I found a house on my own and asked my agent to arrange a showing and we looked at the house. Can I use another agent to buy the house?

Asked by bookqueen.roopa, Rockville, MD Sat Aug 18, 2012

She only helped me arrange the showing and we have no contract of any kind. I definitely found the house on my own and only asked her to arrange a showing. I'm not happy with the advice she's given me and would like to use another agent. Would the seller have to pay her commission still and do I have any legal obligation to her?

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Alan May’s answer
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Sat Aug 18, 2012
You've made it far more complicated than it needed to be, by asking her to show you the house.

Technically, now she's procuring cause (ie: the buyer's agent who gets paid) for that property. You, as the buyer, have the right to use whomever you like, especially you no longer have confidence in her advice, but she's in line for some portion of the buyer's side commission.

You have no legal obligation to her, but the seller's agency does. Contact another agent, please be completely upfront with them and explain the situation.. they will reach out to the first agent, and work out some arrangement... but you shouldn't have to worry about who gets paid.
2 votes
Charles Bail…, Agent, College Park, MD
Sat Aug 18, 2012
Was the advice sound and you just didn't like it or was it good advice? I think you should do some research. Maybe your agent is telling you the"uncomfortable truth". If so, you want to stick with her/him. That's a good agent. If your research reveals you're receiving bad advice you can move on to another agent but there may be challenges getting the new agent paid on that house. Speak to the new agents broker and ask him to clear up the commission question before you make your offer. Sometimes the fairest thing is to get an agreement from the first agent to accept a referral fee. Let the brokers work it out.
1 vote
Bonnie White, Agent, Rockville, MD
Sat Aug 18, 2012
As a trained Realtor we know to have a signed buyer agreement in place even if it only covers a 24 hr period. If that doesnt exist you may or may not have any obligation. As mentioned procuring cause could come into play since the agent did set up the showing on your behalf. Put the two agents in touch with each other and let them work it out.
1 vote
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Sat Aug 18, 2012
Wow. You call her "Your Agent". You ask her to work for you by showing you a property. And now you want to use another agent? There is something called procuring cause. Since we are not privileged to all that has transpired it would be difficult to give you real estate advice here. As Carl suggested, you may want to talk to the Managing Broker of the Agent.

Keep in mind agents do not get paid until escrow closes. While they are showing property to other people they are giving up the opportunity to earn a commission by working with loyal clients.

Truly in today's world of internet finding the house is the easy part. Knowing the contract, negotiations from contract to close, networking with other agents, risk management, disclosures and more is the difficult part. Also, the listing agent knows you had a different agent show you the property. What do you think they will think about you to be loyal to the contract and be honest throughout closing?

Let's look at this a bit differently. Let's say you get hired to type some papers. You go to work and type those papers. Then the boss tells you, sorry, I don't like the way you typed those papers. I'm not paying you. There should have been a conversation and a skill assessment up front before you hired your agent. Therefore, please talk to your agent and her Broker before you write any offers.

All the best to you.
Web Reference:  http://www.terrivellios.com
1 vote
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Sat Aug 18, 2012
As an agent, I think we all fear such a situation. We show good faith, we show the property then the client goes behind our back without telling us why, and we loose a pay day. Of course all of the details are not revealed here, but I would hope that you can tell "your agent" why you wanted her to show you the house and feel it is OK to have someone else get paid. Please ask your question of the broker for the agent. The broker can direct you properly and no one gets hurt.
1 vote
Yankee Doodle, Home Seller, Rockville, MD
Tue Sep 25, 2012
The responses here make me really distrust Realtor#$%$#®s.

Why is it " the right thing to do" to "compensate" an agent she's not happy with simply because the agent arranged a showing (made a phone call or two, went to the house with her)?

The agent did none of the things you say are the more difficult parts of your job ("negotiations from contract to close, networking with other agents, risk management, disclosures"). With home prices as high as they are in this area you realtors have a real® sense of entitlement. You are way over compensated for the amount of work you do.
0 votes
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Jeez. let's not get crazy. Just contact the broker at the office of the first agent, tell him/her what you tell us. The broker will see that the first and second agent are ethically treated as well as you get what you want, which we presume is an accepted offer. How did you select "your agent" to show you the property in the first place? What makes her advice so unsatisfactory to you? After you consider a few facts, you should be able to have your agent write an offer.
0 votes
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that has led to the advent of the "signed buyer's agreement", locking a buyer in with a particular agent. I think those stink. If an agent does a good job, the client will likely stay with him/her, so there should be no need for such a contract. But here you have it, no real reason for dropping an agent that you asked to help you, just dropping her because you can. You have a moral obligation to this agent, at least as far as this particular property goes. The law (procuring cause) happens to support that moral obligation, but it is the moral obligation that should be driving your action. If you did not like the way she conducts business, then you should not have asked her to show you the property. I like Terri's paperwork analogy, makes it very clear. Do the right thing, it will feel better in the end...Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Sun Aug 19, 2012
BookQueen,
Here is what COULD happen if everyone behaved as you did in this situation.
So you don't like the PC (procuring cause) agent and you decide to get another agent to submit the offer.

Now you have effectively betrayed PC agent AND put another agent in a situation where they will not be compensated for their effort. You have effectively toasted two agents! One through betrayal and the other by compromising the compensation agreement.
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PC agent will be the ONLY agent eligible for contractual compensation, whom you don't want to work with, and another agent will be left with nothing but lint in their pocket due to your choices.
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Now, you can make all of this go away by agreeing to compensate 'another' agent directly from your pocket for the work involved on your behalf. PC agent will be compensated by the seller as contractually agreed via the MLS.
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The most likely outcome will be you do not buy the house and everyone's efforts are wasted.
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However,as Bonnie White suggested, if PC agent and another agent were to have a telephone chat, something agreeable could be worked out. You should be prepared to directly compensate another agent. It's the right thing to do, if that means anything in Maryland.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group, Palm Harbor, FL
727.420. 4041
http://RealEstateMadeEZ.us
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Your agent could argue procuring cause so be careful. If you haven't signed anything with this agent and are sure you don't want to work with them, you can have your new agent show you the home. This happens all the time and unfortunately for some agents things don't work out.

Chris
0 votes
Scott Hulen, , 64068
Sun Aug 19, 2012
Fact check: you asked the Realtor® to show you this home, this Realtor showed you this HOME. In addition at the time of the showing you refer to her as “MY AGENT”. She is entitled to compensation! The average home price in the area you describe is over 400,000. Commissions on this price of home are generally 20-24,000 dollars (half to each side) with that type of money in play chances are she is not going to work away and say have a nice day. The good news is you have options and most people are reasonable, her broker with the permission of all parties can arrange for another realtor® to work with you on the purchase of the property. Note to consumers: this is just one reason to put some time and sincere effort into choosing a Realtor® do not rely solely on a referral, treat this like you are interviewing someone for a very important project which you are personally funding to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Realtors® have an exclusive buyer’s agency in place to stop this type of situation dead in its tracks. It will get worse as the more tech savoy generations begin to buy homes & computer software has given the consumer information they used to have to come to us for; this has changed the business forever. Consumers now feel like they did the “work” and they want a piece of the action.
0 votes
Akil Walker, Agent, Upper Marlboro, MD
Sat Aug 18, 2012
Hi Bookqueen,


depends on what your written agreement states. I would recommend you have a honest converation with your agent and express your concerns. it may be a simple misunderstanding that can be worked out.
0 votes
The Roskelly…, Agent, Gambrills, MD
Sat Aug 18, 2012
You should feel comfortable with the agent representing you. Just like mechanics, accountants, etc. real estate agents are service people. You deserve to have someone you are comfortable with. I'm assuming here you are judging your agent fairly and that this isn't a case of not liking factual information she is providing you. If you have any concerns on the sellers liability for commission consult an attorney.
0 votes
Tina Lam, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sat Aug 18, 2012
You can use another agent to complete the purchase of the house. If you had felt that the advice was good, then you would only be ethically bound to continue working with her. If you feel her advice was not good enough, you have no further obligation to her.
Web Reference:  http://www.archershomes.com
0 votes
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