Understanding Real Estate Procuring Cause

In the complex world of real estate, the term “procuring cause” is one that professionals often encounter. It’s a fundamental concept that is particularly relevant in commission disputes, and understanding it is essential for both real estate agents and clients. This blog post delves into what procuring cause is, why it matters, and how it influences real estate transactions.

What is Procuring Cause?

Procuring cause refers to the actions of a real estate agent that directly lead to the successful sale of a property. Essentially, it’s the chain of events initiated by an agent that results in the buyer purchasing the property. The concept is pivotal when determining which agent is entitled to the commission if there’s a dispute.

Why is Procuring Cause Important?

Procuring cause is crucial because it helps establish which agent is entitled to a commission in the event of a disagreement. Real estate transactions often involve multiple agents, and disputes can arise when more than one agent claims to have played a significant role in bringing about the sale. Understanding procuring cause helps clarify these disputes, ensuring that the rightful agent is compensated for their efforts.

Factors Determining Procuring Cause

Several factors can determine procuring cause, including:

  1. Initial Contact and Introduction: The agent who first introduced the buyer to the property often has a strong claim. However, this alone is not always sufficient.
  2. Continuity of Efforts: The agent must demonstrate ongoing efforts to facilitate the transaction. This includes showing the property, negotiating terms, and maintaining communication with the buyer.
  3. Unbroken Chain of Events: There should be a continuous series of events initiated by the agent that leads to the sale. Any significant break or intervention by another agent can weaken the claim of procuring cause.
  4. Substantial Role: The agent’s actions must be substantial and integral to the transaction. Minor or peripheral involvement may not qualify as procuring cause.

Common Disputes and Resolutions

Disputes over procuring cause are common in real estate, often arising when:

  • A buyer is introduced to a property by one agent but later purchases it through another.
  • Multiple agents claim to have played a significant role in the sale.

These disputes are typically resolved through mediation or arbitration, with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) providing guidelines and arbitration services to help settle such conflicts. Key considerations during resolution include evaluating the continuity of the agent’s efforts, the unbroken chain of events, and the overall substantiality of the agent’s role.

Best Practices for Avoiding Procuring Cause Disputes

  1. Clear Communication: Agents should maintain open and clear communication with their clients, ensuring they understand the agent’s role and efforts in the transaction.
  2. Written Agreements: Utilizing written agreements, such as buyer representation agreements, can help clarify the agent-client relationship and the agent’s entitlement to the commission.
  3. Documentation: Keeping detailed records of all interactions, showings, and communications with clients can provide evidence of the agent’s role and efforts.
  4. Professional Conduct: Adhering to ethical standards and professional conduct helps minimize disputes and fosters a collaborative environment.


Procuring cause is a critical concept in real estate, shaping the landscape of commission disputes and agent-client relationships. By understanding its intricacies and adhering to best practices, real estate professionals can navigate these challenges effectively, ensuring fair compensation for their efforts and maintaining trust with their clients. For buyers and sellers, awareness of procuring cause helps in choosing the right agent and appreciating the value they bring to the transaction.

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