It’s not uncommon for both buyers and sellers to be a little confused as to how real estate agents work, when they are representing them (called “procuring cause”) and even how they get paid.
Ultimately, clients should work with just one real estate agent when they’re looking to buy a home. We highly recommend meeting a few different agents to ensure that you find one that you trust and like, but it’s best to choose just one once you start your serious home search. This is because only one agent can actually represent you when you make the purchase. It’s your agent’s full responsibility to show you any home that you like, and If your agent is sick or on vacation, it’s also their responsibility to find a substitute agent to help you out. If you use another agent to show you a home, it can unfortunately lead to confusion and disputes about who will actually be representing you during the sale – and earning the commission.
Let’s look at the following scenario. A homebuyer finds a house they really like on EveryHome.com. They reach out to make an appointment, and we set up a time for them to see it with an EveryHome buyer’s agent, and they all meet at the home a day or two later. Let’s say, for this example, that the buyer really likes the home – and maybe even want to submit an offer. Then he explains to the agent showing him the home that he’s already working with another a different real estate agent, and he’ll reach out to that agent if he decides to purchase a home.
Unfortunately, if this situation were to happen, the agent who actually took the time to show him the home and answer all of his questions wouldn’t even get the commission. On the other hand, if he used this new agent to purchase the home, his original agent who had worked for him for a couple months wouldn’t get a commission. Either way, someone loses. So who really has procuring cause, which is the right to represent the client and earn the commission?
In this example, it’s not entirely clear. Procuring cause is a legal doctrine that establishes which agent or agency has the right to earn a commission. Unfortunately, the only thing that can ensure procuring cause is “an unbroken chain of events” meaning that the same agent walked through every single step of the home buying process with a client – and in this case, that didn’t happen. We also don’t mean to sound greedy, but because real estate agents only get paid when homes close, it’s important that we show homes to clients who aren’t planning on using another agent. Of course, there are big exceptions to all of this – if you aren’t satisfied with your current agent, we recommend having an honest discussion with them so that they understand they’re no longer representing you, and then finding someone else to work with.