Is This is Potential Trouble or an Innocent Question?

J Philip Faranda May 14, 2009

I was emailed this question:

Hi Philip, I am a first buyer interested in homes in the city of XXX. I was interested in using you for my home purchase and have a question regarding buyer’s commitment to agents. If I see a property through an agent, am I required to submit an offer through that agent? I was told that typically, using a different agent can lead to commission disputes and I would like to clarify your policy regarding this. Thank you for your time and consideration.

That got my radar up. What I’d like to say and what I will say are very, very different.

If he is referring to using a different agent than the listing agent, whoever gave this guy that advice is out to lunch. 13 years in this business and I’ve never had to arbitrate a commission.

If he’s referring to a different agent from the one who showed it, yes, that could cause issues. If this person saw a home with Agent A and then submitted an offer through Agent B, that would invite a commission dispute, not prevent it.


My reply was the following:

I don’t know who gave you that advice; I have been in real estate for 13 years and never had a commission dispute with another company. I don’t see how a commission dispute could arise if the agent that showed you the home was the agent that wrote the offer. In general, agents like myself work quite hard (as you can see, I am starting my day at 5am) and that unless we were somehow inept, that morally the right thing to do would be to use that agent to represent you through that purchase. It would also seem to me that, logically, the way to invite some dispute would be to switch agents in the midst of the process. Staying with the agent who showed the property would not give any impetus for a dispute. Involving more than one agent certainly would.

At any rate I am quite familiar with the XXXX market and would be happy to help you. My contact information is below.

Best regards

Phil Faranda

I will leave what first came to mind to your imagination. I don’t know if this guy is warning me of duplicity or is an overthinker. I googled him and he’s a scientist, so that might mean the latter, rendering this more of an  innocent question. You never know, this might turn out to be a great client.

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