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So I may be looking to buy a house in the next 6-12 months or so. My question has to do with whether I am obligated to use a specific realtor or if I can use someone else. This is probably a long boring build up to a simple "yes" or "no" answer. : \

When I first moved to my new city, some friends from my old city hooked me up with a friend of theirs here who is a realtor. He acts primarily as a buyer's agent and he helped me find a rental house (which is customary here). For the assistance in finding the rental, he got paid a commission by the landlord.

At that time I had signed a 6 month agreement (rental/purchase) with the realtor which has since expired. He had also set me up with an automatic house listing search that sends me a daily email linking to my search list (with my criteria for size, location, price). This search doesn't expire so now I've been getting it for almost 2 years. I look at it every once in a while but haven't been seriously interested in buying. I may start looking to buy in the new year.

The original realtor was nice but he and I never really hit it off. He lives in a different area of the city and it's a 30-45 min drive for him to show me houses in the area that I like. He also kept trying to steer me to houses in his region because (1) he likes living there and (2) he is more familiar with the area. I think he was getting impatient with me after I looked at 4-5 rental houses with him and didn't like them (I looked at an additional 15-16 by myself until finally finding one). The problem is that I have met another realtor who specializes in my area of town and seems to understand my odd needs for a neighborhood.

Do I still have an obligation to use real estate guy #1? After all I have been getting lists of listings from him for 2 years. Or can I switch to real estate guy #2? What do you think?
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