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Changing Real Estate Buyers Agent?

We recently started working with a buyer's agent. We met with her once for a consultation, and about a week later we went to see 8 homes in one afternoon. We liked one home a lot and made an offer. The end result was that we withdrew the offer after the home inspection. We did not sign any agreement with this agent, and we have decided that she is not the right fit for us. Can we discontinue the relationship, or can this agent claim that she is owed commission if we switch agents because of the time commitment she has put in so far? This is in PA.
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August 20 2013 - US
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Answers (7)

I'm a PA agent.  it is standard practice that we HAVE to have a written buyers agency with a buyer when we submit an offer.  Go back to your agreement of sale and look on the first page.  It names the two agents and what their relationship is to the agent.  See if your agent checked "buyers agent"on that form.

Be sure you check all the documents you signed.  You may have signed form BAC without realizing it.  You can always terminate a buyers agency.

That said, if you return to one of the 8 properties and make an offer with another agent - the original agent who showed you the property has a claim for procuring cause.  You may find yourself in a position where you owe that agent a commission if you buy one of those homes.
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August 22 2013
It doesn't seem to be an issue if you haven't signed an agency agreement with your agent; however, it may be sticky if you decide to buy a house that she showed you because of she was the "procuring cause". If you don't work well with her, it will be best to let her know upfront in a nice way. It may not be a good fit and as an agent I rather have a happy client. Do take into considering that it may not be your agent's fault for the last deal falling through, they probably saved you headaches in the future.
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August 22 2013
You can switch agents without owing a commission if you have not signed a Buyer's Brokerage Agreement. The agreement only covers the houses that the agent brings to your attention unless otherwise specified. Sometime the agent/client relationship is not a good fit.
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August 22 2013
It is always best to utilize the agent who has spent the time to help you.  If, however, the agent didn't properly help you, I can see how you'd like to utilize another one.

Just put yourself in their place and do what you'd like done if you were on the other side.

Good luck with your purchase.

Cameron
[Hotlink removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for information.]
Corona, CA
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August 22 2013
You stated you were working with a buyer's agent. You should have entered into an agreement for that to occur. Often times an agent is blamed when a sale falls apart, but the agent sounds like she did a good job. She found you a house you put a bid in on and got an inspector who protected you from losing alot of money, I am assuming since that was what killed the deal. Realtors get paid by comm. give her a chance to earn one since she has put in so much time already. I just settled on a deal that finally went through. We had put in four bids on four different houses that fell through. It happens, don't blame your realtor instead thank her for saving you money down the road. If you really feel you must part ways then be honest and tell her. Frankly I don't take a buyer out unless they sign a buyer brokerage, its not legal in VA for us to do so. Not sure about PA.
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August 21 2013
Sometimes the relationship doesn't make the right connection and that's life. It's best to open about it with your current agent and even if you did have an agreement it would be a better business decision for the agent to accommodate your needs.

The only sticky part would be, as has been mentioned, you go back to the same property with a new agent or on your own, or if you went back to properties that the first agent had shown you and attempted to make offers.

Remember that the agent's job is to place your offer in the context of the market and guide you through a purchase and sale agreement, it isn't to find you homes or let you into see property.  The internet took over the finding job a decade ago. Sometimes hearing the context of the market isn't an easy pill to swallow, so find someone you trust to give it to you straight.
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August 21 2013
If you have no written agreement, you are under no obligation to continue to use your former agent. The only time it becomes and issue is when a sale falls through but the buyers go back and purchase that home without their agent. In that situation the agent may be due commission due to procuring cause. But this is most often an issue when the buyers have signed a representation agreement.

Working with an agent is often like a relationship. And sometimes relationships don't work out.
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August 20 2013
 
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