A prospect contacted me yesterday with a question about a listing I had sent her. At her request, our previous contacts were only by email. Our conversation revealed that she had been dealing with a brother of a friend who is a real estate agent and also an investor. She indicated that the agent was not particularly responsive, and that she felt that he and she may be searching for similar property for himself. She does not have a buyer agency agreement with this agent.
I asked her if he had asked her to enter into an agency agreement with her, and the answer was no. That is not surprising given the possibility that they both may be looking for the same house. My suggestion to her was that, if she wanted to continue to work with the other agent that she ask him to sign a buyer agency agreement. Without the agreement, he owed her nothing but to not lie to her. He was free to put his own interests ahead of hers, and he had no responsibility to show her any property, even property she specifically asked to see.
If the information this prospect provided me about the other agent is correct, it presents a good reason why it is not always in the agent's best interest to enter into a buyer agency agreement with a customer. However, the buyer agency agreement is of great benefit to consumers who expect an agent to perform on their behalf.
If you're shopping for a home, having a buyer agency agreement in place will obligate the agent to diligently work on your behalf to find the best property, determine its value, and negotiate the best price and terms in its purchase. Without a buyer agency agreement, the agent has no responsibility to the customer other than to be truthful. He s free to pursue his own interests, even when they conflict with the interests of a potential customer.