Buying or Selling a Home/buying from agent


   My wife and I are looking to buy a retirement home.  We have picked a couple of areas, one out of state.  We have had 3 agents show us homes in different areas.  One of the agents keeps handing us a contract and tells us we have to sign.  The contract says she is our exclusive agent and something about a 3 1/2 commission that we would help pay if the sellers agent doesn't give that much.  I said "You are not going to show us houses out of state or far away."  She said "Don't worry I would let you out of the contract if you bought far away."   
  We feel uncomfortable because if we buy in one of the other areas from another agent what does that mean? We would have signed that she is our only agent. Can we just tell her that we don't want to sign the contract or that we will sign when she finds us the right house?
   Also when we find the right house we are to put down money.  How much should we put down and what happens if the deal falls through, do we get our money back?

I would NOT recommend you sign the contract at any time.  If the agent finds you a house she/he needs to work out their commission with the other agent and you should NOT be on the hook at any point.  I certainly would not take someone's word that they will let you out.  In real estate all agreements must be in writing or they have no meaning.  
In my area the general deposit is 3% of your offer but it might vary in other locations and I have seen offers with lower deposits.  You have to see what the contract says about the return of the deposit.  Usually your deposit is only at risk after you have removed all your contingencies such as inspections and the loan.  
Find agents that you trust and are working in your best interest to represent you, not ones only concerned about their commission.  I personally would find another agent.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

Buying or Selling a Home

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Sue Bernstein


My expertise in in residential real estate., I have been selling residential real estate for over 2 decades in the Los Angeles area. I can answer most questions regarding real estate in the state of California and most generic questions for the rest of the country relating to buying and selling homes, selecting a real estate agent, and more!


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