Profile picture for mrd210

Is it too late to involve a buyer agent?

My wife and I stopped by some townhouses that are partially complete.  The builder is waiting for commitments from buyers before they furnish the places according to the buyer's preferences.  At the time we visited the open house, we were just looking to do some research, since we are still saving up for a down payment (plus additional for moving expenses/misc).  We estimate we are about 3-4 months away before we are comfortable.    After hearing this, the agent at the open house offered that we could negotiate pricing and upgrades now, "lock in" the price, and settle when we are ready.  So, she explained, we would sign a paper, and give a $1000 refundable deposit to hold the property.  Within 15 days, we would decide the furnishings/upgrades and price, then sign an agreement to purchase within an agreed upon time frame, while they hold the $1000 to count towards the down payment.  

We have not signed anything.  Since the agent at the open house spoke pricing with me, would it be poor etiquette for me to involve a buyer's agent to help negotiate pricing and upgrades?  
  • March 09 2011 - Reading
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Answers (11)

Profile picture for BJWest
It is never too late to have a buyer's agent.  The only question is, who is paying for it.  Most states have disclosure laws that require an agent to inform you that
you have the right to representation. 
  • March 11 2011
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Sounds like the agent at the townhome really wanted to get you to move forward right away.  It's completely understandable (and wise) for you to take a step back before signing anything or giving them a deposit.  While situations may differ state to state, you should be fine to engage a buyer's agent.  After all, it only makes sense for you to have your own representation if desired.  Best of luck to you!
  • March 10 2011
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There is a thing called threshold law in Pennsylvania. It states that "if a prospective customer is drawn to a property by signs, advertising or any other independent media, visits the property and is assisted by an agent (buyer or seller agent) and does not disclose that they have a representative then the procuring cause is the agent that met with them". It is also stated that upon visiting the agent should supply the prospective buyer with a consumer notice prior to discussing any business so the prospective buyer has an opportunity to consider their options.

Plenty of gray area here. It is likely that you can go and get your own buyer agent to complete the transaction for you if you choose to move forward. Just be sure that the seller/builder paying your agent before you sign a business relationship agreement with that agent. You could be stuck paying your agent if they do not.

Good luck. 
  • March 09 2011
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Profile picture for robtravers

If you did not sign anything and you did not tell the builder you were not working with a agent you should be ok to find a buyer agent. Just make sure you interview a few agents.

  • March 09 2011
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If you did not register with the builder and did not tell them that you were not working with an agent you may be okay. Some builders will tell you or post a notice at the sales office informing you of their policy. If you did not do any of the aforementioned things you should be okay.
  • March 09 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
No. Unless you have given that agent money or signed an agreement with them, go ahead and hire a buyers agent if you want one.

Make sure that you interview several agents and do not settle for one that you are not sure about. Also, limit that agent's representation of you to that one property until you are sure that they are the right one for you to keep looking with if this deal falls through for any reason.
  • March 09 2011
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Profile picture for Gregg Leonard
It's in your best interest to have a buyer's agent on your side.  The only issue may be the listing agent honoring that relationship(paying the buyer's agent a commission) since there was no mention of them and they didn't accompany you on that first viewing.
  • March 09 2011
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
The beauty of real estate law is that it has to be in writing.  Talking has no weight.  Seeking your own representation will open you up to more options.
  • March 09 2011
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If you haven't signed any paperwork. It would be wise to bring in an agent.
Get refferals from friends and family and speak with several agents to find someone you are comfortable with.
  • March 09 2011
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If you have not signed any paperwork, I don't see an issue to bringing in a buyers agent.

I assume the person you spoke to at the open house is an agent/employee of the builder?

It is not poor etiquette to ask for representation to protect your interests.  Ask friends/family/co-workers for referral of a local Realtor.

Good luck!
  • March 09 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
If you didn't sign anything, and hopefully didn't say "no" when asked if you had an agent, I'd pull in a buyer's agent.  I am not a real estate professional.

Before you do that, interview agents rigorously to find the right agent.  They are not all created equal.
  • March 09 2011
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