My realtor is working as a “Non-Agent” Is that normal?

36 Replies

not really unless he is trying to wholesale it to you and he wants no fiduciary to you.

@Jared Smith I'd ask him for an explanation.

One possibility is that he's acting as what we call in MA, a "facilitator".  That's a licensed person who represents neither party, but serves to bring them together.

We often have one commission for a buyer's agent and a lower commission for a facilitator.  

If that's the case, he does not owe you a duty as your fiduciary and I'd really want to know why.

@Charlie MacPherson

Thanks Charlie! This is what he said

“Our office has a different take on the agency. In order for us to click the button that says we are agent to you we must fill out a " buyers representation agreement " with you. The way to look at this is it's like a listing that a seller would sign to list their home. The buyers rep is something that was invented by realtors to get paid no matter what happens in a deal. It would tie you to us and if you decide you didn't like the way we chewed our food you couldn't leave us and go to another agent without us having a chance to sue you for a commission. A buyers rep is the very first thing most agents will have you sign.... not us we think they are a scam. But if you want one we can sure fill one out and be able to check the " agent " box on the purchase and sale. “

that answer was kind of BS..   a buyers brokers agreement is a very specific agreement that says you will pay them if you buy anything..   clicking the box on a deal your doing just establishes agency for that transaction.

I call BS on that explanation 

@Charlie MacPherson   see above Charlie you agree

@Jared Smith   Interesting response.  Depending on UT law, he may or may not owe you the duties of a fiduciary.   Due care, loyalty, honesty, confidentiality, good faith, disclosure, etc.

He's right that agents ask for buyers to sign a "Buyer's Broker" agreement to ensure that if the client buys a property, that they will buy it through that agent - the agent who has most likely invested significant time, effort and expertise with no assurance of getting paid.  

I cannot tell you how much time I've invested with clients who, after multiple property visits, comps analyses, lending referrals, etc suddenly find out that their great Aunt Millie has a real estate license. The family is pressuring my client to run the sale through Millie - who has long since retired, but still keeps her license active.

That's one of the prime reasons that agents require a representation agreement with a buyer.  The other is buyers who use multiple agents all at the same time, expecting them to be at their beck and call.

If I know a buyer is using multiple agents, I ask them to pick one and stick with them - whether it's me or not.  My time is too valuable to waste on buyers who have no respect for it.

If he is a "non-agent" and that explanation is viable..... Why do you have to sign anything? Agents sign an "Exclusive Representation" so that they are agreeing to work together and bringing specific responsibilities of both parties. He is asking you to sign a form stating that you guys don't have to work together? Why sign a form, why not just work together?

In my opinion, the answer is off base.

I've routinely seen agents simply release the Buyer from their Buyer-Broker agreement is they were unhappy.  They could also make the Buyer-Broker agreement non-exclusive and have it only apply to properties they've shown  you.

@Scott Anderson I've seen some agents stick to their guns and not let people out of representation agreements (especially listing agreements on personal residences).

However, I always say you never want to be working for someone who hates your guts (grin). Better to let them go if they're unhappy.

@Jared Smith - I agree with Jay (and others), this doesn't add up. Granted, each state has differences and I'm licensed in FL, not UT......still, I'm not fully buying it. For example, in FL we are automatically transaction brokers, which means our obligation is to the transaction. At the same time I have limited duty to the client. It's rare that you deal with an agent with zero representation anywhere. My listings don't even pay non-agents. 

I rarely ever sign buyer-broker agreements. That said, they're not binding forever - any party can cancel at any time, the protection given to the agent is that you can't see a place and go around his/her back to buy it (for a set amount of time, eg 120 days). An agent can even do a buyer-broker agreement for a specific property (or 2, or 3). So something isn't adding up. Do as @Scott Anderson suggested and call your Dept of RE. Good luck!

@Stanley Bronstein

Agent or broker? If the broker is given a good reason and doesn’t at least swap agents the broker has failed their client.

If the buyer has no good reason then of course, stick to your guns.

@Jared Smith

The way he worded his response sounds sketchy and like a scare tactic to get the response he wants. I would get him on the phone and ask him as may questions as you can to get to what might be the real reason. As many have said here, I am an agent and investor in FL and a lot of agents will simply let you out of that agreement if you aren't happy with their services after a certain amount of time. There were some other good points brought up here as why he may not want or be able to enter into a fiduciary relationship however his answer would make me scratch my head and based off what you know now ask him more about those things people here have brought up. 

The agents response sounds like bs to me. At least in PA the buyers agency was created to help the buyer. Prior to its existence all agents technically represented the seller even when they were working with the buyer. When someone is spending such a large amount of money someone should be doing their best to represent them.

@Jared Smith did he provide you with the disclosure explaining agency relationships? Even if he will not be your agent it is still required in Idaho. Did he tell you that even though you won't be beholden to him, that he will represent your best interest? If so, he is behaving in a fraudulent manner toward the other party in the transaction. Maybe it works out for you in that instance, but do you really think someone who will act in a fraudulent manner toward someone else won't turn about on you at some point? If checking the box on the offer is the only difference he sees in having an agency agreement, he's probably not worth having represent you. You can limit the agreement, as others have mentioned, by time or to the specific property. It seems as he may have more to gain by not signing the agreement than you. In this case he doesn't have to look after your best interests. Just a few thoughts to consider. Personally I prefer to have someone look out for my best interests.

In Utah, a real estate agent is required to disclose in writing and have all the principals sign something disclosing all agency relationships.  (R162-2f-401a)

In other words, no matter who he's representing he needs to disclose all of those relationships to you. There are at least two state approved forms that address his explanation. If he doesn't represent you at all (which would be required if he had an interest in the property) he should present you with an "Unrepresented Buyer Disclosure" that specifically advises you to get other representation. If he doesn't want to bind you on other properties, we have a "Non-Exclusive Buyer Broker Agreement" that does not require you to pay the agent if you source a property somewhere else. This is the one we use all the time with investors.

Moreover, if he has any interest in the property, he needs to be disclosing that to you in writing as well.

His office's "different take on agency" seems to be that they don't care about administrative rules from the Division and they are unaware that there are state approved forms that address this situation exactly.  This isn't about what you want.  And clearly he hasn't explained agency in a way you understand.

This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  Which probably means that he also doesn't know what he's doing.  Find an agent who does and bring them into the deal.

Good luck!

Originally posted by @William Hochstedler :

In Utah, a real estate agent is required to disclose in writing and have all the principals sign something disclosing all agency relationships.  (R162-2f-401a)

In other words, no matter who he's representing he needs to disclose all of those relationships to you.  There are at least two state approved forms that address his explanation.  If he doesn't represent you at all (which would be required if he had an interest in the property) he should present you with an "Unrepresented Buyer Disclosure" that specifically advises you to get other representation.  If he doesn't want to bind you on other properties, we have a "Non-Exclusive Buyer Broker Agreement" that does not require you to pay the agent if you source a property somewhere else.  This is the one we use all the time with investors.

Moreover, if he has any interest in the property, he needs to be disclosing that to you in writing as well.

His office's "different take on agency" seems to be that they don't care about administrative rules from the Division and they are unaware that there are state approved forms that address this situation exactly.  This isn't about what you want.  And clearly he hasn't explained agency in a way you understand.

This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.  Which probably means that he also doesn't know what he's doing.  Find an agent who does and bring them into the deal.

Good luck!

William Exactly or in my words I call BS on his explanation.. you can do a lot in this industry but undisclosed licensed principal is one you will get fried on every time and I bet in every state.