Legal Guide

Exclusive Buyer’s Agent – Don’t Buy a Home Without One!

Are you in the market for buy a home?  The information contained in this article is for Tennessee, but it most likely will apply in all states.  I personally work as a Realtor in  Gallatin TN.  It’s important to understand the legal aspects of real estate agency laws.  Most people don’t think about it, and just call the number on a real estate sign.  This is the last thing you should do.  Keep reading to learn why…

So, you want to buy a new home?  Yes, it’s fun, but it’s also the largest financial transaction most people make in a lifetime! 

Warning - Don’t Call the Number on a Real Estate Sign

When you see a ‘For Sale’ sign in a yard, are you tempted to call the agent on that sign to show you the house?  Do you think they can represent you?  Get you the best deal?

Or, have you done  your homework and understand that the agent on that sign has a legal and binding contract with the owner?  To sell the home for the highest price on the best possible terms?  That agent is most likely a wonderful agent – but he/she already has a client – and it’s not you!  You need your own agent to look after your interests! 

Actually, when an agent is working both sides of the transaction, legally they can’t work either side?  Confused?  I’ll try to explain how this works…

When you list your home with an agent, you are entering into a contract for you to pay them X amount of commission for them to sell your property for the most money and best terms.  BUT when someone calls them and wants to see it – the water then gets murky.  If that person decides to purchase your home, then at that point, your agent can no longer work for or advise you.  They are sometimes called ‘dual agents’ or ‘facilitators’. 

Always Read the Fine Print

Both parties must sign an agreement that says they are aware of and agree with with the agent no longer representing either of them.  Take a look at these screenshots from the Tennessee Association of Realtors. 

If this isn’t a direct conflict of interest, I don’t know what is!  It’s not fair to the buyer, the seller – or even the agent, even though they receive the total commission instead of having to split it. 

First Thing – Find an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent

The first step in buying a new home is to choose an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent.   Here’s another problem…any agent can call themselves a buyer’s agent.  Their broker can even designate them to be a buyer’s agent for a particular transaction.   However, you must always look for the ‘motivation’.  Many times a brokerage will pay a ‘bonus’ for their agents who sell a ‘company listing’.  So, there can be a strong motivation for a ‘buyers agent’ to show you the company listings. 

This is the difference in a buyer’s agent and an Exclusive Buyer’s Agent.  The exclusive buyer’s agent never takes listings, therefore there is no possible conflict of interest.  They have no motivation to show you any particular listing – they only show you homes that you want to see and ones that will work for your family.   

Please, please do your homework and research this subject for yourself.   If you’re looking to buy a new home in Sumner County TN, please call my personal line at 615-428-8500.  I look forward to hearing from you.


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