This is always an interesting topic. I have new agents speak to me often with the same question: when should I get a buyer rep. signed? When should I present it? I don’t want to seem pushy….etc.
According to REBBA…..
“If a brokerage enters into a buyer representation agreement with a buyer and the agreement is not in writing, the brokerage shall, before the buyer makes an offer, reduce the agreement to writing, have it signed on behalf of the brokerage and submit it for signature. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 14.”
Essentially you are required to do it anytime BEFORE your buyer submits an offer.
Now the question becomes, when before should you have it signed? This is entirely up to you and your style of business, but in order to help you determine which when, I’ve broken down the 3 common timeframes to get it signed and the pro’s and con’s for each.
Immediately - Before Doing Any Work/Showings
Choosing to present the buyer representation prior to doing any work has many benefits but can be problematic when dealing with potential clients who may be a bit more cautious when signing documents. The largest benefit is that by obtaining your forms, you protect YOUR time and YOUR efforts. The buyer forms ensure that should your client decide to work with someone else or find their own property, the hours/days/months you spent showing properties, driving around the city, and doing research isn’t completely lost. Remember, you aren’t a volunteer, this is your profession. The downside is that many consumers aren’t comfortable signing a contract with someone they just met and committing to someone that they aren’t completely convinced that they will work well with.
During - After Showings/Meetings
This can be after 1 showing or a few days of showings. I like to refer to it like dating. Sign at this is allows you to get to know each other BEFORE a document is signed. Remember, the contract is a 2 way street. Your client has duties to you, but you also have duties to them. Doing a bit of work prior to signing gives you the opportunity to test the working relationship. The negative to this is that there is a potential for wasted time. Whether it was 1 hour of showings or 5 hours of showings, if the buyer decides to work with someone else, your time is not protected. It can be incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking but be strict with how much time you commit during this period.
After - Just Before an Offer is Signed
Throughout my years in real estate, I have had this conversion with agents on several occasions.
Agent: I’ve been working with this client for the past 6 months, but they went to an open house this weekend and bought a house through the listing agent – aren’t I owed commission?
Me: Did you have a buyer rep signed?
Me: Then no, unfortunately you aren’t owed anything.
Waiting until just before an offer is signed makes the client feel the most comfortable but places you at the most risk. In this situation you place a lot of trust with your clients, hoping that they will work with you and not cut you out of the deal (on purpose or otherwise). If you’re not too concerned or feel that it’s worth the risk rather than losing the client due to coming across too pushy, that’s your call.
Whichever way you choose is entirely up to you, my suggestion, though is to be consistent. To create efficient businesses you should choose a method and stick to it. Spend the next few clients testing out each option, see how comfortable you feel, and once you’ve decided which works best with you and your personality, make it your policy. By having something you follow with every client, you’re able to start focusing on other parts of your business rather than having to change for every person you meet.
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