Signing a Realtor’s Buyer Agreement: Is It Normal or a Red Flag?

So, you’re getting ready to buy a house. You’ve toured a few homes, you’re excited, and you’ve got your realtor lined up. Suddenly, your real estate agent asks you to sign a buyer agreement or some form of buyer representation. Now, you’re feeling conflicted and a bit intimidated by this multi-page contract. Should you sign it? What does it entail? Let’s break it down so you can make an informed decision.

Understanding the Buyer Agreement

Feeling conflicted about signing a buyer agreement is normal. This agreement can be several pages long and might seem overwhelming at first glance. However, it’s essential to understand what the buyer agreement encompasses and its implications for your home-buying journey

Navigating Relationships with Realtors

It’s common to know multiple real estate agents, especially in a competitive market like Colorado Springs. Friends and family might recommend different REALTORS®—perhaps even relatives are in the real estate business. This can make choosing and committing to one realtor quite challenging. Here’s a story to illustrate this scenario:

David is looking to buy a house and is unsure which agent to commit to. He meets a Zillow premier agent at a property, likes her, but then meets another agent through a conversation. This second agent, Realtor B, shows David a house he loves, and they quickly write up an offer. Realtor B gets the deal, despite Realtor A showing David 27 houses and investing significant time and resources.

This situation is precisely why buyer agreements exist: to protect agents who invest substantial time and effort in helping buyers find a home.

What is a Buyer Agreement?

A buyer agency agreement is a contract that typically lasts for three to six months, depending on the market and price point. It secures the realtor’s commission and ensures that their hard work pays off. But, how do you know if you should sign it?

When to Sign a Buyer Agreement

It’s natural to hesitate before signing a buyer agreement. If you’re uncomfortable committing to one agent, negotiate the terms:

  1. Negotiate Duration: You can ask for a shorter agreement period, such as one or two months.
  2. Open Conversations: Communicate openly with your agent about your comfort levels and expectations.
  3. Understand the Market: Different types of properties may require different search durations. For instance, finding a five-acre ranch might take longer than finding a median-price home.

Spotting the Right Agent

To ensure you’re working with the right realtor, here are some key questions and signs to look for:

  1. Experience: Ask how long they have been in the real estate industry and how many homes they’ve sold.
  2. Market Knowledge: Discuss housing market trends, investment potential, and knowledge of local regulations and property histories.
  3. Responsiveness: Check how promptly they respond to inquiries and their availability. However, understand that busy agents might take a few hours to get back to you.

The Legal Aspects:

Buyer agreements have legal consequences. For example, Colorado’s agreement is called the “Exclusive Right to Buy Listing Contract” and includes sections on brokerage relationships, payment terms, and obligations of both the broker and the buyer.

Key sections include:

  1. Payment Terms: Understand the success fee and whether you might be liable to pay the fee directly.
  2. Broker’s Duties: Section 5 outlines the broker’s duty to act in your best interests, including exercising skill, presenting all offers, and advising you on material matters.

What if Things Go Wrong?

If your agent isn’t meeting your needs, you have the right to terminate the agreement based on specific terms outlined in the agreement, such as lack of communication or failure to act in your best interest.

Shorter Commitment: If unsure, initially request a shorter commitment period. This ensures you have an out if things don’t work out.

Key Takeaway

Signing a buyer agreement is a standard practice in real estate, designed to protect both you and the agent. By signing, you ensure the agent is committed to working in your best interest and investing their time effectively. If you have concerns, discuss them upfront and consider negotiating the terms to suit your comfort level.

Buying a home is both an emotional and business transaction. The right realtor will guide and support you through the process, making it a positive and exciting experience. 

Wondering how future changes might impact buyer agreements, especially regarding who pays the buyer agent fees? Watch our upcoming video for an in-depth explanation. Have questions? Drop them in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to stay updated!

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By understanding and negotiating the terms of a buyer agreement, you can confidently take the next steps in your real estate journey. Happy house hunting!

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