Richard: You have seen the place? Technically, you do not have to worry about procuring cause itself, because that is an intra-industry problem that we Realtors solve ourselves, not through common law.. The two problems that you have are these:
First, if you saw the property with or without an open house and it was with ANY licensed agent present, you should have been presented with the Consumer Information Statement (CIS) of the State of NJ. That's the law! This is not your problem as much as it is the agent's but it clouds the issue. Without proper notification to you, the agent is on very shaky ground about more than just a commission.
The second is the buyer's agent of which you speak. I KNOW Iâ€™ll get howls about this because there are some dedicated "You must have an buyer's agent and I am one and I don't handle any other relationship, so that make me and our relationship superior to any other."
Actually, a dual agent and even a seller's agent can be just as good as any other form of agency in many cases. It all depends on how much of a tenderfoot you are and how aggressive and grasping the homeowner and his agent are.
Here's the catch. If you sign up with a buyer's agent, you will agree to compensate the agency, in the event that the seller is not allowing a share of the commission that he pays and that is normally split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. to equal or exceed what your compensation agreement with the buyerâ€™s agent states. Obviously, thereâ€™s the problem that if the procuring cause thing comes up and your agent loses, he/she will be able to come after you for the commission that you agreed to pay. It all gets very tricky and legal issues may result.
On the other hand, you may have seen the place only on line or by contacting the owner directly. Owners are asked by their agents NOT to show the property without an agent being there, so all the legal niceties are observed (at least by knowledgeable agents.) However, Buck Fever being what it is, some owners just shoot from the hip, allowing complete strangers to wander through the house, casing the joint for nocturnal intrusions, should things appear promising and the visitor so inclined.
If it is the case that you saw it without any agent present, you may chose to work with a real estate agent as outlined in the CIS. I advise you to obtain and read that document (It's only a page and a half) before you decide how you wish to work. Otherwise, you may have already created a claim for commission based on your actions to date and one that might cost you a commission to any new face you bring to the party
Best wishes. I hope you get the place of your dreams.