The rules and regulations of Connecticut real estate "Buyer Broker" agreements for buyers and tenants.
One of the very first things I ask a buyer is, "are you already working with another agent?"
The reason for this is because Connecticut is a state that requires a buyer broker agreement between a buyer and a real estate agent and the company they represent.
What potential buyers AND potential tenants need to understand about the buyer broker agreement in Connecticut.
- The buyer broker agreement is a contract, think carefully before you sign it and understand what it is all about before you sign.
- The buyer broker agreement also pertains to rentals, which is something many looking for a rental just don't understand.
The form is a contract between the buyer or tenant, a full blown contract. In a nutshell it states I will assist you in finding a home to purchase, or a rental, to the best of my ability. It is limited to a certain time period AND a certain geographical location.
It also states that I will not divulge information about yourself with anyone else unless you have given me permission to share. You also state that if you purchase or rent one of the homes I have shown you in the time frame specified and the locations specified you will use me, or my company, to purchase or rent the home.
One of the scariest parts of the contract for a buyer or tenant states that although we normally get paid our commission paid by the seller or landlord, if they don't pay us we will look to you to pay our commission.
Of course it says much, much more than that because it is a legal document, but in a nutshell that is what the buyer broker agreement contains. And I have not had to ask a buyer or tenant to pay my commission yet. There are many stops along the way that will alert us to that possibility, but one never knows.
Read the buyer broker agreement carefully, make sure you understand what it says and what your obligations are under this agreement and make sure you have your agent explain what their obligations are to you under this agreement.
Things to look for:
Area covered under the buyer broker agreement. Sometimes it is for one house only, one town or two towns, etc. If I were to write in "Litchfield County" not only would you be obligated to use me for any home in Litchfield County during the time specified, but I would be obligated to assist you in finding a home, to the best of my ability, that fits your criteria in all of Litchfield County.
- I don't work in all of Litchfield County, so I personally never, ever put that in!
- Time frames are also important. If I lock you in for a year to work with me, we are both stuck if you decide you can't stand the sight of me!
But what can you do if you signed a buyer broker agreement and find out after a week or two that you can't stand the agent you signed with?
Well, you can ask to be released from the contract. But if you want to purchase or rent one of the places the agent showed you in the time frame covered, well.. you do have options. You can either put your big girl/big boy pants on and hope the agent does the same and move ahead with the purchase, or you can ask the agent or the agent's manager to assign a new person to take over.
If all else fails, you can ask to be released from the contract. If you don't get anywhere with the agent, call and speak with the manager and explain the situation. Hopefully a release from the buyer broker contract will be in your future. If not, at least a new agent will be assigned.
Why would I follow these rules and regulations? One of the biggest reasons is I want to protect my license and the ability to earn a commission. Without a signed buyer broker agreement in place I run the risk of not getting paid when the fat lady sings! Not to mention the trouble I will be in with my company.
Check those buyer broker agreements before you sign them, ask to have it explained in full to you and get a copy for your records.
And yes, you can waive signing the buyer broker agreement, at which time to you will be asked to sign an "Unrepresented Persons" form. But you will be just that, you won't have the full representation you deserve, the agent can only show you listings that his or her company has, and you are really have no one on "your side". The agent will have to treat you fairly, but owes a fiduciary responsibility to the seller or landlord.
For a very good explanation of what rights you have as a buyer or tenant in the state of Connecticut and what these forms and contracts are all about, check out "Buying a House is Not Like Buying a Car" put out by the Connecticut Association of Realtors.
Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County Real Estate
2017 President, Greater New Milford Board of Realtors
2017 Connecticut Magazine 5 Star Realtor
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Litchfield County Regional Office,375 Danbury Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
© Andrea Swiedler 2009 - 2017
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain