While there is no 'mandatory' legal responsibility to pay broker's commission in the event someone brings you a buyer, think about it this way:
Did you advertise on Loopnet or some other directory that (mainly) one real estate agents use? Even if you just had a FSBO sign on your property, (more thank likely) your property was found because of the efforts of a real estate agent looking for space for their buyer (who they control).
My firm operates as exclusive agents, but in the rare event that we do not have a property in our inventory that suits a buyer's/tenant's needs and I have to do a search on Loopnet, I look for the commission language in the listing itself. If there is no set commission, or if there's the 'broker's welcome' or equivalent, I DON'T EVEN PRESENT the property to my buyer. Sometimes a buyer will see a property and bring it to my attention, and if the owner is not willing to sign an exclusive (if not represented by another broker), then we have a 'one-time' agreement which registers this buyer to the owner, and we usually ask a higher rate of commission because we're taking the risk by introducing a ready, willing, and able buyer to the owner.
I do have a few buyers for whom I do site selection, and in those cases, I've made THEM sign the agreement to pay my commission (in the event that the landlord will not). Most buyers, however, WILL NOT agree to this. I've been fortunate.
The only asset I have (besides my knowledge) is MY TIME. I do not like to waste my time by looking for properties for a buyer, only to have an owner wheel-and-deal their way out of my only paycheck for the transaction.
As an agent, if an owner does not want to respect my efforts and time, I'll take my buyer to a property where I will get paid - simple as that!
Jul 30, 2010