Can a buyer who was shown a property by a seller's agent in the same office of the listing agent who?

Asked by Karla Winchester, Missouri Wed Jan 28, 2009

submitted my first written contract help me to draw up a secondary back-up contract or can I bring in a buyer's agent now?

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Dale Weir, Agent, Chesterfield, MO
Wed Jan 28, 2009
a) did you at any time sign anything that stated that you were working with the first agent and that they were representing you?? You may have done it as part of the contract package without realizing that you were doing it. If so, the first agent, who introduced you to the property and who wrote the first contract can insist on being paid a commission for procuring cause even if at this point in time you switch agents and go with a different agent because you don't feel that the first agent is protecting your interests. Keeping this in mind, many second agents, knowing that you have been working with another agent (and have already gone to the point of writing a contract with that other agent on the property) will be very concerned about their own legal standing in the overall situation and whether or not they will be paid or if they will end up doing all the work, then the first agent will complain to the Board of Realtors and the MREC and they will rule that the first agent as procurring cause will get the full commission (it has happened). As a result, the second agent may offer the first agent a referral fee (ie a payoff) in order to essentially get them to release you to the second agent with "no strings attached".

I would suggest that, especially since you are staying with the same brokerage, you ask to sit down with the broker and discuss with the broker why you are switching agents and that you want to be released from any contract you have with the first agent. Put it in writing stating that you want to be released from working with the first agent and state why and present it to the broker. You need to do that BEFORE you sign anything stating that you will be working with the second agent.

If you are going on to another home, it's a lot cleaner, since then there is no procurring cause if the first agent hasn't sent your information on or shown you the new home as there is with a home that you have already been shown. With a home that you have already written a contract on it's really messy, legally for a second agent to get involved.
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Melody Ander…, , Camdenton, MO
Wed Jan 28, 2009
It's important to know the agency relationships used by the office. (Mo. law requires that disclosure up front). If the listing agent and the agent showing the property are from the same office, and you don't have a buyer's
agency, then the agent helping you very likely is working as a subagent of the seller, and is thus required to negotiate for the best interests of the seller.

You can bring in your own buyers agent, depending on where you are in the negotiations. If the seller has countered or has refused your offer, and it's your turn to respond, you can walk away or decline the counter; then return again later with a different agent to begin the negotiations again.

It's also important to note that if you were to sign a buyers agency with someone from that same office, then they very likely a dual agency relationship would arise, and both agents involved would have to become neutral in the negotiations. But that's assuming that this was all done in advance of negotiations. An agent shouldn't switch fiduciary loyalties midstream.
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