Q: I am a first time homebuyer and signed a contract with a real estate agent. She showed us a few houses and then showed us one that I found on the Internet.
It turns out that the Realtor owns the property I found on the Internet. She bought a foreclosure and is now selling it.
We looked at a few more houses with her and she kept asking us if we had ruled hers out or not. My husband decided that of the 10 houses we had seen he really liked hers.
So we went through the manager of the brokerage to write the contract and it turns out she wouldn’t negotiate at all on price. So, we did not buy the house.
Now things feel weird between us and I do not know how to get out of the buyer’s agent contract. It seems like a conflict of interest to me that she would have shown us her house and then also be the agent. Is there any way to get out of the buyer’s contract since I have already stressed my feelings to the manager?
I have heard that you can get another broker as long as you do not buy a house that the first broker showed you. Is there any truth to that?
A: After the scenario you describe, I’d be surprised if it didn’t feel weird to work with the agent.
You do not have to purchase the broker’s own home that she is listing. It can be a huge conflict of interest, and, in this case, she is not only trying to collect both sides of the commission, she is also the homeowner. It would be difficult for her to step back from the emotional precipice all home sellers stand on as they wait for an offer.
The appropriate response would have been to step back from the transaction and allow another agent (either in her office or someone else you selected) to represent you on the purchase of the property. That happened. But now she is unable to step back into her role as agent and represent you effectively. If you feel funny, she probably does as well.
So what do you do now? I don’t know if you signed a contract for a buyer’s representative or if you’re referring to the agency disclosure agreement that most brokers require agents and buyers or sellers to sign. Whatever the paperwork you’re referring to is, I think you should read it carefully and try to figure out what it says about canceling the agreement or whether the agreement is with the brokerage company and not with the individual real estate agent.
Even a buyer’s representation contract should have an exit clause. If yours doesn’t (but will elapse in time), you should ask the real estate firm’s managing broker to let you out of the contract or to assign a different real estate agent to you. Whether you have signed a representation agreement or not, you should let the agent know you’ve decided to work with someone else, and will do so as soon as possible.
Then, go find another agent who you feel has your best interest at heart – and who is not trying to sell and pushing their own property onto you.
Learn more about how to work with a buyer broker and contracts
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