Home Buying in Bridgeport>Question Details

Lovie54, Home Owner in Chicago, IL

When connecting with a real estate agent, are you supposed to sign a contract BEFORE they will work with you?

Asked by Lovie54, Chicago, IL Sun Sep 16, 2012

I was pre-approved for a mortgage, had sufficient down payment to the point I could have bought the house cash, but was still told I had to sign to get assistance.

I have not purchased a home in 28 years and can't remember if we had to sign anything before the agent would work with us. I am relocating back to 48722 zip to care for mother and was made to sign a 6-month contract in late 2010 before agent would work with me. It still took the agent at least 4 of the 6 months under the contract to begin to show me houses that meet my needs/demands, only after I sent the agent, via email, a list of the houses I found online or driving through the area. Needless to say, I pulled back, did not buy, let the 6-months run out on purpose and am now afraid to reach out again. I now only go to open houses for fear of the same experience again. Ready to buy an RV and live in it, as mom cannot be moved out of area. Thanks for your prompt answers.

Help the community by answering this question:


You don't need to sign a contract with an agent before you work with one. A buyers agent would like to have some type of contract IE an loyalty agreement that states you are only working with one agent. If that relationship does not work out, simply notify that agent a cancel the agreement. Agents can help in a lot of ways. I am sorry you did not have a good experience. Please try to find an agent who really wants to work with you. Define your requirements and identify your expectations in advance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012
Thank you. I do understand the work and burn syndrome as I have been in sales for decades. I will reconsider moving forward with another agent, but at a later date.
Flag Sun Sep 16, 2012
That depends on the area. In some regions, it order for you to be a "client" of the buyer's agent, and truly represented by that agent... the answer is "yes".

In many areas, such as mine in the Chicago area, it's not 'required' to sign an exclusive buyer's agreement, in order to be properly represented. While many agents like to use them, and some insist... there is no legal requirement in the Chicago area.

And agent in the Michigan area, will hopefully check in, and answer the question for you area.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
Some agents will require you to sign a contract with them before they will work with you. The reason for this is that no agent wants to spend hours and hours working with a client, then the client uses another agent to make the offer. No one wants to waste their time and work for free.

I, however, usually send my clients lists of available homes and show them the homes that they want to see. When they start getting serious about buying and we are a good fit, then I require them to sign an Agency Disclosure with me.

I like doing it this way because it keeps the options open for both the buyers and me. If either one of us is uncomfortable with the relationship, we don't have to continue it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012
Thank you for your reply. Your method is what I am used to and your response reassures me I have not mentally lost it. I will continue utilizing online postings and reach out to another agent. Thank you again and I pray your continued success in the field.
Flag Sun Sep 16, 2012
Hi Lovie,

Haig has stated it best. I personally don't start out a relationship requiring a contract. I like to meet with a client show them one or two homes to see if we are a fit. Even if you sign a contract with an agent and they are not doing their job, ask them to release from the contract. If they don't agree talk to their broker or office manager and explain the situation. Most will have the contract voided. A contract has to work both ways.

I wish you the best of luck in your home search.

Good Luck,

Karen Paytas, GRI, CMS
Real Living Kee Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012

Well there really isn't a requirement that requires you to sign a contract BEFORE an agent starts working with you. But a lot of agents will ask you to sign something prior to showing you any properties. Your last experience is NOT a typical experience.

Try and see it from an Agent's perspective; let's say you don't sign any contracts and an agent starts showing you homes. It could be one property it could be a hundred. After showing you many homes you happen to be driving by an open house and you decide to go in and LOVE the home and decide to place an offer. The listing agent is more than happy (usually) to write the offer, especially since you don't have a contract with any agents.

So the agent that was spending all of their time and effort sending you home updates and showing you houses is now left with nothing. I don't know what you do personally, but how many clients could you help without a positive outcome and still earn a living? I am not saying this to be mean, just pointing out the possibility of this scenario.

Does this play out often? Yes it does, I don't know any agents that haven't run around showing a particular client properties, only to get burned at the end because they don't have a contract. It costs the agent money and time that could have been used in helping a "serious" buyer, one who will sign a contract.

I do operate on 'good faith" most of the time and don't force anyone to sign a contract. Have I been burned? Absolutely. I have even been burned by clients that have signed a contract. For whatever reason some clients feel that an agent spending time and money running around showing them properties does NOT justify them earning a commission when they decide to place an offer with someone else.

Feel free to email me and we can start with seting up some property searches that fit your criteria and we can go from there. That part of it won't take to much time I don't mind.

I hope this helps and feel free to email me with any other questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Elias Realty
(248) 379-6547
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 16, 2012
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