Hiring a Buyer’s Agent Too Late

It doesn’t happen often, but once in awhile I’ll get a call from someone who wants to hire me to help them purchase a home, but I can’t help them.

Why’s that?

They called me too late.

The typical scenario is the would-be Buyer went through a Sunday open house, liked it, and arranged to see the home a second (or even a third) time with the listing agent (representing the Seller).

After thinking things over, they decided they wanted to make an offer on the home — and wanted their own agent to represent them.


“Procuring Cause” Primer

Unbeknownst to laymen, the payout commission — the part of the commission offered to the Buyer’s agent — is actually payable to the agent responsible for selling the property.

That’s usually the Buyer’s agent, but in the scenario described above, it would be the listing agent.

Unless the Buyer wants to pay their agent themselves — the usual arrangement is that the Seller pays — they’re stuck being represented by the listing agent.

Or should I say, not being represented by the listing agent.

As a dual agent representing both the Buyer and Seller, they’re arguably representing neither.

See also, “Dual Agent vs. Double Agent“; “Awkward Dual Agent Moment #24.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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