Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

mia, Home Seller in Los Angeles, CA

Should I plan to pay an agent for showing me a few places if I don't end up with finding one? (I didn't lie or misrepresent my

Asked by mia, Los Angeles, CA Sun Mar 9, 2014

credit-nothing to create bad rapport.)

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Mia,

You're on the right path, by planning and asking. We work as a team with our buyers. I provide many years of experience and time. The buyer is loyal to us, by not working with otherl agents.
To answer you're question, most of us do not get paid by the buyer. Instead, the seller pays us when the transaction is over. We work for you. We work on finding you the right home. If the right home is not available, that's ok. We can continue the search for weeks or even months.

I have buyers that, together, we're able to find the right home in days. Others in weeks, and a few that find the perfect home in 1 year.

If you wish to stop looking for homes, no payment is expected. You could give your agent a thank you gift, such as a restaurant voucher, or the like. It is not necessary, but it's a nice thing to do for all the time spent working for you.

Of course, if you and the agent did not get along, or the agent was terrible at their home search, just let them know your position and go on your separate ways. Do your research, and you'll find the right agent.

Douglas Lagos
(310) 463-8088. 310-463-8088
CalBRe# 01921046
Web Reference: http://Douglaslagos.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
No, not unless you agreed to such an arrangement up front in writing which would be very unusual.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
No, but it's nice of you to be concerned.

When you want to buy a home the best place to start is to hire an EXCLUSIVE Buyer Agent, not just a Buyer's Agent. EBAs only work with homebuyers and there is never a conflict of interest that will jeopardize your negotiating position. I can refer you to an EBA in your area, if you like.

I've written a best selling book called Buying a Home: Don't Let Them Make a Monkey Out of You. It'll teach you how to buy a home and get a mortgage without getting ripped off. Follow the link below.

Best of luck!

Alysse Musgrave
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
The agent gets compensated after they find you a property that you like. We submit an offer on your behalf, negotiate with the seller and see if all parties can agree on price and terms. Next we open escrow and start the 17 day contingency period and on the 18th day remove all contingencies after we approve all the inspections and sellers disclosures. Lastly, we help the bank with all the necessary documents needed from the buyer in order to meet the closing deadline. If we do all of the above successfully we get paid.

Best Wishes,

David R. Indermill

Re/Max Hall Of Fame, CDPE | Since 1998 | Luxury Real Estate Advisor
International Referrals | Bank Owned Assets | Off Market Properties
Large Cash Investor Fast Close Network | B.R.E License # 01232827


Cell: 858-414-LIST (5478) Texting OK
Fax: 858-430-5544
Email: david@sandiegohomestore.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 20, 2014
We get paid when you purchase. Best thing is, that when you do decide to purchase, consider that agent in the future (assuming they aren't the reason you didn't purchase).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 19, 2014
Did you sign an Exlusive Buyers Agreement? If so you may have an issue. If not you're not obliged to the agent unless you purchase a home he showed you from another agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 12, 2014
Agree with many of the answers. A buyer's agent works for the buyer, and isn't paid until they help the buyer find a suitable home. My advice would be to talk to a couple of agents to get a feel for who you like, so you pick one who really wants to work for you. There are many sites out there to help you find great agents, including ours.

Hope this helps, and good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 11, 2014
Definitely not. You should speak to a lender first and get pre approved before you look at homes. You wouldn't want to waste your time either, and you should know how much of a loan you can get before you start looking. I've worked with clients that looked at numerous homes before they found something they really liked.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Absolutely Not! That would be highly unethical of the Agent for a lot of reasons.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
I personally am offended by the idea of agents charging to show properties. Does an auto dealer charge for showing cars? Realtors® work very hard for their paychecks. I have never charged a buyer for showing properties. However, buyers should recognize that we work very hard and don't receive a paycheck until the escrow closes, so it is important for a buyer to find an agent that works well with them and stick with them. Loyalty is still a trait that is important.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Not typically, ask the agent and they will let you know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Hi Mia,

Just a few thoughts...Generally speaking, in the sale of a property the Seller brings the property to the table...the Buyer brings the money to the table. After negotiations and an agreed upon price a written Contract to Purchase is signed buy Buyer & Seller. At the time of the closing and recording of the deed, all agents involved in the sale receive their commissions based on the Listing Contract (or other negotiated terms that may be in the Contract to Purchase). Subsequently, no sale ...no commission.
However, there are exceptions to the rule. If you were to have a Buyers Representation Agreement (AAP-11) with the Agent that had been showing you the properties (agent #1) and placed an offer that was accepted and closed with another Real Estate Agent (agent #2) during the term of your agreement with Agent #1, you may be liable for compensating Agent #1 as per the terms of the existing contract. If you do have a Buyers Representation Agreement with Agent #1 and wish to change Agents, they may have the ability to release you from the contract. This documentation would need to be in writing and approved by the Broker that the Agent is affiliated with.
There are also other types of Buyer Representation in the state of California. I would suggest if you have further concerns to view California Association Or Realtors website at http://www.car.org Hope this helps.


Lori Walker, Realtor
Kinlin Grover Real Estate-Real Living
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
No. You do not have to pay your agent anything until you actually close on a house. Just send me an email if you have any further questions.

Alex Greer
Loan Officer
NMLS #1056079

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2014
Hello Mia,

First and foremost, thank you for posting a question here at trulia. I appreciate it. No, you should not pay an agent to show you properties. When a buyer enters a transaction, the seller pays the buyer's agent. If I can be of further assistance, I am here to help you.


Melchor Perez
BRE# 01842907
Star Real Estate South County
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
No you should not pay. Teaming up with an agent is a partnership. Both you and the agent should start with an "interview" of each other. For you, you want to see if you see things eye to eye, express your wants and needs and find out if this agent is experienced in finding for you want you desire. For the agent, they want to check and see what they are getting themselves into with the prospective buyer... meaning how prepared and qualified you are as a buyer. Are you a 1st time buyer that needs a step by step process or an experienced buyer. Are you qualified for a loan and have an adequate down payment... If you are not, most agents have a lender that they work with and can direct you to that person to answer your questions, let you know what the costs are, etc. Keep in mind, every relationship and agreement between a broker and their client is different, but a general rule of thumb would suggest you not pay for a service that has not delivered its promise to you. If I could be of service to assist you in finding a property, I would be pleased. Otherwise, good luck on your home search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
As pointed out below, agents/brokers work with buyers where they get paid upon close of purchase, and that commission is paid by the seller.

If you don't buy and think they are good at what they do you can reward them for their efforts by recommending them to your friends, family, and business associates.

Best Regards,

Lance R. King – Broker/CEO
King Realty Group

BRE # 01384425
415.722.5549 - Cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
You are not responsible for paying a buyer's agent if you do not find a home in most cases. There are a few agents that have buyer's sign a buyer/ broker agreement where they want you to pay a fee to them even if you do not find a house.
I would talk to a lender about qualifying before you start looking though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
Hi Mia,
The way it works with "Buyer Agency" is that we provide our services to you and are paid when you purchase a property at the end of escrow. The most a "Buyer Agent" will ask you for is a loyalty agreement.
You can "opt" to pay commission to your Realtor though, by way of an exclusive contract with them. This doesn't usually happen unless the seller in a For Sale by owner situation refuses to pay commission.
Hopefully you do find a good property, but it takes determination and persistence and a very strong Realtor to get a home in this type of market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
No payment from buyer simply for a search and/or showings. If buyer does inevitably find a place and escrow closes, then the seller's brokerage co. pays portion of their commission to buyer's brokerage co. Buyer does not typically pay commission to anyone.

Trey Hohman | Realtor® | Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CA Properties | Los Feliz Branch
CAL Bre # 01443279 (personal) / #01317331 (office)
Cell: 310.497.3654
Email: treycahomes@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
Hi Mia,

Please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance with a pre-approval before you start your house hunting. Most agents like to know if you have that before they start showing you houses. Plus, we can process your file with a TBA status, and once you find the right home, we can close in about 10 days!
I wish you the best in finding the right home!

Ryan Middlekauff

Loan Officer
450 N. Brand Blvd suite 150
Glendale, CA 91203
NMLS 1100772
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
No, in most cases the seller is the one who pays the commission.
Tammy Hayes, Realtor
Re/Max Palm Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
No, you should have no obligation to pay an agent for doing their job. However if you're still looking to buy then it would be appropriate assuming you had no problem with the Realtor you went out with to continue to use them to help you find a suitable home. I've attached a link below on what Buyers should be looking for when selecting a Realtor to work with. I hope it helps.

Good Luck and Happy House Hunting.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
Hello Mia,

When working with a potential homebuyer like yourself, we don't get paid until the close of escrow. So there's no obligation to pay an agent for showing you houses. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Anthony Aldridge
Keller Williams Realty
(310) 294-4738
CA BRE #01946998
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2014
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