Be careful when viewing homes as a buyer! What you must know & understand!

Dated: February 1 2020

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Be careful when viewing homes as a buyer! What you must know & understand!

Be careful when viewing homes as a buyer! 

What many people don't understand that there is a liability on a buyers side when viewing the property with the wrong Agent.  In the State of Georgia, the Procuring Cause of Sale exists and so do Buyer Brokerage Agreements. When working with a Realtor it's important to pick just one that you are most compatible with. If another agent shows you a home they are going to expect a commission.  This includes the listing agent.  So, be sure when viewing homes (except at open houses) that you view them with the agent you want to represent your best interests.   You don't want to be in the middle of a commission battle nor cause the listing agent to be upset you wasted their time showing you the home when you had an agent all along or went and found one later and cut the listing agent out from getting both sides of the commission.  Using the listing agent to buy a home doesn't save you money but sets you up for liability, overexposure and the listing agent just makes more money in the end. This is like using the same attorney in the courtroom on your biggest case.  This would never happen! 

Many buyers don't take into consideration listing agents and on-site builder agents work for the sellers and what you say and do can hurt your negotiation power.  When viewing new construction and going to open houses be sure to let them know you have a Buyer Agent and don't tell them too much about your situation and financing. It's best to leave that up to the professional that is skilled in representing you with your best foot forward.  

Do not view a home with the listing agent or a random agent that called you from Zillow.  Be sure to interview and pick the agent you feel is most skilled and experienced in your area and your price range.  Some agents aren't highly skilled in multiple offer situations and certain price ranges or property types, so be sure the one you pick matches your goals.

"What is procuring cause, and how does it establish who gets commission?
Written by: Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR.

The buyer-broker agreement is important because it can help establish the procuring cause for the buyer choosing to purchase a home. Procuring cause means that the agent who "performed the tasks that led you to buy would be the agent who ‘earned’ the commission,” says Jim Mellen, a Realtor® with Re/Max Peninsula in Williamsburg, VA.

In most cases, that would be the agent who first showed you the house. But if you have clearly cut ties with that agent and just happen to see the house again with another agent, procuring cause could also be construed to mean the one who actually writes up the offer and helps you negotiate.

Now you see how this situation can get tricky.

Real estate agents "can be sued if they help a client purchase a home knowing the client already looked at the home while under contract with another agent, and that original contract had not expired or been terminated before the time of the purchase,” notes Noelle Nielsen, real estate professional with Re/Max Advantage Plus in Eagan, MN. “However, the first agent would have to prove the second real estate agent knew the buyer was already under contract when they purchased the house, which can be very difficult.”

To determine who gets the commission, the agents in dispute may choose to arbitrate through the local real estate board. In that case, the buyer might be called in as a witness to explain his side of the story.

To avoid getting into a dispute like this, make sure you are upfront with your agent. Give the first agent a chance, but if you need to move on, be clear with the second agent about which properties you already looked at with the first agent."

Written by: Cathie Ericson is a journalist who writes about real estate, finance, and health. She lives in Portland, OR.

Want to learn more about the buying process and how to protect yourself?  Call Realtor Lindsey Haas for a free consultation.  We also have a First Time Home Buyer packet that walks you through the entire process and helps you think of aspects you may not have thought about when it comes to buying! 

Lindsey Haas, Realtor 
The Lindsey Haas Team
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage
Top 1% in North Metro Atlanta
Direct/Text:  678-933-1962

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The Lindsey Haas Real Estate Team

Lindsey has been a full time Realtor since 2006 serving buyers and sellers of all prices. Year after year her business grew mostly by referrals from past clients and repeat business. In 2012, Jeremy ....

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