do i have to pay the realtor that showed me the home i want, or can i switch?

Asked by Tammy Olivas, 89436 Wed Sep 5, 2007

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Carrie Crowe…, Agent, Southaven, MS
Wed Sep 5, 2007
Why would you not want to use the realtor that showed you the home? If he/she is the one that showed you the home she is the procurring cause. If the agent that showed you the home is also the listing agent and you want seperate representation that is fine. If you signed an agency agreement with the 1st realtor than you are obligated to them. If you did not sign an agreement, and want to use someone else, if the first realtor finds out they could try to claim the commission from the 2nd realtor. It could end up being a lose-lose for both of them. Be careful and let us know why. If you lack confidence in the first agent, let the new agent know. They should do the right thing.
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4 votes
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Wed Sep 5, 2007
Hi Tammy:
I for one would like to know your reasons for wanting to cut the person responsible for bringing you to the home you want. Especially, if as Jennifer pointed out, this person took time out of there life so that you could go on with yours.
3 votes
Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Wed Sep 5, 2007
Hi Tammy,

First of all, unless the home you covet is FSBO and the owner is not paying any cooperating commission, you do not pay your Realtor directly. A Buyer's Agent receives her commission from the seller's proceeds.

Secondly, whether or not you can switch will largely depend on if you signed an Agreement, and, if so, what type of agreement. Here is a brief article on the different types of agreements:

It's understandable that a buyer and an agent don't always 'click'. Of course it is within your right to feel comfortable with your agent. At the same time, there is what is known as "procuring cause": A broker will be regarded as the "procuring cause" of a sale, so as to be entitled to commission, if his efforts are the foundation on which the negotiations resulting in a sale are begun

-- and your current agent may be within her rights to receive commission, even if you switch to another agent.

Good luck!
2 votes
Jennifer Fer…, , Kingwood, TX
Wed Sep 5, 2007
You can switch, if you didn't sign a Buyers Representation Agreement of some kind with the showing agent, but it's not a very nice thing to do...the showing agent took his or her time away from their own business and perhaps family in order to show you the home.
2 votes
Mr.P, , Arizona
Wed Sep 5, 2007
It depends , do you have a buyer broker agreement, It sounds as though she procured cause.
My big question is why do you want to switch?????
2 votes
Mark Palace, Agent, Satellite Beach, FL
Thu Sep 6, 2007
Dear Tammy Olivas: The only time you have to pay the realtor that showed you the home that you want is when you have an agreement with that realtor's real estate brokerage firm. In Florida, said agreement generally takes the form of an exclusive buyer broker agreement. If you would like more information on this matter, please call/email us and we would be happy to discuss it with you. Best, Mark Palace, Founder/CEO Palace Properties International, Inc., 2065 Hwy A1A, Ste 1202, Indian Harbour Beach, FL 32937. tel: 321.704.9305
1 vote
Pam Winterba…, Agent, Danville, VA
Wed Sep 5, 2007
There are many answers to your question. Looking at this from a Professional Standards point of view this could be a procuring cause case waiting to happen. What that means is a dispute between the Realtor who showed you the property to the one who you switch to.

As a buyer you have a right to select your own agent. If you have signed a "buyer broker agreement" you may have already made that selection. The seller usually pays the commission.

If you have not signed an agreement with agent # 1 you would need to notify them you no longer wish to work with, in essance fire them, ideally in writing as well as by phone. This is a very delicate situation.

I am curious as to why you are considering switching? Did the listing agent show you the property and maybe you were working with someone else?
1 vote
Bob Chaney, , Littleton, CO
Wed Sep 5, 2007
The answer is Wide OPEN...Yes, No or Maybe. The commission is almost always paid by the Seller to their Broker's company who then pays the listing and buyer's agents. If you switch then the home owner's would pay the commission and that company would pay your second agent not your first one. Unless it is a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) who is not paying a comission (cooperating) or it is a discount broker not offering to pay a buyer's agent.. Those are conditions your realtor should check out before showing you the home.

So, if you entered into a buyer's agreement you might be contractually obligated to your buyer's agent that showed you the home. A signed buyer's agency agreement just demonstrates you had a conversation at some earlier time about buying a home with the agent. It does not necessarily mean they were procuring cause for the sale. Also, will the your first agent's company want to sue you for a commisssion, it is generally bad business to sue your clients.

Again why are you wanting to switch? If you are dissatisfied with the agent either let the buyers agreement expire, call their broker and talk about your concerns as the actual contract is with the company not the agent. This will usually get results.

Another resource for you is your state's Real Estate Commission. It is there for you not the agent.

Good Luck and think how you would feel about doing work for someone and having them pay someone else for it.
1 vote
Heidi Oleson, Agent, Reno, NV
Tue Nov 30, 2010
Tammy Olivas, shame on you! Unless there are 2 of you, I recognize your name as a Realtor. Perhaps you should read your code of eithics. Ask your broker at Ferrari Lund what you should do. If there are 2 Tammy Olivas in the Reno/Sparks area and you are not a Realtor, I appologize.
0 votes
Eric Crosby, Agent, Reno, NV
Fri Dec 7, 2007
As long as you did not sign a Buyers Brokerage agreement, you are o.k.
0 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Wed Sep 5, 2007
It depends upon your reason for switching agents. The client’s needs and representation come first. The agents right to be paid for his/her efforts which result in a sale cannot be overlooked.
Agents do not get paid until closing, and they absorb a lot of expenses up front and along the way. Agents also invest much time before a closing happens, and many time investments never result in a sale.

If you have reason to doubt that the agent who showed you the property will fail to represent your interests in the transaction, you do have the right to first and foremost be concerned with the outcome of your transaction. If that is your concern, then I suggest you discuss your concerns with either that agent or his/her broker. Perhaps additional support from another agent in the office will meet all of your needs, provide you great representation and keep the original agent on board. Maybe your concerns would cause the broker to assign another agent in lieu of the first, and the broker would determine a reasonable sharing of the commission between the agents.

If you simply switch agents on your own, the original agent who showed the property may make a claim against the second agent for the commission. Procuring cause is more than simply showing a property, and is established after a complete review of all of the details that lead to a sale. If you have an buyer agency agreement with the first agent, you might find yourself accountable for payment of commissions. Even if you are personally not responsible for payment, do you want to be responsible for your second agent to not get paid if the initial agent successfully claims the commission? That’s why it is better to simply be up front with all parties.

I would ask that you be respectful of agents who invest their time and spend a deal of money in the hopes of representing you. By all means, your needs as clients must be well served by your agent. You need not be stuck in a situation with inadequate representation simply because one showed you the property. You will need to rely upon this agents skill, knowledge and availability through the rest of the transaction.

So, the answer to your question depends on who showed the property, under what circumstances and why you want to switch agents. Sellers generally pay the commisison from proceeds at closing.
0 votes
Ray Wood, , 99654
Wed Sep 5, 2007
Not unless you've signed an exclusive Buyer agency contract with them. Our state (Alaska) requires that you acknowledge in writing that you understand how the licensee you're working with represents you. But that's not a contract.

As the Buyer, you choose the person you want to work witth. My advice is to find a good one and stick with them. But don't feel obligated to stck with someone you don't like.
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