Question for residential real estate brokers

This is a little different than a car sale. In the case of a FSBO the agent doesn’t have time to drive around town looking for signs in yards of houses you might potentially like and FSBO’s are usually not very well advertised. It’s not like he wasn’t doing his best to find you a house.

Housing is such a subjective thing that he could find 25 houses that are perfect for you and you just don’t care for them for whatever emotional reasons.

He spent a fair amount of time and money for gas helping you look at houses it’s very considerate of you to want to compensate him. Of course you’re not obligated unless you have a buyer agency agreement, and if he didn’t get one of those that’s his own fault. (depending on the rules in your state). He also should have explained to you what to do if you did see a FSBO house.

It’s also entirely different from a car sale because those guys in the cheap ties roaming around the car lots are not your agent. They are salesmen and he’s earning his commission from his employer (the salesman is the dealership’s agent)

If you went and got some guy off the street to help you shop around for a car, and then wound up hearing on the news about the MLK day sale at the local Kia dealership, and went and bought it yourself (all the wiser to the ins and outs of car buying, graciously supplied to you by your agent), that guy you pulled off the street may be a bit upset and probably rightfully so.

As to whether you have any legal obligation to him to pay him, that’s a different tale.