I am a frequent member of this site, but I feel a little silly asking this question, so I made a new account.
I am in the process of searching for a new home. I have contacted a few real estate agents. I have talked to two of them once or twice on the phone and they have sent me links to some listings. One also sent me some information on a special loan we could qualify for. However, I decided that I want to work with a different agent.
Is there some kind of protocol for telling an agent that you will not be using their services? I don't want them to keep looking for listings for us, but I also don't know if it's appropriate to email or call them and say "Hi, I don't want to work with you." It just seems weird because we haven't signed anything with these guys and we mostly were just getting an idea of who is out there by talking to them. I just don't know what is expected of me at this point.
As a first time home buyer, I'm a little stressed about everything. I heard that if you talk to several agents and then buy a house with one of those agents, the other agents could come crawling out of the woodwork and demand a percentage as well - saying they worked for you also.
Please offer any advice you have for me.
I wouldn't worry about it... take all the links for listings that you can get (whether you want to see any more or not)--the agents might contact you at some point to ask if you're still interested and you can update them on your situation at that time. We continue to get business cards and gift calendars from a few agents that we met over 10 years ago!
If you had more than one agent physical show a property to you, they may all be entitled to a commission, so I'd be careful to avoid that.
I would send a short email:
"Dear Mrs. Real Estate Agent,
Thank you for taking the time and effort to help us with our real estate needs. At this time we are planning on working exclusively with So and So from XYZ Agency.
Thank you both so much for the replies.
CWR41, I'm glad I didn't hurry and fire off emails right away. I think I'll wait until things are moving faster and we actually start looking at houses to burn any bridges.
CakesbyCathy, I also really like how you worded the email. That will help a lot when we get to that point.
In our state you will be asked to sign a form by the agent. It explains "agency relations." It spells out if you are a customer, what you should expect from the agent. If your are a client, you will sign a buyer agency contract. It will also outline your rights as a cleint and what to expect.
When you are "just looking" be careful of any information you are giving to the agents. Until you are a client, they have no duty towards you for confidentiality, etc.
Example: If you tell every agent in Town that you are pre-approved for $200K, and look at houses in the $160 range., you lose bargaining power as you already told the other agent that you could afford more.
You can just tell the agents that have already sent you listings "thank you but we are just in the beginning stages of looking."
Thank you for sharing the info, Justducky. I really appreciate your insight.
I worked with two different realtors when I was looking for my house. The first realtor didn't really click with us...we told her what we were looking for but she didn't pay any attention. She took us to see lots of homes but she didn't pay any attention to whether they were something that would work for us. Then, we wanted to look at a HUD house and our realtor wasn't certified to show HUD homes, so the mortgage broker suggested a different realtor. We didn't end up buying the HUD home we were looking at, but we found a house while working with the second realtor. She knew we had started with a different person originally, and she called that realtor and worked things out with her, so that she shared a part of her commission with the first realtor.
The Realtors are working for the seller and they will be paid by the seller. You don't pay the realtor unless you've hired them to work as a buyer's agent for you.
If all you've done is call and ask questions, then you don't have any obligation to the realtors you've talked to already.
We just bought our first house last year. Before we talked to any realtors, we got preapproved for the mortgage. That way we knew exactly what we could afford and didn't waste time looking at houses that we couldn't afford, or falling in love with a particular house only to discover that it was out of our budget.
Look into new homes, especially if you don't have a lot of money for your down payment and closing costs. A lot of the time the builders will pay the closing costs, and you can get a house with the appliances included, which is great if you're on a tight budget. We ended up with a new house...one that the builder had built but not sold...and were able to close on it really fast, which was great because the apartment we were living in was literally falling down around us. We thought a new house would be a lot more expensive, but it wasn't. Homeowners insurance is a lot cheaper on a new house, and most houses now are built to be more energy-efficient than older houses, so you save on your utility bills too.
Wow! Thanks, TexasRose. This is great info! It would be really nice to get a new house, and the idea of a builder paying the closing cost is definitely a plus. How did you go about finding that house? Did you go through a builder's web site? Because of the timing of our upcoming move, we would need to get an existing house as well. We don't have time to wait for one to be built.