Do not sign an exclusive buyer agency agreement
If you’re wondering how to choose a real estate agent in NYC, a major red flag will be if your agent tries to push you into signing an exclusivity agreement. In NYC, exclusivity agreements between buyer agents and buyers are extremely rare. Since buyer agents almost universally offer their services for free (since their commission is paid by the seller), there is extreme competition for buyers among agents. Therefore, buyers typically will refuse to sign an exclusive since there is no shortage of agents offering their services for free. If your agent is trying to make you sign an exclusive, he or she most likely thinks you are uninformed and is trying to take advantage of you. Only in rare instances of international buyers working with an agent they trust and have worked with before would an exclusive agreement be appropriate. In this case because the buyer is based overseas, he or she is much more dependent on the agent. Therefore, there is less leverage especially if the agent is someone they’ve worked with before and trust. Also, because the agent will be doing more of the legwork and hand-holding in this case, it may be appropriate in some cases to sign an exclusive.