There are many things to be aware of when dealing with real estate agents in todays market. Agency Disclosure Addendums are part of every real estate contract in my state. (Missouri) This Addendum puts all parties on notice as to who is represented in the transaction and in what capacity. This addendum is one that I feel is necessary when dealing with real estate agents. I want to discuss one of the most common types of agency that is covered in most states - Seller Agency.
If you are a Seller, your agent in most cases works for you in the capacity as a sellers agent. In this case, it is the Agents responsiblity to perform the terms of their written listing agreement made with the seller. This seller chose this particular company to represent them in the sale of their home/property. They entered into a contractual agreement with this company that is called a listing agreement. This agreement goes into detail about what duties of the agent is, and what the responsiblities of the seller is. It has listing price, it has a beginning and ending date and has an amount that the seller will pay in commission if the property is sold.
When representing a seller the agent must exercise reasonable skill and care for the seller. This agent must also promote the interests of the seller. If the seller had listed their property for $100,000 even if the agent felt the home was listed too high, they must promote what the seller's wants are with good faith, loyalty and fidelity in the sale of their property. The agent must be loyal to the seller and try and get what the seller wants. When a homeowner retains an agency to work for them in selling their home they have been assured that their conversations with their agent are confidential and will not be shared with buyers.
Also when this agents sells a home if this agent receives any information from a buyer that information must be disclosed to the seller. The biggest thing discussed with an agent is pricing. If you encounter this type of agent and tell them that you are willing to pay more than what your offer is they are obligated to tell the seller according to their listing contract. Don't be suprised if you make an offer and a counter comes back from the seller with the most you said you would pay for the property. The agent is not being deceptive, it is their job to promote the seller and their interests - not yours.
When you are interested in a particular property and you notify the person on the sign or that particular agency that has the property listed that person or agency already works for that Seller in some capacity already. In most cases it is as a Seller's Agent. A buyer is at an extreme disadvantage when they have no representation in a transaction. Please take note that in most states there are options for buyer agency. If you are looking for a property please retain an agent that will work for you and promote your interests in the transaction!
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