Another Reason for Getting a BRA Signed
As you know, I had many interesting learning experiences while trying to buy a house on or around Vancouver Island. I think this one is worth sharing.
I didn’t have a Buyer Representation Agreement signed with an agent I was working with on one of the Gulf Islands. He hadn’t asked and I hadn’t insisted. I wish I had. I was working exclusively with him on that island – but no agreement.
We had seen a few properties, made a low offer on one without any success and I was watching the new listings like a hawk. I didn’t hear from him ever but I did find that this was pretty common. I guess buyers are supposed to find their own property from the auto emails and site? (fodder for another post).
Finally, a great property came up on the auto email. It was described as acreage with a view and a smaller house with what sounded like some interesting design elements. This fit my criteria exactly. I emailed him, then reconsidered and quickly gave him a call – I could be on the island on the next ferry to see the property. He hesitated – and then tells me, “no, this isn’t the house for you.” My heart sinks. How come? “Well…the house is not a great example of this architect’s work, this is going to sell very fast, there will be many more properties that are better suited to you coming out soon…” He went on to say he was showing it at 1:00 and that offers were already registered and it would sell that very day.
What was I do to? Insist on coming to see the property? Call a different agent? I let it go but this experience sits really poorly in my heart and head. The property sold for full price. I would have been in a position to offer over the asking price if I had wanted it. I don’t know if this was the right home for me or not but I know that the agent I was working with got in the way of me having a chance to find out. I emailed him a few days later asking if he had been the agent who had sold the property and never heard back. I don’t know for sure but likely he sold the property and didn’t make me aware of it because he had another buyer interested. If there was a BRA between us he would have been violating CREA Code of Ethics 3.1, 3.8 and 3.9. It doesn’t really matter because I didn’t have an agreement signed and so he had no obligation to make me aware of the property or to show it to me.
What if he had? I imagine I would have legal recourse. More importantly, this is a great opportunity for buyer’s agents who are truly committed to a professional and ethical real estate practice to speak to their potential buyer clients about the legal responsibility that an agent has to the client under the BRA that they don’t have if the buyer doesn’t sign on. An Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement is critical for a successful, committed professional relationship between you and your buyer clients. It’s crucial to recognize that when you agree to sign one with your buyer, you are accepting the responsibility of doing everything possible to find them the right home.
With Zillow, Redfin and Purple Bricks coming into our market, it is essential that you understand what you can offer your buyer and seller clients that is valuable and then be sure to deliver on the services you promise. There will be a place in the emerging real estate environment for agents that are excellent at what they do.