Vail Daily column: Can I change Realtors?
Can I change Realtors, legally? I called an office to ask about a property about three or four months ago and the Realtor that answered the phone said he would show us the property. We were not impressed with the property, or frankly, the Realtor. He did tell us about another house and we looked at it with him the next weekend. We told him we were not interested in the second house either. He called a few times after that, but we said we were not looking currently. We have not heard from him in two months, and now we have found a home we think we might really like. We also have met a Realtor, at a social function, that seemed very bright and knowledgeable about the market. She offered to help us, and was not pushy at all. Do we owe any obligation to the Realtor that showed us the first two homes, or can we switch and use the new one that we think we would like to work with?
Dear Soon to Have a New Realtor,
This is a great question that much of the public (and a few Realtors) are confused about. When you first meet a Realtor, before you ever look at a property, the Realtor must explain how they are working. The Realtor needs to disclose (and have you sign a contract) if they are going to be working as your buyer agent. The buyer agency contract has a beginning and ending date and if you signed this you might be obligated to use the first broker who had you sign it. On the other hand, if that broker did not contact you for a couple of months, then you may be able to cancel the contract because of the abandonment clause, or it may have expired or the contract could have been filled in to only cover a specific property or area. Read your contract carefully, if you have one, and if you are uncertain, then you can always seek legal advice.
If your first Realtor chose to work as a transaction broker or neutral, then you may have just received a broker disclosure form that you were asked to sign to acknowledge that the broker had informed you how they were working, but it is not a binding contract. If you signed nothing, then you definitely need to change Realtors because they are not doing their job. Now, with the second Realtor, I would advise that you do sign a buyer agency agreement, even if it is just for a month. That way the broker can legally tell you everything they know about the property, the sellers, the neighborhood, whatever you ask, since they will be working exclusively for you. There are a few more choices and decisions to be made before signing a buyer agency contract, so ask your new Realtor about how she works and what she is asking you to sign. She should be able to explain it very well. Best of luck in finding the right house and with the right Realtor!
Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.