Hi all, we’re shopping for our first house and have a question. Made an offer on a place with the seller’s agent (turned out she’s kind of a family friend) agreeing to a split of the buyers’ commission. We signed a dual agency agreement with her at the time (CAR Form AD and CAR PRBS). That place didn’t work out but the lady really charmed my wife and convinced her to look at some places together. Now she’s saying she’s our buyers agent and actually threatened to sue my wife if we bid on a place w/o her. Oh and obviously has no interest in splitting the commission.
Realtor buddy of mine said she’s full of it, would appreciate any input from this august group.
Read exactly what you signed, particularly the part where it says you must her x % if you buy a house. There probably is also a date that indicates when the agreement ends, and possibly ways to terminate it early.
Do you have that in writing? I’d consider taking out a local newspaper ad. It’s not libel/slander if it’s true. Or at the very least, if that was just a verbal threat, send her an email and ask her:
"Can you put in writing that if I buy a house without, you will sue us? Because I want to educate other homebuyers who may not be aware of this rule and I’d love to put your name on the citation! It appears I’m stuck with you now and I want to help other homebuyers aware so they can avoid this uncomfortable situation.
PS - I’m going to forward your statement to the State Realty Board as a double verification so they can be on record for my newspaper ad as well."
Nope, jokes on me. In between the Wire Act Notice and before the Building Inspection notice is an exclusive buyers agent agreement. Complete with a $595 “regulatory fee.” She used her friend of the family status to sneak that in even though we came to her as the selling agent specifically without a buyers agent for the savings.
Just call the managing broker of the office and explain that you no longer wish to use her services and ask for a release of the prior agency contract. If s/he balks, then explain that you will be forced to escalate the matter to various organizations including the NAR ethics board, the local MLS ethics board, the local TV investigative reporter, and a variety of community organizations that work the brokerage.
I was in a similar situation, where I had signed the paperwork to hire a Buyer’s Agent. A few weeks into my search, it became clear that she wasn’t able to help me to due scheduling conflicts (turns out she had another part time job). I served her with paperwork that I want out of the agreement, and her broker called me the next day and asked me to give him a chance, and he will work with me exclusively. I agreed, and I had a good experience, and bought a house through him. This was before I even knew there was such a thing as a rebating agent, so if you are looking for a split of commission, that may be a sticking point.
Every listing agent tries to snag direct buyers as clients. Matter of fact, I was told by a broker friend that the main purpose of Open Houses isn’t even to sell the listed house but to fish for new clients. When they try that with me I tell them I’d be happy to work with them on any other house where they are the listing agent. They then get quite annoyed.
I solicit listing agents. That is a solid 2-3% extra you can knock off the price of the home. They’d only get half of the commission anyway. Why wouldn’t they want to “sell” and “buy” the home themselves? No back and forth with another agent to deal with. Same commission, less headache.
Please read everything you sign carefully, especially anything having to do with real estate purchases/sales.
I had a family friend who wanted to be our buyer’s agent. I read through the agreement, struck the part where she got commission on any house I bought (versus ones she presented to me), put in a termination for convenience clause and reduced what I would have to pay her if I bought a house that had no buyer’s agent commission. She grumbled a little bit, but when I gave the slightest whiff of not needing an agent, she gladly signed.
I think many people misunderstand how real estate commissions work. The selling agreement states that the listing agent is charged with finding a buyer from their clientele and is due 6% for that. There is nothing wrong with an agent doing an open house and getting paid full commission if a buyer comes out of it. Well, other than the fact that 6% is much too high and is collusion. Giving half to a buyer’s agent is basicly using a subcontractor to deliver a buyer, which is actually, the LISTING agent’s job.
Listen, I hate real estate commissions as much as anyone - I used a rebating agent when I purchased my home. And sneaking hidden paperwork into a stack so no one will catch it is wrong. But if a listing agent brings a buyer to the table (even if you contact them about a house first) they are due 6%, not 3%.
Redfin didn’t make me sign an agreement until I was submitting an offer and only for that particular house. They have their stuff together from a service perspective, even if the rebate offer has dropped significantly.
I had not actively been looking for a house, but found one for which I wanted to place an offer on a Sunday. I looked up highly rated Redfin agents in my area, emailed one with the details and told her I wanted her to be my agent and I needed the offer in by 11am the next morning. She called me within 10 minutes and had my offer presented the next day. Didn’t end up getting the place, but the process was super easy and the agent was responsive & professional.
After that offer she asked if she could help me with any other offers and I told her I would contact her if I needed her, but otherwise didn’t need help. She was very gracious and professional. I ended up using a rebating realtor I knew for future offers, but liked my interaction with Redfin and the fact I didn’t need to make a commitment to them just to place one offer.
While that may be contractually true, I can still submit an offer (with the 3% discount built in) via a listing agent and they can work it out with their seller. I agree that the commission is out of my hands, but that doesn’t mean an agent is dumb and will try to stick to that. I have no problem telling them straight up that I would offer $x but I am offering 3% less because you don’t have to pay a buyer’s agent. They can work it out from there with their seller. It’s not as black and white as you imply.
It also works in the other direction. When I was selling my place (without an agent), I made it known to anyone who wanted to present an offer that I would include any agent commission in considering offers. Some agents reduced their fee for the clients presenting an offer, some didn’t.