I suspect that most of you that might be reading this blog know that you can call just about any real estate office and ask the agent to show you a house(or houses) and they will.
Now, they might ask you some prying questions like... "Have you been pre-approved?" "Are you currently working with a real estate agent?".... And if you say yes to the first question and no to the second... well, you're probably off to the races. Races, indeed.
This is a somewhat cavalier and casual way to go about spending what could be the the most money you will ever spend in your life, don't you think? Depending on where you live, presumably hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Pretty serious stuff isn't it?
So what would happen if you called a Realtor and said this: "We are thinking about buying a house. And we would like to interview you to discuss what services you have to offer."?
I would hope that the next step would be an appointment at the Realtor's office to sit down and discuss the process. The discussion should include what you can expect from the agent and his/her firm. How long this relationship will last. What steps might be taken to terminate that agreement, if necessary. What the fee would be and how it would be paid. Also what this agent would be doing to find the suitable inventory. What type of agency relationship is this going to be? Most likely the firm will be a buyer's agent, but the agency will need to be discussed and disclosed.
The agent, I would hope, will explain the process and how his/her firm will support you with their resources and support staff. The agent, if they have enough experience will have a significant knowledge of the market and certainly will have available to them any and all professionals that might be needed to pull this project together.
So, my question is concerning having a written agreement. It has been my observation that clients who sign this type of agreement, transcend from a casual and cavalier relationship to a more structured and serious arrangement. With a more structured plan the client has confidence that their representative is looking after their account daily... scouring the market to find potential properties.
Give it some thought... if you are really serious about finding a house. Ask your Realtor if they will sign this agreement. If they don't or won't... does it make you wonder?