I know this happened to just about every Real Estate Agent I talked to. It happened to me 4 times. I run a particular Buyer around looking at 40 or 50 properties. One day they drive past an open house, walk in and write and offer to purchase with the Listing Agent. In most cases they tell the Agent at the open house they are working with me. It makes no difference to the other Agent, ethics are not their concern. Making a buck is their top priority. The Buyer bows down to pressure from the Agent at the open house offering to write a full price offer on the spot. Of course the offer is accepted and goes on to close.
Maybe it is my fault. Maybe it is the way I do business. When I show properties I explain subjects like defects, inspections, and show Buyers what inspectors look for. I go over negotiation strategies and market trends in the local neighborhood. I explain how I am paid --- I do not make a dime until the deal closes and the Buyer walks away with the keys. To get paid, I have to write the offer and follow through with all the steps to close.
This happened to me again a few weeks ago. The other three were years ago. After a few months I received calls from the other three. The Buyer on the other side of the line was frantically looking for help after the home they purchased began showing signs of major defects. At that point all I can do is explain I cannot get involved or give advise on a contract I am not a party to. All I can do is tell them what information to collect and suggest a good attorney.
In Wisconsin, the Listing Agent represents the Seller. This is supposed to be explained before writing an offer. It can create a mess for a Buyer when a contract is written to favor the Seller. Buyers need to be aware of who represents them and why. When Buyers decide to proceed on their own with no representation, they may wind up with unexpected results.
This is rare. Most of the time Listing Agents at an open houses will tell Buyers to contact me if they want to write an offer. Most Listing Agents will call me and update me on the Buyer's interest. Most Real Estate Agents are very ethical and follow guidelines establishing good business practices. But when an Agent chooses to bend, or ignore one rule, others are usually quick to follow.