Buyer Broker Agreements. Don't Leave Home Without Them!!

Buyer Broker Agreements. Don't Leave Home Without Them!!

Happy Tutas Towne Realty CustomerHi folks, today I want to write about BBAs (Buyer Broker Agreements) and why they have never been more important than they are right now. 

I expect I'll get all the usual responses about "My clients would NEVER buy a house behind my back" and "The commission doesn't matter to me". If you believe these things to be true this post may not be for you OR maybe it's EXACTLY for you! 

This post gives one reason why a BBA should be important to the Buyer. In fact, it's my opinion, that a BBA is MORE important to the Buyer than it is to the REALTOR® and here‘s why. 

I spoke with a Buyer, earlier this week, who has cash and is ready to buy. It seems he has been trying to find an agent to assist him but everyone is too busy. Of course, after reading how slow the market is, he finds this hard to believe. So being the good little Broker that I am I explained it to him. 

His problem is....he is looking to purchase a deal, a foreclosure, a cheap rental property. And he should. There are some good properties that he can purchase for less than $50,000. As an Investor, these properties are the ones he SHOULD be buying. The only issue is the prices are so low, that the co-brokes (commissions being offered to sell the property) aren't worth the time involved in helping him find the right property. So he gets placed on the back burner. We may help him.....but only when we get some extra time. 

In fact, I have the same problem. He wanted me to go look at a property before he made an offer and I said I would......tomorrow. Today I was busy doing other things......that have a higher return. 

The reality is I can't afford to spend hours previewing cheap foreclosures that he may or may not be able to or want to purchase. 

This is where the BBA comes in. If an Investor is truly wanting to get a deal, in the very low price ranges, then it is to his advantage to give his Broker/agent an incentive to put in the time. Maybe he'll have to chip in $1,000 or so to meet the minimum compensation outlined in the agreement but surely, by agreeing to this, he'll get better service and therefore a better deal on a property. 

I have always been a firm believer in getting the commission out of the equation right up front. The best way to do this is to get a BBA signed. Unless of course you like working for peanuts. I don't. And won't. My Buyers deserve better than that. Do yours?

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***I am NOT an Attorney nor do I play one on TV. Click the button below for my Bio.

The BIO for Bryant Tutas


 Tutas Towne Realty, Inc handles Florida real estate sales, Florida short sales, Florida strategic short sales, Florida pre-foreclosure sales, Florida foreclosures in Kissimmee Florida Short Sales, Davenport Florida Short Sales, Haines City Florida Short Sales, Poinciana Florida Short Sales, Solivita Florida Short Sales,  Orlando Florida Short Sales, Celebration Florida Short Sales, Windermere Florida Short Sales. Serving all of Polk, Osceola and Orange Counties Florida. Florida Short Sale Broker. Short Sale Florida.

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Comment balloon 52 commentsBryant Tutas • September 28 2010 05:34PM


Agents who say that they don't care about the commission, have their fingers crossed behind their backs.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Buyers who want agent help need to come around to being part of the process and accepting that brokers need to get paid. Finding good deals can be done, but it does cost something.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 8 years ago

Another excellent example of the wisdom of using a Buyer Broker Agreement - for the benefit of both the Buyer AND the Buyer Broker.  Using one means that the Buyer Agent is not allowing the Listing Broker to control the compensation to the Buyer Agent.

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) over 8 years ago

Brian, it would make a nice post to explain how you present the concept of bba to clients who are used to the "old" way of doing business.

Posted by Jim Little, Your Sun City Arizona Realtor (Ken Meade Realty) over 8 years ago

Jim. Click on the learn at the bottom of my post. I have written that article a couple of times. It's all in the presentation.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 8 years ago

Bryant, the reality is as you well know that Buyers do go behind their Realtors back even with a BBA.  Today I was talking to a Realtor who was working with a Buyer who did just that.  To further make things sleazy the other Realtor who is also a Builder, told the Buyer that if he shared anything with the Realtor that he had the BBA with, that he would take him to court.  I don't know how he thinks he can do that, but the fact is that it is he that could find himself in court for what he did.  Here in Connecticut they are pretty strict about those things.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 8 years ago

Exactly, and so well put, Bryant.   You are such an old pro, we can all take a little advice from you.  I think that's a wonderful idea to add to the commission, and make it all a little more attractive.   Then the agent will want to work harder for the money.

Posted by Dagny Eason, Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo (Dagny's Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I learn sooooo much from your blogs - love reading them. Thank you! 

Posted by Julie Cendejas, Associate Broker (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago


I agree; The BBA is only a buyer's commitment to service.  It serves to give the agent the confidence to invest  time. 

Suggested (because it''s been said before, but bears repeating)


Posted by Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain (Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain) over 8 years ago


Keep telling them!

BBA's are a compermise, but until Fanny and Freddie become buyer freindly they're the best thing to happen to home buyers since the MLS.


Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) over 8 years ago

I also suggested this post.  Such a smart idea to have this signed by an investor who is able to pay.  That way we can provide the services they need and you are right it is in their best interests.  Learned something from this post, thank you.

Posted by Miriam Bernstein, CRS over 8 years ago

Bryant, thanks for putting this on the table where it belongs ...with pen and ink in hand...we need to make a living & someone has to pay for our time. 

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Bryant, thanks for putting this on the table where it belongs ...with pen and ink in hand...we need to make a living & someone has to pay for our time. 

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Exactly, and if you can save the buyer some money, or get a better deal than full list price, it's worth it.  A BBA is the contract the buyer has for putting their agent "under contract" to work for them!!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 8 years ago

Thanks for the post today. Some good comments here today.


Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

Great post Bryant!  I am waiting for the nay sayers to come out of the know they are lurking.  I refuse to work with anyone without a Listing Agreement of some sort....either buyer or seller.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) over 8 years ago

BBA (Broker Bryant Agreement?) :)

Yep, I use them all the time.  Don't show homes without one.

Posted by Bob Willis, Orange County & L.A. County Real Estate Agent (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties) over 8 years ago

I never looked at it this way, thanks for bringing out this perspective. I am diligent about getting Buyer Broker Agreement's signed, but sometimes objections come that are hard to tackle. Great post; thanks for sharing! 

Posted by Kaera Mims, Associate Broker, e-PRO, REALTOR; Hampton, Newport News, York Co. (Liz Moore & Associates) over 8 years ago

It would be a good idea for an investor if he wants to keep a good agent that can help hom save money.

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 8 years ago

We do always have to protect our future earnings --- points well made!

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) over 8 years ago

I always get one. Has anyone ever enforced one?

Posted by Virginia OnullConnor, Realtor - Temecula, Anza, SoCal (Realtor®, Photographer, Artist) over 8 years ago

Bryant, great words. I use the Buyer Broker Agreement myself. Great advice! 

Posted by Bobby LehmKuhl, Exceeding Every Clients Expectations. Every Time. (4 Malibu Real Estate) over 8 years ago

We learned the hard way, but now always use them. Our philosophy is that if a buyer wants us to commit to them, they need to do the same with us, it's fair and makes good business sense.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 8 years ago

The BBA is an important way to bring up a topic that many agents avoid. Somes agents do not have the courage to use one and end up disappointed at the end.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 8 years ago

I learned my lesson a long time ago. I always use them. THe true buyers don't mind.

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 8 years ago

Bryant - I just wrote a two part spelling out the BBA's in California. It would be nice to know the types you have there. Of coarse it probably is in the link embedded in your post. I will bookmark and review for later.

I don't always use them. When I find the need, like you did here, I exercise. Or if I have a very large dollar amount. The last BBA I had signed was $4 million. I did not want to miss that.

Posted by Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified (Dilbeck Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I agree with Dan - if you want our commitment, we need yours! You gave an outstanding example of how the investor is getting blown off and has no broker's allegiance!

Posted by Betsy Schuman Dodek, (Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I agree with Dan - if you want our commitment, we need yours! You gave an outstanding example of how the investor is getting blown off and has no broker's allegiance!

Posted by Betsy Schuman Dodek, (Washington Fine Properties - Washington DC Area Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Don't care about the business?  Why are they in the business then?

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

In our state they are Buyer Representation Agreements, but I completely agree they are definitely necessary by the second appointment or you are not building a Win Win relationship.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Bryant, Transaction Brokerage has so diluted representation in Florida that so many people don't use or value our services. If we disappoint them, they just say "Next!" I'm going to check out how you present the agreement.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 8 years ago

Thanks for the perfect situation in which to use a buyer broker agreement.  I usually go on a handshake, but in this situation, I would use one as well --and will!

Posted by Nancy Frimann, California Real Estate Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty/Signature Homes & Estates) over 8 years ago

Bryant, thanks for sharing the link to all your blog posts.  I look forward to reading them.  We don't use BBA too much in my area -- I wish more agents would, then it would become customary practice.  I've been burned so many times by buyers that I've become skeptical. 

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 8 years ago

I agree that you need to help your clients also understand loyalty works both ways. If you are investing time, money and probably lunches, and they are sincere - then they should have no probem signing a BBA. 

Posted by Sherilyn M. Whistler, Need a Referral, Call Me ! (ERA Herman Group Real Estate-NoCo) over 8 years ago
The state requires them in South Carolina.
Posted by David James (ReMax Real Estate Services Columbia South Carolina) over 8 years ago

Absolutely!  With the Buyer Broker Agreement, we become a fiduciary agent for they buyer, meaning we have to put their interests first (even above our own).  Of course we will be compensated for it but it does benefit the client.  Well stated!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) over 8 years ago

While I agree with the post, and get a BBA most of the time, I ask myself "Will I *ever* sue someone to enforce the agreement?" I doubt it.

When I owned my own small business, I got entangled in a couple of lawsuits, both as plaintiff and as defendant. Be prepared to spend $10000-$20000 to win, and that's based on 10 years ago. Add a few hundred hours of collecting data for endless rounds of discovery and interrogatories, and you can see that lawsuits are not good business. Except for lawyers.

That said, a BBA will help remind the Buyer that we are business professionals and that we expect our clients to behave accordingly.

Posted by Curt Hess, Luxury Home Consultant, Team Leader & CEO (ExecuHome Realty) over 8 years ago

Someone who says, "my client would never buy a house behind my back" and has no buyer agency agreement signed really does not have a client. This person can walk into an open house and put down an offer on something at any time.

Is the Buyer Broker Agreement iron-clad? Maybe not.  But it reminds all parties that they need to go through you on every property. Otherwise, you are working for free.


Posted by Claudette Millette, Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass (The Buyers' Counsel) over 8 years ago

People who think they are too good for BBA are fooling themselves.  I agree, they are more important than ever now and are a great platform from which to discuss agency and what your fiduciary duties to them are.   it also shows you are a true professional who is going to get paid for their work.

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) over 8 years ago

It would be good to learn the easy way but Just Doing It. But, many folks don't and learn the hard way.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 8 years ago

Bryant fortunately I'm not amongst the agents that like to work for peanuts.  I hear they don't accept peanuts as tender these days.  There is no sense in monkeying around and wasting time.  I definitely agree that it's best to go ahead and put the cards on the table upfront.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Bryant, I totally agree. Don't leave home without one. Serious buyers will see the benefits and will sign one.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

BB, that's a great reason.  I recently have been working with someone in a lower range & the LA's are just paying a flat fee just to make it worth someone's while to show it.  Buyers just don't understand that sometimes it's not worth starting the car to drive over to the home let alone PREVIEW.  No way.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 8 years ago

I always get a BBA.  I have never had a problem.  It is important to have the buyer sign so they feel the commitment with you as their agent. 

Posted by Stella Barbour, Principal Broker, Serving Virginia and Maryland (NoVa Brokers LLC) over 8 years ago

Absulutley be using the buyer broker with every client.  Get the game plan rolled out up front as you say. I like the idea of investors of cheap houses putting in some cash to make it worth the agents while.  That's a smart move for an investor. A win-win.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 8 years ago

Buyer brokers are a must, we need to have some kind of commitment on both sides so that we are not working for nothing.

Posted by Ricky Callahan, Providing clients with "The Simple Way Home". (Cutler Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I'm on our local Grievance Committee in Orlando. The #1 thing we look for in a commission arbitration dispute between buyer agents is a buyer broker agreement.  Probably 90% of the time there isn't one.  Then it's just a matter of he said, she said, and ironing out the facts.  If you have a BBA the NAR rules give you major protections on your commission as well as ethically.

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 8 years ago

In CT - it's the law if we show another agencies listings.  Our buyers expect to sign one(even if it's just for the houses you show them that day) - makes life a little easier for us. 

Posted by Judy Cicalese, Market Knowledge-Social Media Savvy 203-638-7812 (William Raveis Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Im still surprised that some Realtors do not use these forms. If you are putting in the time, you should be sure to cover yourself.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 over 8 years ago

Another feature worthy post using good old common sense.

  BBA really stands for  Broker Bryant Agreement.


Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 8 years ago

Hi Bryant's! A BBA is a must. I hat to see a Realtor work so hard showing property, negotiating etc. for nothing. jjay

Posted by Jay Lloyd, Allpro Home Inspection (Cape Coral Florida) over 8 years ago

Bryant~ I carry that paperwork with me everywhere.  I learned really quick really early on to always have it with me and to get it signed early.  I had a couple buy a home from a fellow church member one sunday.  I had shown them homes the week before , they said they were going out of town (changed their plans) I called on monday and they had already written a contract.   ouch

Posted by Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate, Broker, Results Real Estate (Results Real Estate 801.580.5624) over 8 years ago

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