When working with an agent to buy a home how do you know they are working in your best interest? Sellers and their agents sign a listing agreement to ensure that their interests are represented and to spell out compensation. Buyers and their agents, too should sign an agreement binding them to each other. This is called an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement.
There are 3 main benefits of having an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement:
Buyer's hire an agent to represent their interests and spell out how their agent will be paid.
The agreement protects the buyer by providing for the fiduciary responsibility of the agent to the buyer
The buyer will have an agent committed to working on their behalf.
It's fair for buyers to shop agents to find one they will be most comfortable with. Believe it or not, agents also size up buyers to determine if they want to work with them. Buyers, however should not assume any agent will spend a lot of time and energy looking for the perfect home without some assurance that the buyer is committed to the working relationship. Purchasing a home is easily the most expensive purchase most people will make. Hire a professional to be sure you get the best deal possible and, just as important, to ensure every detail is taken care of.
So you may be asking a few questions...here are answers to some of those questions:
What if I don't like the agent, can I terminate the agreement? Yes, in writing. As with any agreement, read this agreement.
Am I forced to buy a home? No. If you don't find a home during the time of the agreement or if your circumstances change you are not forced to buy a home.
If I contact the listing agent, for the house I want to buy, can I avoid a buyer agency agreement? Remember the listing agent has already signed a listing agreement to represent the seller not you, the buyer. This scenario creates dual agency and invites another level of complexity.