Why am I asked to sign a document just to look at a house?

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01/13/2015 | Author: Legal Staff

I want to buy a house, but every time I contact a real estate agent to see a property, he or she asks me to sign some representation agreement. Why do I have to sign this long document just to walk around a house?

That long document is the Residential Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement. It’s a written agreement between you, the client, and the real estate broker that spells out the terms of the broker’s representation—how he or she will assist you and work in your best interests—and how the broker will be paid. You can still be represented without a written agreement; however, as with any business arrangement, it benefits both parties to put things in writing.

The agreement can be in effect for any amount of time, from a few hours to many months or longer. So, if you’re leery of a long-term arrangement, sign the agreement for a short period and see how it goes. You and the broker can always agree to amend the end date.

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Categories: Buyers
Tags: buyer's representation, buyers, legal


Anna Lee Trinidad on 03/12/2015

whenever I meet a customer I always give them the IABS form along with the Buyer Representation Agreement. I explain both forms and if I’m showing them a few homes that day I will have them sign a two day agreement. It all depends on how you approach them. Mine always sign them.

Jo Lynn Miller on 01/22/2015

I find it to be a multi-step process: > helping the Buyer understand a Realtors’ responsibility to the Seller carries a lot of weight > followed by helping the Buyer to understand how you can best help them generally puts them at ease > continue by explaining the length of term can be whatever they are comfortable with will relieve most apprehensions > successfully acquire a signature by SHOWING the Buyer that you know your business, and assuring them that it THEIR BEST INTEREST, not a fee, that you are concerned about.  It seems to be human nature for folks to resist an immediate contract, but once they know the basis for it, and the basic way it works, most will be grateful.  Some are just as comfortable remaining customers instead of clients….let them do so until they are ready to trust you.  I have found (actually learned the hard way!) that trying to force this issue just creates a negative vibe from the start.  Gently reminding a customer that you’d love to assist them further, but are not able to without the agreement,  has worked well for me.

Trent Draper on 01/22/2015

Wow That was very well put Laura! I always tell the customer that until we sign a buyers rep agreement that I actually represent all the listings on mls. I cannot legally negotiate on their behalf without it. Good info Laura!

Shan Abeywickrama on 01/14/2015

When the buyer sign the buyers representation agreement that buyer is a Realtor client if not buyer is a customer to Realtor.It is a big different between a client and and a customer, Realtor can not negotiate price with seller for a customer. Realtor ‘s best interest for client not for customer.

Debbie Scrimshire on 01/13/2015

A buyers rep agreement is just good business.  If a buyer does not want to sign one I do understand.  However I don’t show without one.

Max Phillpd on 01/13/2015

I bet the lady Realtor that met the guy at a repo in Arkansas wished she had ask for a sign document before she was raped and murder at the home she was showing. As a Realtor just good business and safety.

Jeanette on 01/13/2015

You’re asking someone who has been FBI back-ground checked and finger-printed why you have to sign a form to go into someone’s personal residence?? Most people don’t understand the trust issue that revolves around the real estate transaction. It takes a LOT of trust to meet a TOTAL stranger and take them into a house you’re responsible for—I’d say signing a simple form is the least you can do. Some Brokers require copies of your driver’s license or require you to leave your d/l in the office.

Laura Bolieu Austin on 01/13/2015

The buyer should be given a choice to be represented or not have representation. They can be a client or a customer.  This is why it is so important to explain the “Information About Brokerage Services” in the very beginning of a relationship. As a client Realtor represents the buyers best interest. If the buyer is given the choice and they choose to be a customer the Realtor can show the home and write the contract but the Realtor is a sub-agent for the seller and will work in the best interest of the seller through the sellers agent.

It is the buyers choice -  Customer or Client. When they understand the difference,  the buyers will be happy to sign a Buyers Representation Agreement and work with the Realtor.

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Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on texasrealestate.com. Any legal or other information found here, on texasrealestate.com, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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