The legal definition of procuring cause would be “the cause that results in the attainment of a stated goal”. In real estate it would take on the meaning of the real estate agent or broker who, by their actions in producing a buyer, brought about the sale of a property.
Every state Realtor association has its own guidelines that establish procuring cause, none of which are fast and hard rules. Some facts carry more weight than other facts. A buyer could sign an exclusive buyer’s broker agreement with one agent but the second agent who closes the transaction, depending on circumstances, could end up earning the commission. Procuring cause is complicated and the outcome is not always predictable.
Realize that when you speak to an agent whether at an open house or from an ad of some sort, you might be getting yourself stuck in an uncomfortable situation if you don’t intend to buy a home through any of these agents. Your best bet to avoid procuring cause disputes is to be upfront with each real estate agent you speak with and hire the best qualified to help you find a home. It’s important to remember that the listing agent is going to be representing the seller’s best interest not yours. You’ll want to find a buyer’s agent who will represent you and your best interest when you are looking for your next home. Once you find an agent use these tips to help your agent establish procuring cause:
- Say you are working with another agent. If agents don’t ask you if you’re working with another agent, then promptly volunteer that information.
- Sign a buyer’s broker agreement with your agent. Buyer’s broker agreements will clearly describe the relationships, compensation and duties. • Sign an agency disclosure with your agent. Agency disclosures describe the various capacities under which an agent can operate.
- Do not ask another agent to show you a property. Your agent is eager to help you. Part of your agent’s duties is to show you homes for sale, even if those are homes that you have located yourself. Let your agent earn their commission.
- Do not directly call listing agents for information. Your agent will probably get more detailed information than you will get anyway. Plus there will be no confusion if your agent calls the listing agent.
- Follow Open House protocol if you go unescorted. If you attend an open house without your agent, hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the Open. Sign guest books with your agent’s name next to your own (just your first name is fine). Not only will this help protect you, the open house agent won’t try to corral you or request personal information.