I signed an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. If I buy a house with a FSBO that I FOUND, am I still obligated to have to pay the agent I signed with?

Asked by Nh Home Buyer, Portsmouth, NH Sat Aug 7, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Lisa Newman, Agent, Hampton, NH
Sun Aug 8, 2010
I am not sure if you are still looking for additional thoughts on this, so I thought I would add my 2 cents. A true Buyer Agency contract is one you sign after going over the contract with the Realtor and all parts are explained to you including what your obligations are moving forward to secure a home and what the Realtor's obligations are to you. Two of the few reasons the contract exists is to form a committed relationship with each other. This means that the Realtor will be sharing with you their knowledge to help you find the right home at the right price with a full understanding of what to expect thru-out the process including negotiations, inspections, financing and closing.

One of the other reasons the contract exists is to commit that you understand in return for these services, the Realtor will be paid at the conclusion of the sale without regard to where the house was listed for sale. Many Realtors will breeze over this part, even saying that you will never pay this fee, that it will be paid by the seller. This is inaccurate. If as part of the seller's closing costs, they are paying a cooperative fee to a buyer's agent, that is less money in their pocket at the closing. If the seller were not paying this fee, they might have negotiated a lessor price with a buyer - so please understand that the bottom line is that while this fee comes off the Seller's side of the HUD, it does impact what you pay for the property.

When I work with my Buyer Clients, we don't sign a contract until we have a long conversation about what it means for both of us. They even understand that what is offered in the mls may not cover what my negotiated fee is and that they will be responsible for the remainder, if necessary, at the closing and take that into consideration.

Please think hard about the time you have spent with your agent. If you just met, have not looked at any properties, not discussed different financing options, not discussed the best mortgage brokers to work with or which neighborhoods make the most sense for you etc - then perhaps they have not earned the fee - but if they have indeed provided you with guidance, knowledge and shown you properties that have allowed you to make an informed decision about this fsbo - they have indeed earned the right to be paid.

I wish you all the best with your purchase and hope it works out for you.

LIsa Newman
Better Homes & Garden RE
The Masiello Group
Hampton, NH
1 vote
Murphy Team, Agent, Portland, ME
Tue Jul 22, 2014
Yes you are if the contract is in force when you view the property. Your agent may be able to get you a better deal than you could on your own. We have done so with clients in the past.
0 votes
Mark Danoski, Agent, Berlin, NH
Fri Feb 15, 2013
Read you buyer agent agreement. This should be addressed there.
0 votes
Shawn Ryan R…, Agent, Belleville, NJ
Wed Dec 14, 2011
i do not believe so. exclusive buyer agreements normally prevent you only from working with another agent. review the agreement you signed and check for any clauses that might pertain to finding a home on your own
0 votes
Nh Home Buyer, Home Buyer, Portsmouth, NH
Sun Aug 8, 2010
Thank you to all that responded. I appreciate your input.
0 votes
Dane Hahn, , 34223
Sat Aug 7, 2010
Since you say you signed an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement, you may have obligated yourself to pay a commission to your agent--so read the contract again. Your agreement is with the office and broker, not the agent. If your agent is off in la la land, not paying attention to you and has left you on your own, it might be said you have been abandoned. If your agent has abandoned you, you may explore canceling the conract .

On the other hand, if you found the FSBO maybe your agent can handle the balance of the transaction for you, provide the paperwork and help you negotiate a better price after your home inspection and other contingencies are completed.

If the agent actually did some work for you PRIOR to your finding the FSBO, maybe you could agree to some amount of money for work done on your behalf. I have had folks who didn't buy a house send me a gift certificate for a dinner at a nice restaurant just because they appreciated my effforts.

Hope this helps,

Dane Hahn
Broker in NH and FL
0 votes
Chuck Braxton, Agent, Meredith, NH
Sat Aug 7, 2010

Technically, no. But that is a test of whether you have a savvy agent. Language such as this will be in the exclusive buyer agency agreements of the most knowledgeable agents:

10.1 All fees due Agency for services as Buyers' Agent shall be derived from Seller at closing. For MLS listings Agency will accept listing agency's offer of cooperation as payment in full under this Agreement. For property for sale by unrepresented sellers (FSBO) or acquired directly by efforts of Agency and/or Buyers, Buyers and Agency agree that in the absence of any other agreement between Agency and the Seller, all offers shall be structured so as to provide for Seller to credit Buyer of [X%] of the contract price at closing and Buyers agree to enable payment of [X%] of the contract price to Agency for its services as Buyers' Agent at closing.

I would point out that this language will provide that all fees due your buyer agent would come from the seller at closing so this costs you nothing. Just as you might ask a seller to contribute to closing costs and prepaids, you can ask for the seller to contribute to your fees. As your agreement with your agent would require this you cannot accept a P&S that is counter to your contract with the aency.

I feel that the other respondents make good points as well. Remember that a lot of FSBO sellers think that they are saving money. Guess who gets that savings? The buyer! These sellers do not get it. Unfortuunately, in my experience, a lot of FSBO properties are overpriced. Your agent can provide the ammo to make a realistic offer. I have seen too many cases in today's market where buyers overpaid for FSBO property.

I would add that if your agent is giving you great service that they have earned your loyalty. If there are issues with service, give the agent some feedback and a chance to respond. This is a tough enough job so work the relationship to your needs.

Best of luck,
Chuck Braxotn, REALTOR GRI
Roiche Realty Greoup, Inc.
Web Reference:  http://www.ChuckBraxton.com
0 votes
Robert Suarez, Agent, Toms River, NJ
Sat Aug 7, 2010
Nh Home Buyer,
The simple answer is check the Buyers Agency agreement you signed. But since you did sign one why not use your agent to submit and negotiate your offer.Finding a property is only part of the process of purchasing real estate. If he does a good job negotiating a deal he should have the fsbo pay his commission . Plus he will be your point man to get the deal closed. There are still many things to do till the closing. If the only job of an agent was to "find" a property there would be no need for realtors.
Web Reference:  http://RobertisTomsRiver.com
0 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat Aug 7, 2010
Review your contract.

And sometimes the agent can help in negotiations to have the FSBO pay his/her commission.

Still, if you didn't want to face this situation, you should have addressed it with your agent at the time you signed your agreement.
0 votes
trulia, , Exeter, NH
Sat Aug 7, 2010
Hi - You need to review your contract... Paragraph 2 on the first page: "BUYER agrees to pay FIRM a fee for professional services in the amount of.... if BUYER or any person or entity acting on BUYER'S behalf purchases, options, exchanges, leases or trades any property, through the efforts of anyone including BUYER, where an agreement was entered into during the term of the Agreement."

Generally speaking, the commission comes from the seller. Is this the case with the FSBO you're interested in? Plus, you'll still benefit from the guidance of having a REALTOR to work with.

Hopefully you have a good relationship/rapport with your agent - talk to your REALTOR.

Good luck!
0 votes
Bonnie Michal…, Agent, Silverdale, WA
Sat Aug 7, 2010
Most likely there is a clause in your agreement stating what will happen and how much you are obligated to pay should you find a FSBO. I'd encourage you to use your agent to represent you in the transaction so that you are not liable for errors, but also for experienced guidance through the whole process.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Portsmouth Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more