Q: In response to your recent article that appeared in the Charlotte Observer, I agree that the buyer’s agent is wrong, but so was your article.
In North Carolina, an offer to purchase can not be done without a signed buyer’s agent agreement. The agreement can be oral up until the contract to purchase is made.
You have done a disservice to the real estate agents in North Carolina, and you should print a retraction. Not sure where you are getting the information you are printing.
A: Are you referring to this column? http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/05/14/1434176/dont-sign-broker-contract-without.html. The point of this column is about not signing a broker contract without a clause that permits you to terminate the relationship.
The question was from a mother whose daughter had signed an agreement with a buyer’s agent. The agent wasn’t performing and told her that she hadn’t won an online auction even before the auction was over. The mother wanted to know how the daughter could get out of the buyer’s agent contract.
I gave the mother several possible scenarios, one being that the daughter had signed an exclusive buyer’s agreement (as opposed to a buyer agency disclosure agreement) that required her to work with the exclusive buyer’s agent for a specific period of time.
I also suggested that the daughter read the contract to see if there was a termination clause and what it specified, and she should contact the managing broker of the firm (if the agreement was with a real estate company instead of an individual) and see if she could be assigned to another broker.
I don’t disagree that most (and perhaps now all) states require agents to disclose their fiduciary responsibilities to buyers and sellers. This is mostly done through an agency disclosure agreement. Some buyers believe this is a contract that requires them to work with the agent. And in some cases, that “you’re working with me exclusively” concept is built into these contracts, or added as an amendment. Buyers should read their agency disclosure agreements carefully, just as sellers should read their listing agreements, and understand that everything is negotiable under the law.
I’m not sure why you’re annoyed. The broker in question may have behaved badly. The buyer just wants to buy a house. If you agree that the buyer’s agent is behaving badly, as you stated in your email, I’m unclear why you feel that I’ve been unfair to agents.
The point I was trying to make is simple: read all of the legal documents you’re given in a real estate transaction carefully before you sign on the dotted line. And, if you don’t understand what the documents are saying, ask questions.
Thanks for your email.