Do buyer's agents in NYC use exclusive agency agreements - what is common practice?

Asked by Elena Ravich, Esq., New York City, NY Sun Jun 10, 2012

Do buyer's agents in NYC use exclusive agency agreements or they just do all the work without any guarantee that their clients are not working with other agents as well. At a Rebny seminar lots of brokers mentioned that in NY there is no such a thing as exclusive buyer's agency agreement- what is common practice from your experience?

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Jill Raff, Agent, New York, NY
Tue Jun 12, 2012
We do have buyer's exclusive agreements though they are less commonly used. Ironically, here at Keller Williams NYC, we had a training session about working with buyers and this was covered. There was a broker who only will work with buyers with an exclusive agreement to establish the same reciprocal loyalty for the broker's devoted hard work for their customer. NAR (Nat'l Assoc. of Relators) does require a written agreement but with so many splintered groups, not everyone belongs or abides by their guidelines.

I agree that the relationship will be loyal if you serve them well and show your value, so there will be no need to look elsewhere. It isn't about a signed piece of paper which they can back out of, by the way, any time they want if the broker isn't looking after their best interest.

Best of luck,
1 vote
Mitchell Hall, Agent, New York, NY
Mon Jun 11, 2012
Now that we have the mandatory agency disclosure form exclusive agency agreement is probably the next step and in my opinion the time to get a buyer to sign an exclusive agreement is when buyer agency is explained and when they sign that disclosure form.

While REBNY may not have an official exclusive agency agreement and most Manhattan brokers don't use one some NYC agents use an exclusive buyer agreement.

MANAR the Manhattan Association of REALTORS has one. I used it once when I was at CBHK because a buyer from CT asked for it.

Having said that, I don't think a contract creates loyalty nor can loyalty be forced on a buyer particularly skeptical New Yorkers. In fact a buyer I've been working with called me after she called an agent from another major REBNY firm that asked her to sign an exclusive buyer agreement. She thought it was presumptuos of the agent to ask her to sign an exclusive buyer's agreement up front.
1 vote
Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Sun Jun 10, 2012
You are absolutely right. Sadly, we do not have buyer's agency agreements in NYC. We are way behind the times on that and on other things, such as not having a true MLS. Yes, it is purely a trust issue that your buyer is loyal to you. I fired a very high profile celebrity client (actress) who could not grasp the concept of not having multiple agents duplicating the same effort when she can obviously only purchase from one. Our time is way too valuable for that. In my experience prequalify the absolute best you can, don't bother with those buyers who won't commit, and be so terrific they won't want to work with anyone else.

Jenet Levy
Halstead Property, LLC
212 381-4268
1 vote
Elena Ravich,…, Agent, New York City, NY
Mon Jun 11, 2012
Thank you very much for your great comments! I think I understant now - it is not prohibited to have the agreement and everyone can develop and use it, although it has not been common practice in NYC and there is no standard REBNY form for everybody to use. I agree that most of the time good relations and loyalty mean more than a written agreement - will think more which way to go:)
0 votes
Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Mon Jun 11, 2012
Hi Elena,
in my opinion and experience, although buyer representation is not common in NYC, and the vast majority of agents also do not operate that way either in Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau counties, it doesn't mean you can't start. When I started representing buyers nine years ago, I was up against all kinds of hurdles mostly from other agents who could not understand the concept.

It's not just a matter of having a buyer sign an agreement, the benefits of your representation needs to be clearly explained during a face to face consultation which for me can last anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours. You absolutely can develop that loyalty and trust if done right. Once an agreement has been signed, I do not have the common problem of losing buyers to other agents and feeling frustrated that I wasted my time. I call it a marriage for the period of time we are working together and it really has been a wonderful experience for me often extending beyond the real estate transaction. It's a learning process for many agents and a different skill set that takes a little while to perfect. I had one agent from NJ, attempt to shoot me down recently, because he said there was no difference in service, but I don't care what anybody online thinks, I know who I am, what I am capable of and what I am accomplishing. Elena you can do it to too, be one of the first to make baby changes in NYC. Mostly you will distinguish yourself from your fellow agents, it's totally rewarding and will pay off in the end if you are consistent. Look at it this way, you wouldn't take an open listing with a seller, so why with a buyer. All the best.
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