You have found your dream home. You are ready to make an offer—or you already have made an offer. But you feel like your real estate agent isn’t quite the right fit—and there is another agent you have been talking to that you would rather work with on this transaction. So, can you actually do that?
A recent article from realtor.com explored the question of whether home buyers can switch real estate agents during the offer process. And the answer? It depends.
According to the article, there are a number of factors that determine if and when a buyer can switch real estate agents while making an offer on the home, including:
What the agent has done during your home search process. Generally, if an agent has just taken you out and shown you a few homes, and you have not signed an exclusive buyer's representation agreement, you are not bound to work with them—even if you want to put an offer on one of those homes. If, for whatever reason, you are not satisfied with the working relationship, you can switch agents and have them facilitate your offer.
Whether an exclusive buyer's representation was signed or not. If you have signed a buyer’s representation agreement, you have agreed to work with a specific agent for a set period of time. And if you find a home and want to make an offer during that time, that agent is entitled to the commission—meaning you won’t be able to switch.
Whether an offer was submitted. When an offer is submitted, it is considered a procuring cause of the transaction—and the agent who submitted the offer is entitled to the commission. So, if you have already submitted an offer, switching agents will be extremely challenging (if not impossible).
If you are not satisfied with your real estate agent, you have the right to switch agents at various points throughout the home search process. But once you have actually submitted an offer, that agent is entitled to the commission—which means, in most cases, you will need to work with them for the rest of the homebuying process.
To minimize the risk of getting to a point in a real estate transaction where you want to switch agents, take the time upfront to ask the right questions and get the right commitments and understanding of the process from your real estate agent.