If you've ever contacted a real estate agent who at some point asked you to sign an exclusive employment agreement, also known as a Buyer Broker Agreement with them and you were apprehensive about it or just told that agent "no", then the following paragraphs may be of interest to you.
When we ask a buyer to sign one of these agreements and they seem hesitant, it's usually the result of one of a few reasons. First, and probably most commonly is the reason that the buyer doesn't want to make a commitment to that agent or any agent simply because it makes that particular buyer feel uncomfortable. Commitment to a lot of things (and people) in life can be difficult so we understand this hesitation. It's for this reason as well that we let buyers know that if at any time after signing this agreement with us, they are free to break the agreement at with a 24-hour written notice to us. Why do we allow buyers to break this agreement? In short, we don't want anyone who doesn't want to work with us to have to work with us. While this has yet to happen, we always ask all of our buyers to agree that if they do later decide to cancel our agreement, they give us the reason or reasons why so we can be sure not to make any of the same mistakes again with future clients.
The second reason is the buyer isn't yet comfortable with the agent who they may have just recently met and they don't want to commit to working exclusively with that agent until they're sure he or she is who the buyer really wants representing them down the road once a purchase contract is written. If this is ever the case with you, be honest with the agent and let them know this. Believe it or not, it may prove to be a relief for the agent to hear you say this because the first thing that can often come to an agents mind is this buyer must just want to use me and my time to see homes so when they find the right home, they can call their friend or relative who is an agent and give them the business without having to put in the work.
That last sentence bring us to a third reason we find that buyers are reluctant to sign an agreement with their agent and that reason is that they know they don't intend to use the agent when the time comes to put in an offer. They may have a friend or family member who is an agent or their agent they want to use is on a two week vacation and didn't provide them with someone else who can show them homes while they're gone. This is an agents biggest fear, not only because they aren't going to get paid for their efforts, but because most good agents genuinely care about providing their clients with the best service they can to find them the perfect home. It's a hard pill to swallow to find out that after days, weeks or sometimes months of showing a buyer homes, giving them advice and information, setting them up with their financing, to have them not call you when the time comes to put in an offer.
We're sure there are more reason that what are listed above, but we find (or at least figure) these are the three most common reasons. Our advice to you, no matter who you choose to work with on the purchase of your next home is work to find an agent you trust, feel comfortable with and who knows what they're doing, and stick with that agent throughout the process whether they ask you to sign an agreement or not. Too many buyers don't realize that the more you work with a particular agent, the more that agents can learn about what it is you're really in search of and can therefore do an even better job for you. Jumping from one agent to another doesn't allow this to happen and you end up not getting the most use and help out of your agents which is what you're using an agent for in the first place.
If you've ever been in a situation where you were asked to sign a buyer broker agreement with an agent and you were hesitant for a different reason than what we listed above, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
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Listing information last updated on January 19th, 2019 at 11:34am MST.