North And Northwest of Chicago Real Estate : Friends Sign Buyer Agency Agreements, Too

Friends Sign Buyer Agency Agreements, Too

Friends? Was in a subject line of one of the emails that I received yesterday. Here is a story that many in our profession can relate to.

I'm not trying to complain with this blog post. I'm sharing a story that is behind me. That made me stronger, better.  Every day we are reminded that "We learn from mistakes" 

Before I go on with this rant, here is my bottom line. I was disappointed for a few minutes, mad, angry, furious, etc.  I did not show to my ex friend any of the emotions above. I was cool like a spritzer, as they would say in the old country. Few times since than I would ask myself "how could they do that?"  and then life goes on.

A few times I have heard: Man up, take it as a man and a few other phrases could be found. What does that person think when they use "the phrase"?
As I'm writing, my age is 34. I have had ups and downs, I have seen the world. I am man enough to admit when I'm wrong and so on. I answer my phone calls, I try to schedule the appointments ahead ...  So here is the rest of my real estate story in this instance. 

Copy and paste of the portion of the email: "I hope that the house thing hasn't gotten between our friendship .... "
While I was away to visit my family in Europe for only a week, my ex friends decided to send an offer without me. One of their excuses is that the agent made them do that. "Now go jump off the bridge "if you know what I'm sayin', I told you so ... 3 2 1 jump ... come on ... you are not jumping ... I would not think so. We have time to think before we make decision. "Friendo!"

The clients "friends" were so much in a hurry that they could not email me for assistance. Someone from my office could show them those few homes while I was away. I told them  that I would be out of town.  My mistake was that I did not use the buyer agency agreement.  I made the mistake. Well, life goes on. I work, sleep, socialize, do the regular stuff.  Of course I'm not calling on these "friends"; they are not friends. You do this and you call me friend?

They did call me after my short trip. One of the sentences they used was: "We have good news and bad news. The good news was that they found the home. The bad news was that they found it with someone else."  Very classy.

Good for the agent. After my 30 + showings and countless hours he found something for them in one day. My mistake, no buyer agency agreement.

One more copy and paste from my email with no editing: "We ended up putting in an offer and are in the process of closing on it now. Right now we are staying in a hotel and it sucks not having a home, but what sucks worse is thinking that we hurt you guys in any way."

I was hurt for a bit since I really had them as friends. .... buyer agency agreement comes to mind. 

Here are a few inserts from my reply:
"I guess I was not a friend is what I have come to accept. 
Some decisions are business decisions and some are friendship decisions. This decision interrupted the friendship
. I wish you the best."

My talking point with my next buyers will be : " Once upon a time I had very good friends ..... so let's sign this paper below and we can be friends one day " ..... :))

Friend for life ;) ... just kidding ... or not !

I should of, could of and on and on ...

Haris Dedic


 Haris Dedic, Realtor®, SFR, SRES

With RE/MAX Villager

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Comment balloon 35 commentsHaris Dedic • August 29 2010 12:37PM


I have been an exclusive buyer agent for the first 9 years of my 15 year carear and I have worked with in laws who signed EBA.  I can not imagine working with anyone without it.  It's a tough lesson to learn but what are you going to do.  I would step in and help them finish the process and ask for a referral fee from the listing agent, if there is only one involved and explain that you have worked with them for a long time. 

As a side issue, my best friend has a phone-a-phobia and has even forgoten my birthday which was over a month ago.  I talked to my mom and told her how I am so mad, I don't want to talk to her.  My mom said that the choice is mine, but how many friends can you afford to loose?  She's right, I value my friendship with my girlfriend (who is a past client) and can not afford to loose friends.  Can you?


Posted by Jane Becker, CRS,ASP,ABR,CBR,CDPE,LMC,E-PRO,GRI (Keller Williams Home Team AdvantEdge ) almost 9 years ago

Convenient for you that, because they were your friends, they were not entitled to a written commitment to give them your undivided loyalty, obedience, and reasonable care and diligence.  You got what you contracted with them -- permission to act as a custodian, unlocking the doors of homes listed for sale.

Posted by Mike Carlier, More opinions than you want to hear about. almost 9 years ago

We don't use Buyer Broker agreements, haven't ever used them. However, after reading THIS ... I might just consider it, especially with friends.

After all is said and done, business is business. Besides, it hurts more when it's a friend. A client? I can get over.


Posted by Tom & Lisa Slaughter (Century 21 Coast to Coast, Clearwater Beach, FL) almost 9 years ago


I had that same thing happen to me also. The only difference is that they were not friends. I learned my lesson. I only work with clients that will sign one with me. Friends and family will take advantage of your knowledge and experience faster than any stranger would.

Posted by Ron T. Weems Jr., Managing the details one home at a time. (Weems Property Group | KW North Sound) almost 9 years ago

In our area of Florida these are seldom used. In fact if you tried to get a buyer to sign one, you would see the exit door swinging within seconds. They would simply go down the street to the next office or agent who would not make them sign a buyers agreement. Just does not happen here.

We are a big country and I understand that in other parts of the country they are used all the time. A bitl like the open house issue. Depends on the customs of the area in our very large country.

Posted by John Elwell, You Deserve a Full-Time Agent, Not Reduced Results (CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Very difficult, I had a similar situation in 2008 when my business was tanking all around me.  I desperately needed that commission. DESPERATELY.  It was a listing with good friends.  The house was distressed.  I couldn't get the mother to sign the contract prior to listing.  They were in serious financial distress and I ran around trying to help them - they had an illegal deck that had to come down. I found a landscaper to soften that loss.   They needed to sell antiques - and coins - so I got an appraiser.  They had a ton of clutter and I got someone to help them clear out. Behind my back they were negotiating a FSBO.  All my running around to the building department and all my help - without a contract - allowed them to secure a deal without me. Apparently - all that wonderful information I supplied was invaluable. It did end the friendship - because I felt (rightly) that I was used and thrown under a bus.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) almost 9 years ago
I've heard of this happening before, can't remember if it has happened to e or not. But my questions is... Do these buyers seriously think we won't get upset or offended. It shocks me. I use tge buyer agency...unfortunally not up front. Maybe I should!
Posted by Trisha P Realty Group, "Holding the Keys to Your Dream Home" (Realty Executives) almost 9 years ago

I agree with John in Florida, at least here in NE Indiana I haven't heard of many Agents using them. I explain my position to people from the outset and what my expectations are and what they should expect from me, if everyone is agreeable we move on....if not they probably weren't that serious to begin with.  sorry your friends were so inconsiderate but I'm not sure a Buyers Agreement would keep people from being inconsiderate

Posted by Brian Kuhns, Fort Wayne Real Estate by Brian Kuhns (Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber) almost 9 years ago

How does the saying go:  Friends and family will sometimes treat you worse than strangers.  I'm sorry this happened to you.  I had to learn that if family and friends chose to do business with someone else from the start, I was not going to get my panties in a wad about it.  It's just not worth falling out about.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) almost 9 years ago

Haris, it's a sad thing, and I'm sorry to hear it happened to you... It also seems to work against you when you offer your best advice and service. It's taken for granted... Another upsetting  thing in similar situations - you showed the 30 + properties, so that they could cross them off the list, and have a clear view of what they want and need, then this *other* agent comes, shows them 2 houses, and they buy one. NOT because this agent is better at finding what clients need, but because by process of elimination there was no other possibility, you did all the work... Yet the perception might be - "see, we went out with this other guy once - and bingo!" (it's a different case, but unfortunately goes along well...)

At the same time, how many friends do we have? This is a tough one... One could probably try to explain to them, that this is A JOB, and how/when we get paid...

Is there any chance to get a referral fee? 

Posted by Anna Tolstoy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 9 years ago

Hi Haris~  I am so sorry that happened to you.  I know the feeling and it doesn't feel good at all!  I had a big long comment here, and some how I lost it! The gist of it was,  you just need to show them you are a bigger person then they are and if they can live with it, you can live without it!  Buyers just want a house and they typically do not worry about hurting their friend or realtor for that matter!  It is the rare person that can put someone else's needs above their own!  Buyers agency or not, you would now be fighting them to get the commission.  I had a best friend do it to me when I was out of town with my mother,who at the time had stage 4 cancer.  There was no excuse for it. I had been showing her houses for years! I had an assistant that she knew and had used while I was out of town.  Was I broken hearted and shocked that she bought with out me?  Of course I was.  But, I decided to be a bigger person!  Yes, we are still friends.  But, I just know she can't be loyal or faithful friend.  Some people just don't have that in them!  

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) almost 9 years ago

Haris, next time I'm in Chicago we'll have a beer and compare stories.  I too worked with a couple, no they weren't friends but were referred by friends.  I showed them 40 homes all the while they changed criteria and location.  I didn't have them sign a buyer agency agreement.  Finally, I suggested that before we go off looking at homes, maybe they might want to drive by them first and see if they like them.  Then we can schedule showings.  I waited to hear from them.

I did hear from them in the form of a scathing email about how I wasn't serving them and because of that they had gone with another agent who found them a home and were waiting to close.  I'll still take prospective customers out first but I will I discuss a buyer agreement.  I want to know if I want to work with them and they me.

I can burn up my time, gas and energy prospecting rather than acting as a custodian (thanks Mike).

Posted by David L. Montgomery, David L. Montgomery (MULAMONT REALTY, LLC) almost 9 years ago
Oh bummer....i am so sorry...but I think I would have been caught in the same situation as well! I have had family members do teh same thing...and I don't know that I would have gotten them to sign a buyers rep either!!! More than once I have had my feelings hurt...the real kicker is when they call you for additional advice...or tell you afterwards that they wish they had used you!! Sorry this happened to yoU!!!!
Posted by Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady! (Keller Williams Realty Boise) almost 9 years ago

I might work one day with a buyer without an agreement just to be sure we are a good fit but I always tell them...if we are comfortable with each other, the next day they need to sign the agreement.  I have never had a refusal but if I did, someone else can haul them around.  Their friendship meant more to you than to them so good riddance.  Trust is an important part of friendship.

Posted by Linda Hinson (S & L Properties) almost 9 years ago

I'm sure you know now that they were not truely your friends to begin with. That being said, some people don't know how the business works and it is up to us to explain and educate them.

Posted by Krista Barnes (Carolina One Real Estate; Realtor, SFR,ABR,CIAS) almost 9 years ago

My goal is to ALWAYS, no matter what the circumstance, maintain the high ground.  Lashing out at clients, friends or not, that did what they felt was best for them is ridiculous.  All you've accomplished is ensuring that they will NEVER to business with you in the future.  Additionally, you don't live in a vacuum.  Anyone that travels in the same circles as you and your friends is going to get wind of what went down.  Your former friends have the liberty to embellish the story to make themselves look like victims.  You?  Any way you package it, it comes down to your commission.  I wish you luck, but you may have done more harm than you realize. 

Posted by Chris deLambert almost 9 years ago

Haris. It's just the nature of the business. I wouldn't take it personally. If they were truly your friends then I would congratulate them on finding the right house and continue being friends. Life is way too short to let something like this come between friends.

Buyers have ZERO obligation to stay loyal to us unless you have a BBA. Even then they can still go around you. The agreement just lets them know that this is serious business.

I tyotally disagree with John #5 that buyers in Florida won't sign a BBA. I've never had an issue with getting one signed. In fact after I explain how it benefits them they are jumping through hoops to sign it. It all depends on your timing and your presentation.

My only advice to you is to think real long and hard about letting these things interfere with your friendships. Or maybe they aren't really your friends to begin with. Don't use that term lightly.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) almost 9 years ago

ah..the personal side of this business. I don't really know what to say. I would probably be in the same situation as I would probably not get a BBA signed either by a friend.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 9 years ago

Haris, I am so sorry you had to go through this experience. No pain wasted though. You will never let it happen again.  I have learned many things "the hard way".  Had a former agent hire me to list her home when I was a newbie. I did all the paperwork, pictures, brochures, etc. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me...she was working on getting her inactive license re-activated. Once it was, I was "let go" as her agent. Yes, we all get burned which is no fun. But, we come out wiser!! :)

Posted by Sonja Patterson, Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou (Keller Williams - BV) almost 9 years ago

Curious.  How would or could things have been different if you had a BA Agreement??

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Haris, I'm right next door to you so we should pretty much have the same practices and expectations from our clients. Presentation of agency, typically in a Buyer Agency agreement, is required by law in Illinois.


As of January 1 we are not allowed to so much as open a door without written acknowledgment of agency. Someone can decline exclusive agency, but they still must sign a document agreeing that you described agency.

Whether or not you require a compensation agreement before performing services is your choice, but why wouldn't you require this as well?

If describing agency and compensation is done upfront, maybe especially with friends, they will be more careful about (mis)using your professional time.  

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) almost 9 years ago

This post make me courious if there are many postings about Buyer Broker Agreements.   Are there any good  posts that can be reblogged for consumers to read?

Posted by Tim Bradford, NMLS 250013 almost 9 years ago

A new agent in our office had a similar experience this week.  His client would not make a decision before the agent left on vacation.  When he returned,  the buyer had bought a home at an open house. 

Posted by Carol Pease, CRS, Broker-Associate 512-721-6320 (JP & Associates Realtors) almost 9 years ago

I was told early on  in my career to treat all clients the same...even friends.  Actually friends are harder to work with than strangers.

Posted by Linda Lohman, Former Teacher/Broker (Fonville Morisey Realty) almost 9 years ago

I'm sorry but no way would they continue to be my friend after that. Frienships go both ways.  I's so very sorry you had this truly painful experience and I am sure it was super frustrating. It's so discouraging that versions of this story happen all the time.

Posted by Virginia Vanini, GRI,AHWD (Carey and Guarrera Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Haris:  Whether friend or not, you need to protect yourself and your business ... sometimes even more so with "friends".  Business needs to stay business no matter the client.  I'm sorry that you had to lose a friend in this manner.  Some things are hard to learn.

I congratulate you on putting your feelings and thoughts to words here on AR ... and for becoming a featured writer.


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) almost 9 years ago

Real Estate is State Specific. In Texas we are required by law to go over the IABS Information About Brokerage Services during our first substantial face to face meeting.  It's a single page that discusses who represents who.  At the end of the IABS it says that if you are going to use a broker / agent, for your protection, sign an agreement. 

I always use the IABS and it leads into a discussion about why it is in the buyers best interest for them to be a Client Versus a Customer (without a buyers rep agreement).   It really is in the buyers best interest to have a buyers rep agreement in Texas.  

My question to the buyer is Why wouldn't you want to be protected with an agreement?  To turn that around:  Why would you want to use an agent who wants to treat you like a customer instead of a client? There really is a lot of WIIFM for buyers in the Texas agreement.

In Texas, buyers don't pay for my services - the seller pays all commissions.  Perhaps it's different where you work.

I use the agreement.  If they don't want to sign one, go find an agent who will use you.  And you can use them as a taxi service too.

Posted by Mark Hitz (Keller Williams ) almost 9 years ago

Buyer Broker agreements -- do them with friends, strangers or anyone -- matters not -- just do them -- sorry this happened to you.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 9 years ago

I typically sign broker buyer agents though I might not with good friends.  This is something to consider.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 9 years ago

At least we learn from our mistakes. Business is business and friendship should never interfere or cloud our judgment.

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) almost 9 years ago

Haris, you are not alone.  I had a buyer who I worked with several months doing multiple showings and negotiating contracts on two of the properties.  I did have a buyer's brokerage agreement with him, but he sends me an email one day saying that he wants to stop the home search and end the agreement.  I honestly did not think that he was allowing another agent to steal him and in the process he decides to purchase in a completely different area of the city - one that he said he would never live in.  And he was supposed to be a friend.  I have another friend who went down the same path ater we had been looking at properties on and off for two years.  He finally settled down again and purchased a home with me as the Selling Agent.  I think you made the right decision.  Keep up the good work!

Posted by Jordon Wheeler, J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service (The Jordon Wheeler Group) almost 9 years ago

Even though they hurt your feelings, I would have sucked it up and moved on.  Telling them that they ruined the friendship does nothing since the deal is already done and ensures that they won't ever send you a referral.  A referral that you would have sing a buyers agency agreement!

Posted by Wendy Hayden, Chesterfield, Richmond & Powahatan (Photographer, Home Stager, ePRO) almost 9 years ago

I was also burned like this once before.  Wish I had limited it to 30+ showings.  This "friend" ran me around for almost two years.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker almost 9 years ago


Every experience - positive or negative - is a learning experience - we become stronger individuals through these experiences. Sorry your "friends" bought without you...but as you said you learned what to do/not do next time.


Posted by Noah Levy, Coldwell Banker Highland Park IL (Coldwell Banker) almost 9 years ago

At the end of the day it sounds liek they were never really your friends. Shame on them :(

Posted by Victor Zuniga (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties) almost 9 years ago

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