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If Liked the condo, but not the fact my agent told a hidden comission after showing the condo??

I am hunting a condo as a first time buyer, and basically knew which condo apts I wanted before meeting a real estate broker, who was referred by my friends. We met first just for coffee, and asked questions about him and procedures. I thought he is good enough, and asked him to show the condos I wanted to see. Then, after seeing the condos, I asked about the offer procedure again in hypothetical situations to prepare to-do-lists (because I don't know if I want to offer yet), he mentioned $1000 agent fee upon submitting an offer letter - which I have never heard of!! I asked other agents in area and they said they don't charge such, their commission is from the sold price only. Now, I want to work with other agents, since there is no paper/contract signed with the agent, and we spent only 2-3 days and he had access of only 2-3 condos to see. Can I switch to another agent now, and would it be OK to submit offer(s) to a condo, including the one the first agent to show to me, after I look more condos for comparison and decided it is the best one for me??? 
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May 05 2011 - US
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Answers (13)

First of all, any agent who is not upfront about a fee--including transaction fees that many real estate offices charge and fail to disclose until the buyer finds a home/condo--is not an agent that you want to work with. Different states have different ideas about what constitutes procuring cause. If you do not have a written document obligating you to pay a fee or commission to the agent then it is not likely going to be a concern for you.
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August 09 2011
There is a reasonable chance you can be sued by the original agent if he/she claims procuring cause of the sale.  Also the selling agent could also be sued for  likewise if you go through another agent.  Not that this is good business practice, but you should be alert to this. 
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August 06 2011
Without upfront disclosure and no written agreement, the agent has created a non-agency.  Since the agent revealed the fee after the showing and only when the possibility of submitting an offer, the agent has in fact created a situation that hinders your attempt to make an offer.  As such, the agent is "not" acting as your agent, but, their own.  You would have no obligation to them.
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June 16 2011
While this type of upfront fee would never work or be customary in my state, that is not to say it is a scam.  It could very well be a scam also, not sure.  The point is to perform your due diligence and contact the agent's broker directly.  By him showing you that condo, it could have created an agency relationship that could cause some procuring cause of legal issues.
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June 10 2011
Many "Buyers Broker agreements" reference a retainer fee, I always $0.00 my out, could this have been what the agent was referring to?
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May 16 2011
I recommend using another agent but make  sure you revoke your previous agency relationship (signed by the brokers), in case you want to buy one of the units you were shown.  This is to avoid a procurring cause if you decide to buy one of those units. 
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May 16 2011
I would run away as fast as I can. Get another agent thats going to work for your interests.
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May 08 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
I'm glad to see at least a couple of agents support that unusual fees need to be disclosed upfront.   Doesn't NAR have a code of ethics?   I would think disclosing unusual fees would be part of this code of ethics.
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May 07 2011
The agent who showed you this condo can ask to be compensated.  They brought you into the unit and at that time were working with you as their client whether you signed anything or not.  Chances are you won't buy that unit but if so they may site, 'procurring cause'.  This means the agent who was the 'effort that brings about the result' shall receive commission.  Good luck in your home purchase!
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May 07 2011
RUN!  DO NOT WORK WITH THAT AGENT!  I have never heard of this and would not as a buyer pay the agent's commission.

If you need a referral for a quality, full time one in your area, simply give me a shout.

Good luck, hope this helps.
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May 05 2011
Without a written contract, you can do whatever you want.  A buyer's agent typically gets the commission from the seller so you should not pay anything for your agent.  That "agent fee" sounds like a scam to me.
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May 05 2011
While many agents will scream....

Not this agent. He should have disclosed his fee up front.

While he may try to use 'procuring cause' (which means he showed you the condo so he should get paid) I think he would have a hard time getting it to stick due to his 'need' to get an up front fee from the buyer.

I wonder if that is how he makes his money - by writing up purchase agreements at $1,000 a pop. As Dr Phil McGraw would say 'How's that working out for you?"
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May 05 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
While many agents will scream, as the agent didn't reveal this hidden unusual cost upfront, I would use another agent.
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May 05 2011
 
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