compensated it could be both and you could be liable.
As Scott asked did you have a buyer agent agreement with the first agent? Do you have a buyer agency agreement with the second agent?
If the answer is yes I had one with the 1st agent and they did not break the chain of events then they will be considered the procurring cause and if you made the offer and had a buyer agency agreement with the second agent depending on the language in the agreement you could be liable to pay their fee as well.
If you did not have a buyer agency agreement with the 1st agent and they did not break the chain of events they still could be considered the procurring cause, but they would have to go thru arbitration with the other agent and depending on your contract with your new agent you could still be liable.
If you had or did not have a buyer agency contract with the 1st agent and they broke the chain of events, ie: did not stay in touch with you, did not inform you of a price drop etc, then the second agent would be the procurring cause.
Best to read your contracts with either agent and see what if any your exposure could be, if any, and if your still unsure hopefully your agent can answer it for you.
any many other questions.
let the current agent know the situation.
James spelled out procuring cause very nicely. Its complicated and can be quite grey.....
With that said, I am sometimes in that awkward position both on the selling and buying side.
The best possible scenario, is for the brokers to work it out ahead of time. As a selling agent my job is to sell the home for my seller, so I typically will not prevent a sale over paying a commission. As I buyers agent I usually call the selling agent and work out the details with them so there will be no question after the fact.
What is a Procuring Cause? (From Black's Law Dictionary)
The effort that brings about the desired result or the licensee who clearly originated a chain of events that resulted in a sale or lease within a timely manner. When more than one real estate broker or salesperson from different firms work with the same potential buyer, regarding the same property, the Seller, Landlord and Listing Broker expect to pay a single commission. Regardless of the efforts expended, only one of the brokers or salespersons whose efforts brought about the transaction may claim the commission.
"Procuring Cause. The proximate cause; the cause originating a series of events, which, without break in their continuity, result in the accomplishment of the prime object. The inducing cause; the direct or proximate cause. Substantially synonymous with "efficient cause."
A broker will be regarded as the "procuring cause" of a sale, so as to be entitled to commission, if his or her efforts are the foundation on which the negotiations resulting from the sale are begun. A cause originating a series of events which without break in their continuity result in accomplishment of prime objective of the employment of the procure who is producing a purchaser ready, willing and able to buy real estate on the owner's terms.
Bottom line: If the agents cannot agree on who gets the commission it could lead to Mediation or Arbitration. In the fture you should just stick with one agent, provided you are happy with them of course. For more info check the link below to Mass.gov.
1. Did you have a written contract with the 1st agent, what capacity were they working with you.
2. Do you have anything in writing or had sufficient time elapsed to terminate the relationship with the first agent
3. What if any negotiating, planning etc. were discussed or arraigned between you and the first agent specifically in regards to the property.
4. The same questions would apply for the 2nd agent you've been working with.
This is why it's best to work with a contract with your buyers agent. You know a length of term, conditions, rights and responsibilities laid out and agreed upon.
For a legal opinion you'll need to consul an attorney, real estate professionals are not qualified to give legal advice. You might want to bring this to the attention of the agent you're currently working with also to see how they handle these types of situations. They're not uncommon and do spring up from time to time. Sometimes offering a consolation payment will cover you if and/or when it comes up.
Hope that helps,
One could only guess why you saw the same property twice with two different agents. There is likely a very good reason.
I hope the second agent you choose is a buyer broker :)
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