Whether to Sign a Buyer/Leaser's Representative Agreement with an Agent

Many people today do not fully understand how to shop for their home purchase or lease.  If you are going to use a realtor, which I highly advise, let them earn their money.  You don't need to do all the shopping up front.  You mainly need to know the area and what features you require with your home.  The way the Houston Metro area is set up, all houses are made available to a licensed agent as soon as it is posted on the MLS and it is required that MLS agents post them within a set period of time (5 days).  Therefore, we have tools to search by size, price, rooms, neighborhood, school district, etc.  In addition, you do not need to go to the agent that listed the house.

In fact, you don't want to go to the agent that listed the house, unless you don't want your agent having your best interest in mind.  The agent that listed the house is representing the people that listed the property.  Their objective is to make sure that home is sold in a quick manner.  It is not to get you the best price, it is to get their client the best price.

It is to your advantage to have a realtor that does not have an obligation to the other client so that he/she may freely advise you as to what is a good value in his/her opinion.

When the realtor asks you to sign a representative agreement, they are asking you to let them work for you, but it is also binding them and their confidentiality to you.  Without it, there is no reason for them to protect your interests.  This agreement also explains how the agent expects to get paid.  This will be discussed on another blog.  The agreement is for a set period of time, usually three to six months, and it will have a clause that protects their interest for a certain number of days, for houses that they have shown you.  It is not ethical for agents to work with a client that has an agreement with another agent.  This way, we are all protected.

What happens if you have a conflict with the agent or you think that they are not working for you.  Simple.  You may go to the broker if you can't communicate with the agent and ask to terminate the agreement.  In most cases, that is not a problem.  There will be a fee for work completed, usually the transaction fee, and any costs for open houses, pictures, etc.  If you are so unhappy with your agent that you wish to terminate, chances are the feelings are mutual and they will want to terminate with you as well.

Remember, your agent should be professional.  They have gone to school to study the laws and regulations of the industry.  Let them work for you.  Don't be afraid to agree to sign an agreement so that they can do the best job they can without worrying about being paid.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at

I'm Kat Delany Meyer and this is the Kat's Meow.