Can I fire my buying agent and write offer myself for an investment property? I have many years of homebuying experience.

Asked by Cassandra, Orange County, CA Thu Sep 30, 2010

I found investment home on internet and saw the property at open house. I used an agent my friend referred me to "write up" the offer. Now we don't agree on terms of the comission she's suppose to share for my closing costs. I wanted 1 % of sales price (commission to realtor is 3%) but she said after writing the offer that I can get the 1% by reducing the buying price to offer. I asked her what if seller would not agree to reducing the price, where would I get the 1%. She beat around the bush. I emailed her twice, stating that this can make the deal as I can walk away and we both loose. She has not responded at all. Her attitude is I won't be able to buy the property unless she's the agent. I don't want to create trouble at her brokerage company so can I just fire her and write the offer myself?

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Alicia Mendo…, Agent, Fullerton, CA
Mon Oct 4, 2010
Hi Cassandra,

I agree with the others that escalating this to the broker of that agent is the best first step before firing your agent, particularly if you have some type of agency relationship disclosure that has been signed between you both already.

Has your offer already been accepted? If so, dropping this agent can get a bit hairy since your representation by that agent/broker is included in the contract.

As for getting 1% of the sales price going back to you, you may want to be careful on how that is structured. It's best not to cross the line of it becoming a kickback, which is illegal. You may want to structure it so that your agent reduces her commission to 2% and that you get a credit back from the seller equal to the other 1%. Perhaps that is what you meant, but just wanted to point it out if that's not how it was originally set up.

Writing the offer yourself is certainly an option, but it may not sit well with the listing agent to work with a buyer directly since he/she may assume that you don't know the laws, lingo, contingencies, paperwork, etc. involved with purchasing a home.

Good luck and hopefully that home is still on the market for you to purchase now!

Best regards,
1 vote
Trevolyn Hai…, Agent, Highland, CA
Thu Sep 30, 2010
Hello Cassandra,

I am assuming that you did not negotiate this with your agent prior to going into a transaction together (this would have been a good thing to have put into writing so there were no misunderstandings and surprises) and since this agent is already involved in this transaction, you will probably not be able to cut her out of this deal.

You would be free not to work with her on any future deals- if you signed a Buyer Broker agreement, contact her broker and tell them that you wish to cancel it; I am sure they will be more than happy to sever their relationship with you.

Once you find another property, and if you work directly with the listing agent, you maybe able to ask for closing costs to be paid, but I can wager that they won't be coming out of the compensation to the agent (since that had already been negotiated between the listing agent and the seller) so any buyers agent should technically be able to get you the same deal.

In California, only licensed agents may collect a commission; so while you may be able to represent yourself, unless you are a licensed agent, you will not be able to collect any compensation for doing so.

How happy are you with the deal that was negotiated for this property? Do you feel it is a good deal? Do you like the property enough to buy it? How much is 1% of the purchase price? Is 1% of the purchase price really enough to 'spite your face by cutting off your nose' and lose out on it?

If you do decide to cancel the sale, please make sure that you do so with-in the bounds of the contract or you may lose your earnest money deposit.

Best of luck,
1 vote
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Tue Sep 4, 2012
Sounds like you are asking for a "KICK BACK". tThis is NOT LEGAL

Now if your agent wants to give you a "CREDIT" form theri commission they can, but that is not something you should ask for, it is something they offer.

You can very well go ahead and write an offer for your self, but where will you get the forms?

CAR form are not avail to the publice. You can buy a purchase agreement froma stationary store to submitt your onw offer on but , the Listing agent and the seller may not even entertain such an offer.

Remember there is a lot more to representing you than just "writting up an offer"

The terms and conditions of the offer as well as making sure ALL parties do theier due diligence is something your agent will do for you.

Best Of Luck to YOU,

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
Commission is paid from the Seller to the Seller's Broker who in turns shares that commission with the Buyer's Broker. Any change in the structure of offered commission must be agreed to by the BROKER(S). Just because a Seller or Buyer may want to change the terms of commission, it doesn't mean that it can happen.

The listing agreement is an employment contract between the Broker and Seller. A Buyer is not a party to that contract. Respectively, if the Buyer and Buyer Broker is also an employment contract. Without a signed contract changes to Commissions are going to be difficult if not handled in a specific order, prior to the writing of any offer.

The advice to discuss with your Agent's Broker is sound.

Have an amazing day!
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0 votes
Alane Anders…, Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Mon Sep 3, 2012
If you have anything in writing - emails, or written agreement, take it to the broker.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Fri Oct 1, 2010

Both Dan and Bill are on the mark.....

"Fireing" the agent could be more problematic than trying to work through your issues with the support of the broker. It's our experience that by working through these types of road blocks the final reward can be much greater than expected. Our best advice is consider working through your concerns first before scrapping what you have.

Good luck,

0 votes
, ,
Thu Sep 30, 2010
I agree with Dan. It's better if you have someone handle the transaction for you. It's not worth the percentage to get taken advantage of by someone who has 10 times more experience than you. It's like saying I've been to court to fight a traffic ticket so I don't need an Attorney for a murder defense. There are so many things out there that you may not be aware of because of inaccesability to new regulations that have come up over the last year.

As a lender, I have to stay current with new guidelines every week. Realtors the same. Some things to know: Seller paid closing costs cannot exceed 2%. If you buy a property from a seller who's been on title for less than 90 days, some banks won't finance your loan unless the seller keeps his/her gain at less than 20%.

Also, while you're out there, check out for Fannie Mae foreclosures. The down payment for these is only 10% for investment properties. The appraisal is already paid for and there is no mortgage insurance (rate is slightly higher).
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0 votes
Kevin Olson,…, Agent, Colorado Springs, CO
Thu Sep 30, 2010
The fastest way to the answer in your case is talking to her broker, it won't create trouble, it will create clarification. What is happening is something I promise you the broker would want to be aware of, especially if you are buying an investment home because there is a chance to gain your future business.

These things regarding commission should always be in writing, and hopefully if she emailed you the emails were saved (they do count). Unfortunately any promises word of mouth are hard to verify. The good news is that her broker would rather see the deal work than you just walking away.

Best of luck with your situation, I think talking to the broker will make for a much smoother future in buying your investment home.
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Thu Sep 30, 2010
Any changes from the standard agreement, such as the agent paying any closing costs, rebating commissions etc should be in writing up front. This avoids any surprises or changes of heart. Based on where you are now, your best bet would be to talk to the agent’s broker.
0 votes
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