How can my ex agent try and collect a referral fee from our current RE agent?

Asked by Richq, 91384 Thu Sep 4, 2008

We fired our first agent because she and her atty husband lost a house we had in escrow. The termination was in writing. With our current agent, we submitted an offer and subsequently are in escrow on a house that at one time our ex agent did show us, but her efforts on that property amounted to nothing. Our current agent submitted a new offer and did all of the "haggling" to get us into that house. We found that house - not her - in fact all of the houses she did show us were thru our internet searches and of no work from her. Our agent is not in her office, in fact, he was someone that we've known for about 10 years. Our current deal was accomplished by commission sacrifices made by the listing agent and ours, our ex had absolutely no bearing or residual efforts that helped us to get that house. Now, she wants a referral fee. Other than her atty husband telling her she should get it, how can she think she's entitled?

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Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Sep 4, 2008
I appreciate your frustration, however the bottom line is what does the contract state AND what did the first agent do?

In California if you agree to and sign a Buyer Representation Agreement - Exclusive, and the agreement is in force, it does stipulate that if you buy a property shown by this agent that they are the "procuring cause".

The truth is that depending upon the paperwork, contracts, etc. the broker of your current Realtor will be "discussing" the procuring cause basis for who is actually due the commission.
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Scott Reiber, Agent, Valencia, CA
Wed Jul 22, 2009
My wife is real estate attorney and sees this kind of thing a lot. Absent of the buyers broker agreement just showing a house first is usually is not sufficient to so procuring cause. Even more so if she was aware of the transaction and did nothing before escrow closed. But if they argue it in front of the board instead of a judge the board doesn’t have to follow the law. They can make a decision based on what they think is fair depending on their mood that day. She probably thing she is entitled because of the amount of time she had put into working with you, showing you home ect. Agents hate working for free.
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The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Thu Sep 4, 2008

If she showed you the home, whether or not you found it first, this may be considered procurring cause, in which case your current agent would owe your ex agent a commission.
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, ,
Thu Sep 4, 2008
You said: "Other than her atty husband telling her she should get it, how can she think she's entitled?"

They think they're entitled due to a little thing us agents call procuring cause. Apparently they feel they are a major factor, the reason, or flat out have something to do with you purchasing this home. They did initially show it to you. Both your Realtor, and that Realtor, will likely have to go in front of the board of Realtors, and work out a resolution...often times that means a split of some sorts on the commissions...but who knows, each situation is different. This type of occurrence happens all the time, as you can imagine. Some buyers jump from Realtor to Realtor, and sometimes the new agent doesn't know what a prior agent showed their new client, sometimes it's just a lapse in memory that the buyer forgets to mention this sort of thing, and usually, they don't know anything about procuring what's the big deal? Sounds like your new Realtor was huge help to you, and hopefully this situation won't cost them too much more in commission since it sounds like they already discounted it in order to make your deal work. Best of luck.
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