Profile picture for user8233735

Buying Real Estate Agent obligation

A real estate agent showed me 7 houses in one day.  However, she didn't seem to be familiar with the neighborhood I am interested in.  She doesn't seem to know her direction around the neighborhood and a lot of my questions are unanswered.  Also, by "showing me" the houses, she pretty much unlock the door to the houses and let me walk around exploring the house while she tried to look for direction to the next house.  I don't think I am comfortable using her as my agent.

I have not signed an agreement with her yet, but feel bad for her as she did spent 3 to 4 hours taking me around.  Am I obligated to work with her?  Also, if I decided to buy one of the houses she showed me, do I have any obligation to use her as my buying agent?
  • April 03 2013 - Baltimore
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Answers (18)

Legally you are not obligated... But she showed you property what you like... Did she/he found this property or you selected? You still can discuss this situation with her. With respect
  • June 11 2013
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Choose someone who you want to work with. Agents can't know every neighborhood, but it doesn't take a lot of sience to learn statistics. Hiring an agent you are "buying" an experience. If you are not happy with your agnet, please her/him know and she /he can get a referral fee from the agent you choose.
  • May 07 2013
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No you are not obligated to stay with the agent especially since you did not sign an exclusive agreement.  Perhaps you could give the agent an opportunity to answer your questions, by writing down your questions and sending to the agent.  The agent could very well come back and say that any house shown to you would be procuring the sale causing confusion between the agents.  If you go to another Realtor, make sure that they know you are only interested in agents that know the area.  Pricing the property would be done by a comparative market analysis which all Realtors are able to provide regardless, if they are familiar with the area.  Please be considerate when having agents drive around showing properties because it costs their time and gas.
  • May 07 2013
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Feeling comfortable and that you trust your Realtor to get you to close is very important.  Your not obligated to use her.  Shop for another Realtor in your area that you will fill more comfortable with.  Just let the other Realtor know that you are going to be going in another direction as another Realtor said on here. 
  • May 03 2013
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Profile picture for CarinaCoronel
You don't have an obligation with her. She is not familiar with place so she is not a trusted agent that you can work with.
elizabeth bay real estate
  • May 03 2013
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Profile picture for JoshBarnettREIB
Send her a gift card and thank her for her time.  Let her know you are going to go another direction.  
  • May 01 2013
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No, you're not obligated to work with her.  Buyers assume all of the risk; it's imperative that you find a highly skilled agent to protect you.

Hire an Exclusive Buyer Agent so there won't be a conflict of interest that will jeopardize your negotiating position.  You can go to www.naeba.org for a referral.

Good luck!
  • May 01 2013
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That is a tough one The quick answer is NO you are not obligated - you did not sign a contract with her. If there were things you liked about her - maybe you might give her the courtesy of telling her your concerns and see if she can answer to them to your satisfaction - maybe she was having a bad day. Or if she was new - maybe she just needs to prepare better. But you deserve to have a competent Realtor -ask around for referrals.  Calling the agent and explaining would be appreciated I am sure by the agent who you no longer wish to work with, 

Good Luck.
  • April 04 2013
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You, my friend user8233735, are stuck in a classic realtor buyer paradox.

Many buyers don't get a referral or do their online research reading testimonials, etc. on buyer's agents (or listing agents). They simply stop in the office of the biggest firm or use the guy with the best bus bench ad. And the guy on the bus bench, he does everything, everywhere. You want a mobile home 200 miles away or a mansion on the beach, he handles them all. Why? Cause there are no salaries in real estate and an agent is forced to find money wherever it presents itself. And too many agents refuse to specialize, and gain true competency, because they are too worried about where there next paycheck will come from, so they never turn down business and try to b.s. their way through the sale. After all, this is not a profession that requires advanced knowledge of anything, other than the ability to maneuver a key and smile.

So, you obviously found a buyer's agent belonging to the above description. Whether you were here in Chicago, or rural Wyoming, this is fairly common. But now is your time to jump. Far!

Use Zillow, or Yelp, or your friends who have bought places, and start looking for a buyer's agent who specializes in the neighborhoods you want to live, and works with the type of properties you prefer (vintage homes, lofts, two flats, subdivision nightmares, etc.). Your odds of having the same soulless experience again will be slim to none.

Be free!
  • April 03 2013
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This is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll make in your life so make sure you're happy with the people you're working with. Lender and Realtor.
  • April 03 2013
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Profile picture for JoshBarnettREIB
No and No.  If she cannot make you feel comfortable while showing you houses, how will you feel when it comes negotiation time? 
  • April 03 2013
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Profile picture for JDaniel
That's a great question. There are some excellent replies here, a few of which mention Procuring Cause. I am not sure if you are familiar with what the term means so I thought I would give an explanation of it just in case you are not.

Here is the definition of Procuring Cause from Black's Law Dictionary. Incidentally, I am not an attorney.

"Procuring Cause. The proximate cause; the cause originating a series of events, which, without break in their continuity, result in the accomplishment of the prime object. The inducing cause; the direct or proximate cause. Substantially synonymous with "efficient cause."

This can be a difficult issue however, it is one that you need not be concerned with. It is between the agents.

There are some great agents in this business and this person may be one of them but just not a good match for you. For a decision this important you cannot afford to use someone unfamiliar with the area. They will not be able to give you good advice on prices in the area, among other things.

One way to find an agent is to go to some open houses in the area on your own. That way you can talk with agents and find out face to face if you are a match and if that agent knows their stuff!
  • April 03 2013
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I know this is a short answer but NO. You are not obligated to use her as a Buyers Agent. Your agent probably should have figured it out half way through the showing process that they probably were not the best one suited to represent you in the best manner for this purchase. Let's be clear however, there is a difference between a Buyers Agent and a Showing Agent. Second, you should GOOGLE the neighborhoods NAME and "Realtors or Real Estate Agents" and see what comes up. At least you will see what agents may work in that particular market.
  • April 03 2013
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Profile picture for Cindy Quinton
I work in some areas that can be extraordinarily confusing to find the house (one are of several hundred homes is comprised of fairlane court, east and west, fairlane street, north and south, fairlalne place...well you get the point). 

I also, try to gauge whether my clients are needing me to show them every detail of the home, or stay out of their way to allow them to figure out on their own if it will work for them. I honestly feel silly (like a Price is Right girl) showing every detail.

However, I would be very concerned about unanswered questions. I would send a list a detailed questions by email, or call her ask those questions. And if you are not happy with her services, by all means let her know. My clients often ask questions like "what would this house sell for if it were more updated," and I can't answer that question and neither can any other agent without doing some research. But if you tell her your concerns, and they are not promptly met, you are entitled to move on. 

Regardless, if you end up buying a home that she showed you, but you use a new agent, it isn't your problem, it is your new agent's problem. 
  • April 03 2013
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Dear User,
You are not forced to use a  particular Buyer Agent that you do not like, or want to use. It would be nice if you could let the Agent know your plans before you look for another Realtor, so that your present agent is aware.
  • April 03 2013
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Profile picture for Giovanna Bellas

Whether you did or did not sign anything with the agent you are never obligated to work with an agent if you feel that they will not be able to represent you best interests. 

There may be an issue of procurring cause if you decide to purchase one of the homes that agent showed you.  But again it is nothing that cannot be fixed if you know what you are doing.

Many buyers in this market are referred a friend of a friend, or find someone online, or use an agent that they used years ago without going through the process of interviewing the agent to see if that agent's style or the agent's neighborhood expertise is going to fit in with what the buyer is looking for in agent. 

In your specific situation I would decide on an agent that is going to fit your needs that you have interviewed and is going to provide you with the service that you want from an agent.  I would also be open and honest with the agent that showed you homes about your decision to work with someone else.  Many times your new agent will make an arrangement with the previous agent or the two of them together will find a way to ensure that the agent who showed you the homes in compensated, while your new agent is the one representing you in the purchase of your new home.

At the end of the day you must remember, you have decide to work with whomever you feel most comfortable with. You owe it to yourself to have the best possible agent represent you needs in the transaction.

My last note is that I am not an attorney, but the Maryland Real Estate Commission can give you information on your rights as a buyer of real estate in the state of Maryland.  They can be reached at 410.230.6206.  Most of the information you need is on a form you should have be given at the time of first meeting your agent called "Understanding Who a Real Estate Agent Represents."

  • April 03 2013
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If she showed you the homes, you certainly have a moral obligation to give her the agency fee, and more especially since she might have been out of her "comfort zone" in an area she might not know as well as a professional courtesy to your desires for location. In terms of her unlocking the door and then concentrating on directions for the next home, I am not sure what you were expecting...if the agent is not the listing agent, but has developed a list of homes to view with your requirements in mind, getting you to the home to look around seems to me to be the "objective" completed. I prefer the agent to allow me to look around without being next to me when I am looking at properties...
I will let others address the legal aspects of your question, as I am neither an attorney nor a real estate agent.
Certainly should you wish to see other properties with a different agent, or you wish to sign a buyers agreement with another agent, I see no issue there. However, should you sign a buyers agreement with another agent, make sure the new agent knows which properties you have been shown by agent #1.
You might also discuss your discomfort with agent #1 and see how they might improve so you feel more comfortable. Seven homes in one day seems like an a good job by agent #1. Almost super human for you both!
Best wishes, Jim
  • April 03 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
How did you chose this agent?    What did you discuss as communication style?  Many buyers hate for their agent to wander the house with them chattering and prefer to be left alone with their own thoughts.  If you  have a different preference,  you need to be clear. 
,
Selecting a good agent is not easy, and requires you to interview a number carefully (phone works).   The first one from the internet search may be okay, but like all professionals there are only a few who are top.

If you buy one of the houses she showed you, yes, she is likely to have an argument for procuring cause.
  • April 03 2013
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