Should I sign an "Exclusive Right To Represent Buyer Agreement" in Virginia when buying a home?

Asked by Dmitriy, Reston, VA Wed Jan 9, 2013

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Andy Krumholz, Agent, Reston, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
Hi Dmitriy,

While most of the answers you received below are correct in what they are saying, none of them really explain why it's in your best interest to sign this agreement and be represented by a Buyer's Agent.
An agent is either going to represent the seller, the buyer, or sometimes neither party. If the real estate agent represents the seller, then their allegiance is legally with the seller. Not a very good scenario for the buyer. In that scenario, any of your information may be shared with the seller. This doesn't happen often, but legally if the agent is not working for you, then most of the time they're working for the seller.

On the other hand, if you sign the buyer agency agreement, they will then represent you, and any information they have or can gather about the seller, will be shared with you, and all of your information will never be shared with the seller. The agent negotiates on your behalf, and represents you the best way they can. They should be looking for all the pros and cons about a home and pointing them out to you as well. Since the agent views homes all the time, and presumably, you only buy a home once every 5 - 10 years, they will spot defects that you won't.

I hope you found this helpful. If I can answer any further question for you, please feel free to call or email me. I'm located in Reston as well.

Andy Krumholz
Keller Williams Realty
#1 Individual Agent in the Reston KW Office in 2010, 2011, & 2012
(703) 599-4755 - cell
3 votes
Misty Mount, Agent, Yorktown, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
It's no longer an option in VA. There is a date that is filled in which is negotiated by you and your agent.…

The new law is explained here.

Misty Mount
Long and Foster
2 votes
Art Lickunas, Agent, Potomac Falls, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
As of July 1, 2012, a new Virginia law requires that a buyer and an agent who have agreed to work together in an agency relationship set out the terms of that agreement in writing. Nothing in the law requires you to agree to a long-term brokerage relationship. You can enter into a short-term written agreement or an agreement in which the agent will represent you only if they choose to purchase a specific property. The scope of the written agreement is negotiable. It must include a list of services the agent will deliver, a schedule of fees associated with those services and a definite termination date.

Hope that helps!

Art Lickunas
Art Real Estate Group
Keller Williams Realty
C: 703-541-8200 F: 703-679-1701
1 vote
Lisa Frensley, Agent, Fredericksburg, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
Agents are required to have buyer representation in writing. We must disclose which party we represent in a transaction. Without knowing the reason behind your reluctance to do so (perhaps you don't know the particular agent well enough to commit for example, or think, perhaps, there is a fee for buyer rep - there is not), I would suggest signing for a limited time - one day to view 1 or 2 homes. If you are happy with the agent after the initial time, then extend the agreement for the purpose of finding your home with that agent. We are usually willing to take a chance to earn your business. I know I am!
1 vote
First time h…, Home Buyer, Vienna, VA
Sat Sep 12, 2015
Good evenning,

I have one question, what happens if as a first time home buyer you are not aware of this agreement (you of course know nothing about this procedures) , it's not mentioned before you see the properties and then it's included in the offer before discussing it with the buyer?
0 votes
Here's another blog source that might be helpful
Flag Mon Sep 14, 2015
your agent should have given you this agreement before or while you were looking at properties. if they didn't do it before and now you're in the offer phase, you can choose to continue to have this agent represent you, or you can refuse and perhaps need to find a different agent to represent your offer. i strongly recommend that you do not go into the contract phase w/out some kind of representation.
The key thing to pay attention to is the compensation. Ask your agent what the compensation is on this listing and if the seller is paying their commission or if you're expected to pay a portion of it.
visit our website to get more info about the process in general, sounds like your agent is kind of coasting and may be a little light on details - you may have an awesome negotiator on your side, i'm not assuming you have a bad agent, but IMO you should have been better educated from the get go.
Flag Sun Sep 13, 2015
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Fri Aug 1, 2014
Ultimately you'll need to sign one of these, however you really do want to interview some Realtors first before committing to one and personally I see no reason for you to commit to more than 30 days. You and your buyer broker can always renew the listing. I've attached a link below on what you should be looking for in a good buyer broker.
0 votes
Jim Whitehead, Agent, Norfolk, VA
Thu Jul 31, 2014
Yes, but you need to interview and find the right agent first, before you rush off with just any normal mainstream agent. Why? Most mainstream agents are great in some areas and not effective elsewhere. For example, they don't know much about running a renovation business because they have never done it personally.

Please don't hire a mainstream Realtor for foreclosures or renovations, unless that agent personally manages renovations, or else you will lose money. Years ago, I couldn't find a competent agent in my area who understood foreclosures or fixer-uppers, so I became a Realtor myself who does this and specializes in it. (Shameless true plug: Every renovation deal I did, made money. Every time my clients followed our plan, they made money. The key is having a good plan and working it).

If you want to find that rare agent who is honest, puts people first, and competent at fixer-upper property, please call me at 757-221-0989.

Jim Whitehead, M.S., company founder, Principal Broker in VA
Williamsburg, VA 23185
A Better Home Inc. and also Lord and Saunders Real Estate, Inc.
0 votes
Kenneth Wang, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Sun Jun 1, 2014
In simple terms, yes. By law, an agent is not allowed to show you a property that they aren't listing to you without this agreement signed. However, take note how many days you are signing that agreement for, if there is an early termination fee, retainer fees, and if you cancel the contract, are you obligated to pay them a commission if you buy a home within 30 days of canceling the contract.

What I do personally if the buyer is conscious about signing the contract is just make the contract valid for 1 day without any fees or obligations. That way the buyer will know first hand how I can best represent them.

Please let me know how else I can help.

List it, SOLD!

Best regards,

Kenneth Wang
(571) 251-1113
0 votes
Ann-drea, Renter, 22309
Fri May 30, 2014
I looked at properties already and this was not disclosed to me. I had several realtors ask me if I already had an agent and I said know. I wondered why they were asking me. Then I contacted a "look at this property" link and a real estate agent contacted me. She was polite until she disclosed that she would only show me the property if I gave her exclusivity. She then went on to make it sound like I had to just to look at the property. None of the other agents asked me to do that just to look at them. This is all very confusing for renters (which btw the woman implied I was stupid for not understanding). You all need to get together and actually learn the law and tell it correctly. I see so many conflicting answers on here. If you all don't even know the law, how are the renters who don't even work in this field supposed to get it. Rudeness is also never acceptable.
0 votes
*said no, not know
Flag Fri May 30, 2014
Team Waller…, Agent, Front Royal, VA
Fri Feb 14, 2014
Having a buyer consultation with a Buyer’s Agent and engaging a Realtor (via Exclusive Right To Represent Buyer Agreement) to represent you in your purchase is critical to having a successful home-buying experience! In fact, by law in VA you must have this signed agreement with a Realtor prior to seeing any home so if an agent you meet does not disclose this, find another one! Here are some facts about Buyer's agents:
• Realtor’s fees are built into the sales price of homes and buyer representation is covered in the listing price of the home and deducted from seller’s proceeds (most agencies charge only a flat commission to buyers of $345 at closing and that is typically the only Realtor closing cost fee you pay at settlement as a buyer). Having a buyer brokerage agreement with a Realtor means that they have more negotiating power to get you the best deal. The agent who lists a home was hired by the seller and has a limited and more neutral role when representing both sides of a sale (dual agency), so be certain that you have full representation by calling on a Buyer's Agent. That's why Team Waller offers a Buyers Agent Department so that buyers who call about our listings have their own Designated Agent to represent their best interests while the Listing Department represents Team Waller's sellers! Be cautious of listing agents who do not disclose your right to have your own representation!
0 votes
Team Waller…, Agent, Front Royal, VA
Thu Feb 13, 2014
The beautiful thing about the agreement is that you can qualify it by limiting it geographically and chronologically. Ideally you would want to feel comfortable enough with the agent to want to work with them long term, but there is nothing wrong with agreeing to a 30-day time frame (or less), and/or a certain county or city. We want clients to feel as good about working with us as we are with them!
0 votes
Tony Perez, Agent, Arlington, VA
Sat Feb 8, 2014
Yes, It protects all parties and your agent.

Tony Perez Real Estate
Tony Perez, Realtor / Broker
Licensed and Serving ALL of Virginia since 1987
703.304.7730 Text or call
Search the MLS 24/7 for free and see all the homes in real time at:
0 votes
Misty Mount, Agent, Yorktown, VA
Fri Jan 10, 2014
The Buyer Agreement is no longer an option in Va. However when I take buyers out to view a property we discuss it at length and you have the option to make it valid for that day only.
0 votes
Marquispress, Home Buyer, Vienna, VA
Fri Jan 10, 2014
From what I have read you do not need to sign such an agreement to look at a property. The agent will explain the Buyer Agent agreement, and ask you to. But you can always let the agent represent the seller. They may not give you negotiation advice, but they can show you the property, and let you know that they are not representing you.
0 votes
Faiza Alvi, Agent, Woodbridge, VA
Thu Jan 10, 2013
Absolutely ~

It protects your best interests and protects you as Andy explained below. I'm glad that we have this law changed starting July 1, 2012 - before this all buyer agents were basically sub agents of sellers. What an awesome thing ~ BUYERS get full-fledged agent representation: an agent working for them and protecting them in the best way he/she could and still being paid in form of commission from the seller.

Good luck with your home purchase!!


Faiza Alvi - Realtor®
Prince William Realty, Inc.
703-389-7973 (Direct)
703-580-9995 (Fax)

I believe:
Real Estate is about building relationships
& serving clients with honesty, integrity & passion.
0 votes
Dwight Bardot, Agent, Annandale, VA
Thu Jan 10, 2013
Youmight be better off asking yourself if should I sign the "right to rep" with this agent. Since in VA you need to sign one before look at property take some time and interview a couple agents and then pick theone that best fits your needs. As agents we all work a little different and some people just work better for your needs.

GoodLuck withyour home search.
0 votes
Barbara McHa…, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Thu Jan 10, 2013
Agents have to get signatures of buyers on the "Exclusive Right to Represent Buyer Agreement"
before showing properties -- its the VA law. However, that said, you should reserve the right to desolve your agreement if you are not satisfied with the agent's services.
0 votes
Don Stewart, Agent, McLean, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
The state of Virgina wants all buyers represented. The law changed on July 1 2012. Your agent is just following the law. The only other option is for them to work for the seller and then they would owe thier allegiance to the seller not you. We all have buyer broker agreements with our clients
0 votes
Claudine- Dr…, Agent, Chesapeake, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
YES! It's the Law!
Thanks for asking.

Claudine Latouche Ellis, Broker
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
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