What are my real estate agent’s responsibilities after I make an offer on a new (to-be-constructed) house?

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I am looking to move to Katy, TX (from Houston) and I got a real estate agent because everyone tells you it’s the right thing to do if you want a good deal. I did shop around before contacting a RE agent that works for Gary Greene Prudential, who I won’t name. I finally found a house that we love (my wife and I) and signed a contract with the builder to commence building the house.

First of all, she did not negotiate the price – we basically got the listed price (1 other home buyer working without an agent came in while we were and got the same price). Her excuse was that it was the best selling community in the whole US and so it’s not a buyer’s market here. I tried to played hardball and insisted on 2% of the closing cost which I eventually got (I negotiated this myself). As a first time home buyer, I thought (and she confirmed) that it is her job to help us throughout the process until we move in.
However, once we signed the contract (almost 3-4 wks ago) and the RE agent was promised 3%, we have not heard from her.

A couple of weeks ago, the bank tried to stiff me off my promised 2% closing cost and, naturally, I called my agent but she did not even bother to call the bank or the seller to complain. She did not even return my call. I sorted everything out myself.

Secondly, the builders were not following the time-line promised (we want to move by year’s end because our lease runs out then), but I had to sort this out myself by threatening to walk away.

We have had a couple of meetings with the builders including today’s “pre-construction meeting”, but our RE agent wasn’t there despite being sent a notice on Monday (by the sale’s agent). Even the sale’s agent told me today that it’s strange.

I am a very candid and outspoken person, but I also pride myself on being educated before making a complaint. So, I would like to know what my RE agent’s responsibilities to me are? Does it end at the contract signing? Or, as a first time home buyer, isn’t she supposed to guide me through the whole process until closing?

3 Comments
  1. Reply
    My Take on It
    July 21, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Your agent should be more attentive than they have been, that is for sure.
    You can go in to their office and complain to their broker.

  2. Reply
    Where's my scooby snack?
    July 21, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Normally, yes. Real estate agents are supposed to be there for you and help you every step of the way.

    However, sadly, I find that most, if not all, of them have no idea what’s going on, have no knowledge of ANYTHING, and don’t care whether or not they’re helping you. All they’re there for is to make money and move on. I’ve bought 2 houses and both times I’ve used a real estate agent. Neither one knew anything about anything, it was like I was doing everything myself.

    I would think that the agent would want to be involved as much as possible, since it means potential commission.

    Most of them will tell you want you want to hear, that it’s their job to help you, they’re there for your best interest. But most of the time they’ll try to get you to make a higher bid.

    Unfortunately since you already signed a contract with her, I don’t think you can go with another agent. You can possibly complain to her boss about her appalling behavior but for the most part, all you can do is hope for the best and be on your toes.

    I feel your pain.

  3. Reply
    Kim Knox
    July 21, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Your Realtor is responsible to protect your interest in your purchase. As far as negotiations and not getting the BEST price possible for yourself, consider the opposite. Consider that your Agent insisted that you require $ 5000 towards your closing costs and prepaids, paid by the Seller. Lets say the Agent is MORE aggressive than you are. Lets also say that attitude LOST you the sale. Would you then be mad at the Realtor for trying too hard to get you the BEST price? Just offering some perspective. Additionally, it sounds like you are getting a loan on this purchase, which will require an appraisal. If it does not appraise at your purchase price, your Agent can go back to the negotiation table.

    New construction, in my area, is pretty firm on price. They set prices to sell. It is reasonable to think most productive builders operate the same.

    The Agents responsibilities to you end when you CLOSE your sale, not when you sign paperwork. That is, if your receiving full representation. I obviously don’t know your arrangement, but I am offering this response in accordance with standard practice.

    Ask the Agent if you have done something to offend her, ask if she prefer you work with her Principal Broker for the remainder of the transaction. You cannot dump your agent while in contract, she is procuring cause. You can, however, involve her Principal Broker.

    You still have a long way until close, and still have a lot of conditions of sale to get through. The fact that you indicated that YOU negotiated the 2% closing costs concerns me. I have never had a Buyer client directly negotiate with a Seller, it is odd at best. If YOU negotiated this, is it part of your WRITTEN contract? Hopefully this was put in writing and formally agreed to. If not, your agent needs to draft an addendum.

    Tricky situation, hope it works out for you.

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