Information About Brokerage Services
Buying Agent’s Duty
As San Antonio REALTORS we know that home buyers expect loyalty and confidentiality from a buyer’s agent.
- The agent should promote your best interests and provide you with all available facts that could influence your decision about making an offer for a home.
- A buyer’s agent will offer research materials that help you make a realistic offer.
- A buyer’s agent should give you the “what if” scenarios about the clauses in a contract. The agent may recommend additional contract contingencies to protect your interests. A buyer’s agent should track and handle many of the day-to-day needs required to get to closing (such as inspections, helping you find a lender, tracking the progress of the loan, working with the closing attorney or agent).
Your Contract with the Agent
An exclusive buyer agency agreement normally ties you to one agent. That means in some cases you may owe the agent a commission even if you switch to another agent or agency.
A non exclusive buyer agency lets you have multiple buyer agents without altering standard contracts, but some agents won’t work in that capacity.
- The contract should cover a specific time period agreeable to both parties.
- The agreement should be in writing. It should outline the expectations of both the buyer and the real estate agent.
- The agreement can be far-reaching or cover listings only in a specific geographical area.
- The contract should address agent compensation. Buyer’s agents are usually paid a portion of the seller’s commission at closing, but not always. Ask how agents are paid in your area. What if you buy a for sale by owner property? Will you pay the agent’s commission? If not, get it in writing now.
A buyer agency agreement is a binding contract. Be sure you understand every aspect of it before you sign.
- When You Contact an Agent
- Verify that the agent can work as a buyer’s agent.
- Ask the agent to explain the services you can expect if you make her your buyer’s agent.
- Ask for a blank copy of the buyer agency contract and take a day or two to study it. If some aspects of the contract concern you, ask the agent to delete or alter them.
- Find out how dual agency is handled.
- Don’t let anyone pressure you into signing an agreement that doesn’t feel right.
The Bottom Line
Don’t sign a buyer agency agreement until you know the agent is the right one for your needs. Some states allow agents to initially work under an oral buyer agency agreement, but you’ll usually need to put it in writing before making an offer.
Selling Agent’s Duty
Assume that San Antonio Tx REALTORS are a seller’s agent until you know otherwise. In most states, a real estate agent is required to disclose which party he or she represents at the first substantial contact with a home buyer whether it’s in person, by telephone, by mail, or in an email.
- A seller’s agent can help you find and purchase a property and may provide some of the same services as a buyer’s agent, such as setting up your pest and home inspections and monitoring your progress from contract to closing.
- A seller’s agent must disclose material facts about a property. Material facts include things such as a leaky foundation or roof and other known structural problems.
- A seller’s agent cannot disclose personal information about the sellers or the seller’s property, such as an impending divorce, foreclosure, or job change.
- A seller’s agent has a duty to get the best possible deal for the seller, so always assume that any information you give a seller’s agent will be passed on to the seller. Never disclose your “top dollar” or any other confidential information to a seller’s agent.
- Working with a seller’s agent may be a good choice if you do not wish to be tied to one agent. Seller’s agents are compensated at closing from the seller’s commission.
When You Contact an Agent
- Ask if the agent represents the seller.
- Ask the agent to explain exactly what that means in relation to the tasks he can help you with.
- Ask if the agent can work as a buyer’s agent or dual agent, then ask the agent to explain how services for those relationships differ.
What To Expect From A Dual Agent
A dual agent is a real estate agent who has signed a buyer agency agreement with a buyer who wishes to purchase a listing held by the agent’s firm.
Dual agency often isn’t intentional. Perhaps you called the agency and asked to see a listing held by another firm. You hired one of the agents as your buyer’s agent, but then found that the first house wasn’t the right one for your needs. Now you’re looking at many other homes, including listings held by your buyer agent’s firm.
Dual agents must be loyal to both the buyer and seller, so ask your agent to explain dual agency before it happens. Get all of the what-ifs. Find out exactly what you can expect from you agent should dual agency occur.
When dual agency is allowed, it must usually be agreed to in writing by all parties. Real estate laws differ, so ask about dual agency rules in your state.