For me, agreeing to represent a homebuyer is a serious responsibility. And for you, the quality of your experience as a homebuyer will be greatly affected by the personality and practices of your Realtor®.
Many buyers have told me that when they first call an ordinary agent, he or she is attentive, returns calls, and follows up on requests. Later, after 3 or 4 weeks, it starts to takes longer for the agent to return calls, and sometimes messages are ignored. Why? Because when you call an ordinary agent who is focused on selling his or her listings, you are not a client, you are a lead.
A conventional real estate agency receives lots of inquiries about their listings. A agent who has collected dozens of names of homebuyers, cannot possibly keep up with them all. In fact, a real estate licensee is not obligated to obey a customer’s instructions.
A Buyer’s Agent’s Duty:
The Common Law of Agency grew out of Roman slavery. The slave must do the bidding of his or her master. It makes sense for a Realtor® to be prudent about committing to the duties of an agent.
The Escape Clause:
Obviously if your broker seemed good at first but turned out not to be to your satisfaction, you should be able to cancel the contract, wish each other well, and move on. As an agent, bound to take instructions from my client, I also want our business relationship to remain voluntary and harmonious.
As a matter of safety and comfort for both of us: Into every Buyer Agency Agreement, I write an escape clause:
“GUARANTEE: EITHER PARTY MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT VIA NOTIFICATION.”
At one time I asked for a retainer to initiate an agency relationship. The retainer screened out anyone who did not understand the difference between working with a salesman, and retaining professional representation.
The retainer was returnable at closing, or upon request if my service had not been to the satisfaction of the client. But if my client did not purchase a property despite my service having been to their satisfaction, then I was entitled to keep the retainer ￼as partial compensation for time and effort spent: A sort of “booby prize.”
Although it is fair to be paid for a professional service, nonetheless it bothered me that it could be like charging admission to someone who does not then get to see the movie.
Instead of a Retainer:
I am asking new clients to join with Brattleboro Buyer Brokerage Real Estate in a matched contribution of $50 each to a local non-profit, Morningside Shelter. Our matched contributions — a total of $100 — will be earmarked for a Morningside program to help homeless people to obtain housing.
Let’s face it: The occasional “buyer” who would use a Realtor® as a free taxi/tour-guide, is unlikely to shell out $50. But a buyer who values professional service, will likely enjoy making this gesture. If you end up not finding the right home to purchase, at least we will both be gratified, having done something good together.
Typically my fee comes from the seller’s proceeds at closing, via an inter-agency commission-split, not as an out-of-pocket expense to my client.
What to do next:
Contact me by telephone or by using the form below. We will schedule to meet to discuss your home quest. We can ask each other questions, and if we seem to be a good match, I can draft an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement for you.