If I decide not to buy a house after searching for a while, should I still pay my agent?

Asked by Sam, Atlanta, GA Fri Jan 23, 2009

I've been looking for a house with my real estate agent for a few months now, but I think I may decide not to buy after all. Do I owe my agent?

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Elizabeth H…, Agent, Manasquan, NJ
Fri Jan 23, 2009
Thank you for thinking of your realtor's effort to find you a home. If you had a signed buyer's agent agreement a payment fee should be spelled out. If not then that is the what we do, work for free until the deal is done. I have had similar situations; I just ask for referrals. Sometimes people decide for whatever reason not to buy; if you were happy with the service;then referring and going back to your realtor is the best kind of payment.
I am not endorsing this real estate company but they explain the agreement and the law in Georgia.
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Jan 24, 2009

Bless your heart.......

Agents understand the source for their rewards, knowing they only come when a sale closes. It is not necessary to consider compensation but your thought of doing so is heart warming.

Your best reward at this point is to spread the good word by refering you agent to friends and aquaintances that are considering buying or selling property.
1 vote
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Fri Jan 23, 2009
Check your buyers agent executed agreement you signed. However nice for your consideration realizing realtors invest time, gas expense, and other fees you are unaware assist a family search for a home on belief you will purchase close.

Did you realize GREAT time purchase, interest rates low, and you receive annual tax benefits.
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
Dave Heck, , Arcadia, CA
Fri Jan 23, 2009
Hey Sam,

No, you don't have to pay your agent. I have been showing one of my clients different properties for over a year. All I would hope from them is that if they appreciate my services, they keep me in the loop when they are ready to buy.
0 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Jan 23, 2009

If the working relationship established was based upon the buyer agent compensation to rest upon the coop broker fees paid through a listing contract by the seller, you do not owe the agent anything. My statement is predicated upon the fact that you acted in good faith. You thought about buying a home, investigated your opportunities and made a decision not to buy. You and the agent had an honest business relationship, and you owe the agent nothing.

If another buyer described a story where the buyer had a plan all along to buy his neighbor’s property, but deceitfully induced a buyer agent to spend time and energy with the buyer and educate the buyer to aid his goal of purchasing a predetermined property where the agent would not be paid, I might say something different. In that case, I might suggest that the buyer does owe the agent something, and the payment arrangements should be worked out with the broker. All compensation must be made to the broker, and the broker must pay the agents.

There are several new models of real estate brokerage popping up. As we have seen negotiated fee structures become more diverse, so are compensation models expanding beyond a commission at closing only arrangement. Buyer agents act as advisors for rates, services are offered for fixed fees ala carte, deposits are paid up front with rebates included on the back end. It is no longer only a world of buyer agent gets “X%” at closing. The industry is evolving beyond the world of “only this way” and this is the only way it “should” be.

However, if the arrangement that you had with your buyer agent was based upon a commission at closing paid by the seller, you have no obligation to pay that agent. The agent accepted a business arrangement, and sometimes business arrangements don’t work out. If you believe that the agent worked hard for you, a well written thank you and reference letter that he/she could hold in their file may be quite meaningful and helpful for the agent.

Deborah Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group
732 530-6350
0 votes
Debra B Albe…, Agent, Port St Lucie, FL
Fri Jan 23, 2009
In my opinion, Absolutely Not. Real Estate agents are paid a commission that is determined in the listing agreement and published in the Listing service of the area. A Realtor is not compensated until property closes and changes hands, ie a new owner has the keys to the property. You would never pay the agent anyway because the seller pays commissions on the seller side and the buyer side.
Debbie Albert
Coldwell Banker
Web Reference:  http://www.ronanddebbie.net
0 votes
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