1st time buyer. Called listing agent on a house. I love the house, but not the agent. Can I get a buyer agent & still buy the house I was shown?

Asked by Shirley, Cincinnati, OH Wed Nov 17, 2010

I actually called the number on the signs for three different houses. Both agents asked if I already had an agent -- to which I said no (the 1st one, I said this was the 1st house I saw -- and the 2nd I said I spoke with the listing agent for the first house). I asked them both to send something my way if they came across a home that fit my criteria. One agent sent one other home; another sent 3 -- none of which work. I feel like they really want me to buy their respective listed houses.

The 3rd agent asked what I was looking for, if I was working with another agent (I said the listing agents); but proceeded to send dozens of listings my way that fit my criteria. But I really like the first house I saw. Can I have this 3rd agent as a buyer agent to represent me in buying the first house? What is the protocol?

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20
James Deskins, Agent, Worthington, OH
Thu Nov 18, 2010
Shirley, some of the people answering and missing something. First off, DO worry about commission, that can be a problem in this case. Here's what people are missing: procuring cause is not about representation, it's about who gets paid. In Ohio you are always free to choose ANY type of representation that you want. You shouldn't be looking at homes with the listing agents, that is a mistake (I won't drone on here, that's a discussion for another day). The listing agent for the first home may claim that she is the procuring cause because she showed you the home. And she may be right. That doesn't mean you can't use agent #3 as "your" agent, is just means that agent #1 can refuse to allow her to get paid. You just need to understand that procuring cause and commissions are two separate issues.

Procuring cause allows for a "broken chain of events." If you don't want to use the first agent then sign an agreement with the third and go look at some more homes to see if there is anything else out there. If you go back to that first one let the agent know that you are now represented and that you saw several homes since you saw the first one. Legally (IMO), that should unbind you from the procuring cause claim.

Whatever you do, don't mess around with having the listing agent as "your" agent, it would not be to your benefit to use an agent who's job is to represent the seller. Find a way out of that.

FYI, I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.
1 vote
Jim Basquette…, Agent, Cincinnati, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Shirley,
It is best to find an agent you are commfortable with and work exclusively with them before you find a home you want. You are entitled to your own representation, but things may have become complicated on this home.

I suggest you speak with some buyers agents and find one you like. You can them l;et them know about the situation on this home. They can contact the agent and try to work out an arrangement so you can get the agent you want AND the home you want.

I am primiarily a listing agent and have shown homes to people who mentioned that they had a Realtor already, but called me because my number was in the ad. I have always allowed them to buy through their agent even if I was the procurring cause. I called their agent and let them know I showed the home before knowing they were working with the agent and told them if their client liked the home, they could feel comfortable writing the contract. The seller was happy, I was happy, the other agent was happy and the buyer was happy.

If you are happy wityh the 3rd agent, explain the situatution to them. If not, I can recommend Jill Johnson as a buyers agent. You can find her profile on Trulia or the link below.
1 vote
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Hi Shirley, I'm back because our responses were crossing - my recommendation - sit down with the agent that you want to work with, be very clear of what interaction you have had with the listing agent, including whether you have actually been shown the property by her. You WILL want to visit with your buyer's agent. Your agent - perhaps with the support of her broker - should be able to sort through the rest.

Best,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
1 vote
James Gordon…, Agent, Hamilton, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
If the agent that is representing the seller showed you the property first and you said you were not working with a Realtor® there may be a procuring cause problem. What may be best is to have the agent you want to represnt you find out from the agent that showed you the property if they would take a tip fee to allow the Realtor® you want to represent you.
The Realtor® representing you will have to give up some money (about 25%) but you get represented and advised. The Realtor® representing the seller if you write an offer with them becomes a dual agent and can not advise anyone but represents the transaction not either party.
1 vote
Tom Sturm, Agent, Cincinnati, OH
Thu Nov 18, 2010
As a former branch office manager and sr. sales vice president, i feel 100 per cent comfortable in telling you that you absolutely are entitled to choose your own representation. In Ohio, state law for agency allows you to select the agent you wish to work with ... and just being shown the house by the listing agent does not constitute an established agency relationship. The only way you would have any locked-in requirement to use them is if you signed an Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement. Very few agents use that in this area, so my guess would be the only thing you might have signed is a brokerage "Consumer Guide to Agency Relationships" brochure acknowledgment ... and that's just an explanation, not a contract.

The agent who represents the seller CAN also represent you as a buyer, in which case he or she becomes a dual agent (bottom line being, they cannot bias their representation toward either party, but must just facilitate a fair transaction). I do about 1 in 5 of my listing sales as a dual agent, and it IS possible to do a great job for all involved ..... but if you already don't feel like the listing agent is a good fit, there's absolutely no reason to use them to purchase the home.

Next steps for you ... call the agent you like, and ask him or her to schedule a showing for you on the home of interest. They'll walk you thru, and should be able to assist you from their in determining a fair market range of value, help you write an offer to purchase and hopefully see the transaction thru to making it your Home Sweet Home.
0 votes
James Gordon…, Agent, Hamilton, OH
Thu Nov 18, 2010
Shirley my answer was made on the assumption that you had not written an offer yet. You started the chain of events that lead to procurring cause when you called the listing agent to view the property.

Lets see how this would look at an arbitration hearing.
1. Buyer Shirley calls Agent A to view property 123 Agent A has listed.
2. Agent A asks if Buyer Shirley is represented by an agent and Buyer Shirley says no.
3. Agent A shows Buyer Shirley the property that Agent A has listed.
4. Agent A gives information on property to Buyer Shirley.
5. Agent A sends information on at least one more home to Buyer Shirley.
6 Agent B writes offer on property 123 for Buyer Shirley.

None of this would matter on what you would pay in commissions unless you have a Buyer Broker agreement signed. Then you may owe a commission if your buyers agent does not get paid the full amount.
At this point talk to the Realtor® that you want to represent you and like I said in my first answer have them work it out. It may meen a tip fee to the listing Realtor® but it will save problems down the road.
0 votes
Carol Lee, Agent, Corona del Mar, CA
Wed Nov 17, 2010
In CA, you have the right to work with anyone you want and the agent that writes the contract is your agent. The rules may be different where you live, so double check with your new agent.

That being said, it is great to let everyone know where you stand in advance. Although the listing agent may be disappointed, it is most likely that they will accept your decision after you've made it clear in writing (even a nice email.)

I would have your new agent contact the listing agents for you right away too, to confirm your intention to work with him/her exclusively. If there is a problem, the agents and their managers can work through it before you make an offer, so that you are out of the fray.

You have the right to have representation. It is negotiated in to the commission agreement when the listing was taken. When agents 'double-end' a sale, there is the possibility of a conflict of interest. You could say that you prefer to work with a specific agent on that basis alone.

The third agent seems industrious and professional. I like it that he/she asked if you were working with someone before proceeding to help you.

Good luck!
0 votes
Brian Hubert, Agent, Cincinnati, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Shirley,

Without an exclusive buyer representation agreement signed you have the right to work with any broker/agent you wish. After all, it is your decision and you can merely voice your concern with the listing broker about fair representation. As another mentioned, it is the listing agents first responsibility to represent the seller fairly and negotiate the best deal for them.

Good Luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.mycityliving.com
0 votes
Kris Cooper, Agent, Cincinnati, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Shirley,
The points about procurring cause is for the brokers to work out, that can be handled outside of your purchase transaction. You absolutely can hire representation besides the listing agent. Be advised to seek a professional real estate constulant to negotiate terms so you can purchase the real estate. Leave the ethics and state guidelines to the brokers involved. Research your local database of Real Estate consultants, we suggest you interview at least 3 and look for services like negotiating systems that will create leverage for you, limitless resources for you to use during you contraction purchase period, and determine the consultant that has highest ability to move forward with the home you want under the best possible terms for you.
Can you review a list of our references here:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/cincinnatihomefinder

http://www.incredibleagents.com/real-estate-agents/OH/Cincin…
0 votes
Linda S. Cef…, Agent, Franklin, WI
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Shirley,

Things are usually different from state to state, but here in Wisconsin having a buyer's agency contract does not necessarily give me as the agent procuring cause. I don't want to go on here about all the different scenarios where this may apply, which is why I suggested that you contact your board to make sure.
0 votes
Christina Ca…, Agent, Beavercreek, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Hi Shirley,
I'll be happy to represent you, AND deal with the procuring cause issue. And don't worry about commissions - here in Ohio it's the seller who pays the agent(s) involved. Feel free to call me anytime!
0 votes
Steve Fischer, Agent, Cincinnati, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
I have to agree that procuring cause might enter into the equation. You can certainly use another agent. He or she may not get paid for representing you. I would have the agent you like talk to the listing agent in a respectful manner indicating that she or he is now working with you. If the listing agent seems to have problem you might get the brokers involved. The duty of the listing agent is to work to get the home sold for the listing client not be a dual agent. The reason we have agency is to protect the client and if you are not comfortable with a dual agent you have the right to not be represented by the same agent in a transaction. A call to the board of realtors is certainly a good idea.
0 votes
Sandra Riggin, , Salisbury, MD
Wed Nov 17, 2010
As long as you haven't signed any buyer agent agreement you are free to pursue any agent you want.
0 votes
Linda S. Cef…, Agent, Franklin, WI
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Whether you have signed anything or not, you may still have to be concerned with procuring cause. Contact the real estate board in OH. Then you will know for sure where you stand.
0 votes
Barbara Kach…, Agent, Twinsburg, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Absoletely! The listing agent is representing the seller and their job is to get the house sold for the seller.

You as the buyer, have the right to your own representation.
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Nov 17, 2010
I think James nailed it - I would just add that if it only comes down to the agent sending you information, you should be just fine. Procuring cause could come into play if you actually visited the property with the agent, but the agents should be able to work it out.

Your story is illustrative of the larger point and that is the importance of finding the right agent for you. It sounds as though the third agent has done a better job of listening and earning your business. Be upfront with her and she should be able to help you and navigate the particulars of your interaction with the listing agent.

Look at the upside - you've found a home you really like and an agent you like as well - that is a big homerun. Good luck to you!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Shirley, Home Buyer, Cincinnati, OH
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Just to clarify; I have not signed anything with anyone. Nor have I made an offer on anything yet.
0 votes
Donna Johnson, Agent, Kalispell, MT
Wed Nov 17, 2010
If you have not signed a buyer broker agreement, you are still open to select an agent. If theagent of the first home showed you the first home, there may be some procuring cause. In that case, any new agent that you select may offer to pay the agent of the first home a small percentage for procuring cause. It would be important to discuss this with any buyer agent you select. There are agents who strictly act as buyer agents only and do not have listings. It is generally in your best interest to have your own agent separate from the listing agent particularly for negotiation and due diligence especially if you don't know or don't trust the first agent.
0 votes
Linda S. Cef…, Agent, Franklin, WI
Wed Nov 17, 2010
You should contact the real estate board of Ohio. They will be able to tell you who has procuring cause.
0 votes
Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Wed Nov 17, 2010
Unless you have signed something that binds you to one agent, you should be free to choose. Be careful if you have signed anything. You don't want to be bound to more than one commission.

I am not a lawyer, but, if you've signed an agreement, the terms of the first agreement will dictate what your obligations are. If you have only spoken to agents, then you probably don't have any obligation to anyone.
0 votes
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