In Texas, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) dictates how real estate agents can work with buyers. Every real estate agent in the state is governed by the same rules that the TREC enforces, regardless of where in the state they work, or which company they work for.
Real estate agents can work with buyers in either one of two ways (and only these two ways):
- We can ASSIST you. That means that we can show you homes and help you do whatever it is that you want to do regarding a property. Under this method, we can supply you with public information, and even comparable sales in the area. What we, and other agents cannot do, is to advise you regarding what is in your best interests. We can only facilitate your wishes, or assist you, if we do not act as your agent. The TREC actually limits the degree in which we can help you if we are not your buyer agent. They prohibit us from acting in a buyer’s best interest unless we have a buyer agency agreement. They also require us to give you a form the first time that we meet called the “Information About Brokerage Services” form. They ask us to obtain your signature on the form, which states that we are not acting as your buyer agent unless we enter into a separate written agreement. TREC’s purpose in requiring this is so that you, the public, can understand that we as Realtors are not yet representing you. Again, ALL Realtors are required to function in this exact same manner.
- We can ADVOCATE for you. Under this method, we become your agent by entering into a written agreement that spells out the terms of our agreement. As your agent, we can advise you regarding everything that is in your best interest in a particular transaction. The advantage to this method is that you get the advantage of our knowledge of the local market, and our experience in dealing with issues and contract negotiations, and sometimes, even particular properties or sellers that we may have previous knowledge of. Sometimes, a buyer will tell me that he has bought several properties before, so he knows what he is doing. I have been involved in over 600 transactions, so chances are that I have dealt with a lot more potentially explosive real estate issues than most buyers have. As your agent, you get the advantage of my experience over 17 years and those 600 plus transactions. And by the way, the seller pays the commission so you get this at no cost to yourself!This second form, called the “Buyer/Tenant Representation Agreement,” does primarily two things: 1) it allows the Realtor to work in your best interests and actually advocate for you instead of only assisting you and, 2) it commits you to working with the Realtor exclusively for a period of time stated in the agreement. This form is the one that we use for all of our clients who request our Buyer Rebate.
As your buyer agent, my wife and I are willing to show you as many homes as you would like to see. I have heard of agents who limited the number of homes they would show to a potential buyer. I understand that the first thing you need is to get acquainted with the local real estate market, and that can take some time. We are happy to help you any way that we can.
My advice, whether you use our company or another one; ask them to be your buyer agent and put that agreement in writing.