Are we verbally/legally committed to our friend realtor? We found a for sale by owner and have done the foot

Asked by Stinky11, 52748 Wed Jul 1, 2009

work ourselves? Are we obligated verbally to this realtor?

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David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Wed Jul 1, 2009
You use the word friend, when I work with my friends I make sure they get paid.
2 votes
Lucky Lang, Agent, Davenport, IA
Wed Jul 1, 2009
The short answer to your question is:
You are not legally obligated to your friend who is a REALTOR®. You may, however, owe a commission to the Real Estate Company that your friend/REALTOR® works for. Did you sign an Exclusive Buyer's Agreement with your friend/REALTOR®? It would spell out your financial obligations.
The question you should be asking is:
What value does using a REALTOR® bring to the purchase of the most expensive investment of your life? If you cannot answer this question, then you should talk to your friend/REALTOR® to enlighten you! :)
Good luck on your purchase!
2 votes
Bridget Cella…, , Turnersville, NJ
Wed Jul 1, 2009
I agree with Lucky's questions for you.

Did your agent friend show you the property?
Does your agent friend expect commission?
Is the seller or you willing to pay your agent friend a commission?
Did you have a buyers agency agreement signed?

If you did not have a Buyers Agency agreement signed than no you are not obligated, but if you are asking this question than I would say that you feel that maybe you might owe them something!

Good Luck!
1 vote
Yo Phelps, Agent, Davenport, IA
Tue Jul 10, 2012
Yes, I am. However, if someone else can learn from this that might be having the same issue then isn't that the point of the question and answer? Thank you for the concern though.
0 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Tue Jul 10, 2012
are you aware this is a 3 year old question?
0 votes
Yo Phelps, Agent, Davenport, IA
Tue Jul 10, 2012
If you did not sign an exclusive buyer agreement, and they did not find the property or talked to the fsbo owner, then the answer is no. However, when you start putting everything together to close the deal you may find you have no idea what you've gotten yourself into. As a realtor we do so much more than just show you houses and make offers. Good Luck, I hope this "friend" will still be there for you when you need them to get you out of trouble.
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Fri Jun 24, 2011
Hi Stinky,

When you approach a Realtor and ask them to "find something for you" you have entered into a contract for their services. If it actually leads to a written contract or no, and weather or not it's ethical to buy from another person...that's another question. The right thing to do would be to bring this agent in as your "buyer agent" since they spent time with you.
0 votes
Nancy McClary, Agent, Punta Gorda, FL
Thu Jul 2, 2009
Assuming you have signed nothing that binds you contractually with that REALTOR and that the REALTOR had nothing to do with your finding the FSBO - you should not be legally committed to anyone. Be aware that once you start down the FSBO path on your own, your friendly REALTOR may not be willing to provide any input on that transaction. If the REALTOR is a friend, and you haven't contacted the FSBO directly, I would suggest you include your friend in the deal and ask him/her to go to the FSBO and secure a listing agreement for you alone. This way, you will have a professional there to help when/if negotiations with the FSBO become awkward. Also, are you aware that, statistically, you generally will pay more by dealing directly with the FSBO than with a REALTOR, who probably knows the market conditions better than you do? Lots to consider and basically the success of the transaction depends on your sophistication with real estate transactions.
0 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Wed Jul 1, 2009
PS my response was based on assuming you do NOT have a written exclusive buyer's agency agreement which states how much your friend might be also assumes your friend had nothigt o do with you finding or viewing the home.
0 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Wed Jul 1, 2009
Well Stinky, your friend might wind up thnking what you did was kind of "stinky" (sorry, I just couldn't resist). Seriously, you are under no obligation to work with your friend on a for sale by owner (fsbo).

Now, the fsbo might not want any involvement from an agent, so it might not even be an option for your friend to be involved. You might want to find that out, and then make your decision on how to proceed.

If you have some guilt about this (if your frieind has spent a lot of time working with you already), you can always ask your friend to help handle this for you, for a smaller commission, which can be factored into your offer. You won't be sorry that you had the guidance. And, as the process continues, I am sure you will be happy for the support and professional help.

If you really want to do it on your own, I am sure your friend will understand. If you were my friend, and you told me you found a fsbo, I'd give you a big smile ( while crying hysterically on the inside!) and wish you all the best !!!
And.... truthfully..... I'd mean it (once I got over the shock of the news). Life would go on, and I'd still be your friend.

The only thing I wouldn't forgive in a friend, is if they went and bought a house, out of the blue, from a different Realtor.

Good luck Stinky - hope all works out well for everyone involved.

Prudential NJ Properties
0 votes
Michelle Ben…, Agent, Cedar Rapids, IA
Wed Jul 1, 2009
Most likely the answer would be legally no. However, a real estate transaction is much more than finding the property. There are a number of steps after finding the property, (writing an offer, handling title work, coordinating lending requirements, etc.) that will have to be handled and an experienced agent's knowledge can be absolutely invaluable during this process. I typically spend far more time helping my clients AFTER the purchase agreement is written than I do in just searching for property.

Further, this is the living your friend makes and I would guess has probably given you advice on in the past, showed you other homes, etc. even if it weren't regarding this particular property. I sense your question may also be about friendship and not just a legal obligation.

Real estate is a tough living sometimes. It may be worth using this friend of your as an agent, not only for his or her insight into the rest of this sometimes complicated transaction, but to avoid ruining a good friendship. As an agent, though we try very hard to distance ourselves and treat this totally as a business, it does hurt when a friend or relative chooses to go it alone or use another realtor. It can be very difficult to find qualified buyers and sellers, if you can't rely on your friends to patronize your business, who can you rely on? I would guess that if you were an accountant or an insurance agent, this friend of yours would make every effort to use your services as well.

Good luck and I hope this is a great home and smooth sale process for you!
0 votes
Eileen Lobel, , Vineland, NJ
Wed Jul 1, 2009
Hi. The home buyer doesn't pay the commission the seller does and its negotiable if they list there home for sale with a real estate company. There are many good reasons to work with a realtor but if this is a for sale by owner you or the seller are not under any obligation to the realtor at this point. However, that being said, I am helping a buyer & the seller for a smaller % to the seller and acting as a dual agent. In this instance I pre-qualified the buyers, handled the contracts and everything else involving the transaction. These were not friends of mine but seperately a buyer and a for sale by owner who needed the expertise of a real estate agent. Do you know what other properties in the area that are similar have sold for in the last 6 months close to the property. You don't say where your located but here in NJ we have a couple of good programs that if you were to qualify its 100% financing. Your agent may know of programs in your area & if this home qualifies.

I hope that this has helped you and if I can be of further assistance to you or anyone on this board feel free to contact me. 856-776-3264.

I wish you luck in your home search and have a good day.
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0 votes
It depends. If you signed an exclusive buyer agreement you may be obligated to pay or if your friend/realtor showed you the property first. Sometimes you can work payment into the contract, so that the seller will pay the commission. In that case, you would proceed as any other property. Talk to them too.
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