What is my olbligation to a buyer's agent that helped me search, but I found a FSBO on my own?

Asked by Sos_roch, Rochester, NY Tue Jul 21, 2009

I have been working with a buyer's agent without a contract for some time. I found a house on my own that is for sale by owner. Do I have any obligation to the buyer's agent? Should I use my buyer's agent to write up the paperwork for a flat fee or maybe a reduced commission if the seller agrees?

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G. Harlan Furbush’s answer
G. Harlan Fu…, Agent, Pittsford, NY
Wed Jul 22, 2009
Unless you signed a Buyers Agreement/Contract with the agent you technically have no legal obligation. Do not confuse the New State Agency Disclosure as a "Contract" with your agent - it is not.

You may find it helpful to include your agent in the pursuit of the FSBO. You may want to consider having your agent contact the FSBO to negotiate a fee, or commission, for themself so they can continue to assist you through the purchasing process. After all, finding the right home is the easy part - getting to closing often is a whole other story.

From my 18 years experience I would consider it wise to contact your agent and talk about what possibilities there are to continue the working relationship. It may rewuire your agent being flexible with their commission structure. For instance I just assisted a client in their purchase of a FSBO in Webster. I spoke with the seller and agreed upon a 2.5% commission instead of the customary 3%. I also explained to the seller that they would also enjoy the benefit of having me set up inspections, appointments, etc. Everybody won.
Web Reference:  http://www.VanHarlan.com
1 vote
Pete Elsner, Agent, Kirkwood, MO
Tue Jul 21, 2009
The thing people don't realize about FSBO'S is that they (the sellers)are trying to save ALL the commission, they aren't passing on the savings! They usually overprice their homes as well! Many buyers think they are getting a good deal on a fsbo, but in my experience, every person that I know that bought a fsbo and later went to sell it, found out they had overpaid! Buyer Beware!
Web Reference:  http://www.PeteElsner.com
1 vote
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Tue Jul 21, 2009
Buyer agent invested their belief in you as a client, they exhausted their time, gas, dedication to your file, WOW you locate a property on your own.

QUESTION: Is do you know why buyer and seller use agents prevent from being sued, contracts, laws of that state, have a team of professionals who work on YOUR BEHALF from inspection, appriasals, loans, title, coordination of approx. 25 other people you will never see or meet have you on your deadline date to close without loss of your escrow money.

Many buyers end up in lawsuits return to their former agent DEMAINDING FOR HELP at time tooooooooooo late.

National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Mortgage Loan Officer, Credit Repair Lecturer
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Lynn911
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1 vote
Cameron Piper, Agent, Forest Lake, MN
Tue Jul 21, 2009

In the end you have no legal obligation if you never signed anything. You do however have an ethical obligation to the agent who spent time and money on you as a client. What that means is up to you.

Cameron Piper
Web Reference:  http://www.campiper.com
0 votes
Megan Warren, , Incline Village, NV
Tue Jul 21, 2009
I agree with Lynn. Why would you want to represent yourself? The buyers/sellers of a FSBO may think it beneficial to do an inside deal as they will not have to pay a cooperating agent and may be able to negotiate on the sales price. However, you expose yourself to huge risk when not represented by a qualified Broker/Real Estate agent. You may also not be aware of local area nuances regarding restrictions,buried oil tanks or limitiations to the property and area before it is too late. If you were not overly impressed with your agents skills, find another qualified agent to represent you. In our county, the buyers (may be different in your region) do not the pay the commission, if the seller is willing to cooperate with agents you should use your agent or another agent to write up the offer and represent your interests through the negotiations and subsequent escrow. Good Luck.
0 votes
Beverly Booth, , 14618
Tue Jul 21, 2009
Depends on if you signed a buyers agreement and what the agreement states. If you didn't sign anything than it doesn't cost you anything. Feel free to call me and we can discuss it in detail. (585) 295-3777 Beverly Booth, HUNT Real Estate ERA Columbus Division
0 votes
Penny Bradsh…, , Vancouver, WA
Tue Jul 21, 2009
Without a signed Agency agreement you are not legally obligated to the buyer's agent. However, agents donot work for free if the agent did due diligence to find you a home then ethically that person deserves to be paid for their efforts and should receive a commission.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Jul 21, 2009

Unless you had a signed agreement with the agent to use them exclusively, you have no obligation. Further most agents understand the nature of the business and have the ability to accept disappointment.

We often share with people in your situation that the best thing you can do is remember them and given the opportunity, refer family, friends, or potential buyers and sellers to them.

Good luck
0 votes
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