Linda, a Buyers agreement or EBBA is a form used by most reputable Agents today. It has several uses, and these uses will vary from state to state. I can give you examples for the state of Florida. A EBBA discloses and describes in writing many items regarding your relationship with your Agent. In Florida, representation as Transaction Broker is assumed; meaning, 1 Agent represents you as a buyer and the same Agent represents the Seller in a transaction. This also means you get 50% loyalty from the agent because he has to give the other 50% of his loyalty to the seller (totaling 100%). EBBAs can be used to designate the Agent as a Single Agent representing you as a Buyer with 100% loyalty and confidentiality to only you. This Agent can not then represent the Seller in the transaction. Commercial Real Estate in Florida allows a Broker to designate a different Agent in the same office for the seller. This does not apply to Residential sales and would constitute Dual-Agency which is illegal. Approximately 1 in 4 transactions are sold "in-house" where you might have this situation arise. Mostly your Buyer Agent will find you a listing suitable to you outside of his own Brokerage firm. This is usually my case when representing Investors; example, I have an Investor in Multi-Family, but my Broker specializes in Hotel and Development properties, so I look elsewhere to find a property. EBBAs also put in writing compensation expected to represent you in a deal. It could be negotiated that the the Agent will represent you for example 3% commission, if the split is only 1.5% then you will be required to ante-up the additional 1.5% out of your pocket, if a net listing you will be required to pay all 3%. EBBAs also protect the Agent acting on your behalf from being "cut-out" of a deal after being the procuring cause. In case a Agent shows you a property from another Broker and you just decide to use the Sellers Agent to do the deal. Remember that is Transaction Broker relationship now and you are back to 50% loyalty now, not illegal...yet why would you not want 100% representation? Also, some Buyers get misled into TBR because the listing Agent will discount the commission. Please note that this is highly unethical and if brought to the Grievance Committee could be subject to review and disciplinary action. You may contact your local Realtor board and ask for a Realtor who is experienced with EBBAs to further explain in detail. Sadly, not all Agents are familiar with the EBBA and all of the above should have been explained to you in detail by the Agent you contacted. I hope that this was helpful, Good luck. Ian Johnson, GRI, TRC.
Oct 28, 2008