It appears that if you have signed an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage Agreement, you are restricted from working

Asked by Lana, Atlanta, GA Tue Jun 24, 2008

with another agent if you choose to. I prefer to work with one good competent Realtor but if he/she goes bad, your ability to get a fair deal is compromised. Will the bad agent get paid a commission just for making you aware of a new listing on the MLS even if the Agreement has been rescinded? Smacks of unconstitutionality.

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Sarah S. Tur…, Home Owner, Atlanta, GA
Mon Oct 13, 2008
Lee is right, a one-way written notice to the Realtor AND his/her Broker and you can move on. If the Realtor has a Buyer/Brokerage agreement with you and is the "procuring cause" (ie: he or she finds the property, shows it to you, and has proof through his or her SUPRA key that this was done); then he or she legally does have grounds to sue you for the commission, if you go around his/her back and purchase the property.

Will he or she?

Probably not. It would be up to the Broker of the Realtor's firm whether to pursue legal action, and unless you're buying into a multi-million dollar property - it would probably cost the company more money to sue you than they would get from the commission they're pursuing.

Does that mean everyone should ditch their Realtor after he or she spends hours upon hours researching and showing you property? No. If you continue to go out with the same Realtor weekend after weekend - heck, if you go out with your Realtor more than once or twice, and then decide you aren't impressed; then that's your bad decision. Take the time to get to know your Realtor, before you waste his/her time. We don't get paid until you close; no one likes to work for $0 an hour. It says a lot about you as an individual if you can sleep at night after screwing another person out of not only money, but their time -- that's something they'll never get back.

Lana, I know that's not something you would do - but since you aren't the only one reading and getting advice from this site, I had to put in my two cents...Good Luck and if you need any additional advice please don't hesitate to contact me personally.

Sarah Turner, Realtor
Sanctuary Real Estate
1 vote
Lee Taylor, Agent, Decatur, GA
Thu Jun 26, 2008
"Smacks of unconstitutionality." Come on. The US constitution? Wow.

If an agent "goes bad" they were probably a bad choice from the start. Going bad doesn't happen within the business responsibilities of a serious fiduciary who is helping buyers buy and sellers sell 20-30-40-50-100-200 + houses per year with a team of competent professionals assisting the sales and customer support needs of their vibrant business.

You can terminate that exclusive agreement right now - a one way written notice will kill it.

Work with a local professional who consults with you at a high level and isn't afraid to do whatever it takes to satisfy your unique needs. Going bad is predictable. The past is prologue.

I would fire my agent and hire Lee Adkins if I were you.
1 vote
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Wed Jun 25, 2008
Most Exclusive Buyer's Agreements (EBA) include a mutual cancellation clause. The terms of that clause may vary state to state and region to region, but in general they allow you to cancel the agreement, but as Lee so aptly points out, not the moment before you close.

Yes, the EBA does restrict you from working with multiple agents. That is the heart-and-soul of the agreement you signed. The EBA requires some loyalty on the part of the buyer, and says that you "won't be seeing other people, and that you agree to be pinned and go to the prom with the agent on the EBA".

If you're not in agreement with that statement, or are unsure... don't agree to sign it. If you'd like to sign it, but are still uncertain about the agent, make sure there's a 24-hour no fault cancellation agreement in the contract.

This isn't a complicated form, nor is it unconstitutional. You either want to work exclusively with one agent, or you don't. You get to make the decision. Not all agents require an EBA.

(side note: some states require an EBA in order to assure that your buyer's agent actually represents the buyer and not the seller...)
1 vote
Lee Adkins, Agent, Alpharetta, GA
Tue Jun 24, 2008
Lana -
This is an excellent question - and this is a major point of contention for many.

The buyer brokerage agreement really serves two purposes:
It establishes a working relationship between yourself and your Realtor. It includes disclaimers that we are experts on some things and not on others. It establishes the fact that you are being represented by this agent and that they are looking out for your best interest - which they should be and you should feel this is the case. The buyer brokerage agreement is born out of the old days when you just called the number on the sign and that agent showed you the house, helped you write an offer and otherwise "represented" you - of course, they were truly representing the seller and you, as a buyer, would be considered their customer rather than client.

On the Realtors side, the buyer brokerage protects us from doing a lot of work, using gas money and giving you our information and insights about buying a home - without getting paid for them ultimately. It allows us to feel protected in spending our time and money to help you locate, discover and ultimately buy a property that is a great property for you and a solid investment.

If you read carefully, the "exclusive" buyer brokerage paragraph 15 states that the agreement can be terminated in writing at any time - there is (of course) some legal language stating that you can't just terminate the day before closing - but you do have rights under the agreement to terminate. This would best be done in writing to the agent and/or the broker of their office.

I generally don't ask my potential clients to sign a buyer brokerage until we have been out to look at properties once or twice. I feel it is very important that I prove myself to them and additionally that they are people I would like to work with.

I'm not sure what you mean by if the Realtor "goes bad," exactly, but I have a few guesses - and one of them involves possibly that you had a bad experience before. An all too common story in this industry.

You have every right to interview multiple Realtors and to ask them tough questions - Are they full time? Do they have any past clients that would provide references for them? Are they familiar with the area you are looking in or the type of home you are looking for?

The local agents that are on Trulia are for the most part very good ones and I'm sure you will get some great advice here from some of them soon. My only other advice to you is to ask around for a referral from any friends or family who have bought property in the Atlanta area recently.

The bottom line is that the buyer brokerage is an important document - for you as well - but you should feel 100% certain that the Realtor whose name is on it will be working hard for you.

Best of luck to you!

Web Reference:
1 vote
J R, , New York, NY
Wed Jun 25, 2008
If you are not happy with the agent you signed the agreement with you should ask to be released. If you have not signed an agreement, I'd suggest you go out with them a couple of times before you sign an exclusive. An exclusive buyer's agent agreement is like an exclusive right to sell a home. Your agent will get paid if you buy, even if you buy from someone else. Why should an agent work in your best interest without you giving them something in return (your loyalty?)

As for your "smacks of unconstitutionality" statement: you aren't forced to sign an exclusive agreement. You can always have the listing agent or another agent work as a broker's agent, dual agent, transactional agent, or selling agent, whichever term is used in your area. In that case they will be working in the seller's and not in your best interest, but you don't have to sign the agreement, no.
0 votes
Jolie Abreu, Agent, Boca Raton, FL
Wed Jun 25, 2008
Wow, Lee and Uta, thank you for your answers. I have struggled in the past with how to explain the Buyer Brokerage Agreement. Your answers not only helped Lana, I'm sure, but many realtors (me included) as well :) Trulia has become such a great resources!

0 votes
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Tue Jun 24, 2008
Hi Lana. I understand your concern and that's why it is important that buyers interview the agent before they start working with the agent. Everybody has different priorities and there's no right or wrong. You'll hear people telling buyers that they should go with an experienced agent. Obviously, you want someone who can handle the transaction, but that does not mean that the agent has to have had years of experience. It just means that a newer agent needs to have teamed up with an experienced agent. We all start out as new agents and if nobody ever chooses a new agent, then we would not be able to get any experience. Sorry I am getting a little bit off the subject.

I can appreciate that you want to work only with one good agent and that you feel that you might be stuck with the agent if the agent "goes bad." Your statement is proof that setting expectations right from beginning is important for the agent and the client and I think failure to talk about the mutual expectations is the # 1 reason why things go sideways between an agent and client. You as the buyer will have certain expectations (e.g., the agent is available to show you properties at your convenience, will search for suitable properties and preview properties before showing to name only a few possible expectations) and the agent has the expectations that you'll work with him/her. Why else would the agent perform any work for you? The only way we can ensure that our labor will not be wasted is by having a written exclusive buyer broker agreement. If you are concerned about the agent "going bad", I would suggest that you limit the agreement to only a few months for at least the first contract. While I agree that most agents will not want to hold you hostage to a contract that is no longer a win-win, I think you'd be better off doing your homework first and choose wisely than hope for the agent to not go after you for a commission because you bought through a different agent while still under contract with the first agent. Exercise the freedom to contract and negotiate the terms that you can live with. If you really find that you made the wrong choice and you want to cancel the contract before it expires, ask the agent to refer you to another agent of your choice. That way, the first agent at least gets a referral fee when you end up buying and will be more inclined to release you from the contract. I hope this helps.
0 votes
Leslie N. Wo…, , Atlanta, GA
Tue Jun 24, 2008

If that first agent physically took you to the property first, then he/she is legally procuring cause. With that said, very few agents would come after you for the commission if they happen to find out that you closed on a property they first showed you. This also assumes that an offer was not submitted for the property using the first agent. Hope this helps.


0 votes
Patrick Dugan, Agent, California, MD
Tue Jun 24, 2008
Sorry to state the obvious, but laws vary from state to state, so please bear in mind that I am a licensed realtor in Md. In Md. a Buyers brokerage agreement is required in order for the agent to write an offer for you. If you do not agree to be represented by an agent they may write the offer for you as a sellers sub agent. In that case they owe their allegiance to the seller but still must treat you in an ethical manner. If you sign a buyers broker agreement, and then decide you do not want to work with that agent, most brokers will assign an agent in the company to you who you can work with. The original agent who showed you the property, and wrote the contract would still be entitled to his/her commission and would probably give a percentage of it to the agent who you ended up working with.
Hope htis is helpful
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