Buyers: Is Your Real Estate Agent Representing YOU?
About a dozen years ago, the Federal Trade Commission conducted a survey among home buyers. They were asked, "Who is the agent you are working with representing?" Almost all buyers assumed that the agent they were working with represented them. Almost all those buyers were wrong. The agents they were working with at that time almost always represented sellers exclusively. The agents' job was to get their clients, the sellers, the best price and terms possible.
Since that time, buyer representation has become much more widespread. In Pennsylvania, a Consumer Notice must be given to prospective buyers upon the first meeting wherein a substantial discussion of real estate takes place. "Substantial discussion" means one in which the buyer's needs and/or financial details are discussed. It does not cover merely being given the specifications of a particular home you may have called on or seen at an open house.
The Consumer Notice is not a contract - it is a disclosure of the different kinds of representation a real estate agent may perform. The most important thing that is disclosed is that until and unless you have a written agreement that an agent will represent your interests, THE AGENT IS NOT REPRESENTING YOU. The agent may represent a seller, a buyer, both, or neither.
If the agent is representing the seller, which would be the case when you are talking directly to the listing agent, the buyer should realize that there can be certain problems.
The sellers' agent may not betray the sellers' confidentiality.
The agent may not state the sellers' willingness to sell below the listed price (unless specifically authorized to do so by the seller).
The agent may not suggest an amount to offer on the subject property.
The agent may not promise to convince the seller to accept the customer's offer.
Buyer Agency, on the other hand, is a relationship in which the licensee, upon entering into a written agreement, works only for the buyer. Upon entering into such an agreement, the buyer becomes a client, rather than just a customer. A buyer client has certain rights:
Loyalty from the Buyer Agent, acting in the buyer's best interests.
Confidentiality, except that the agent is required to disclose known material defects about the property.
Making a good faith effort to find a property for the buyer.
Disclosure to other parties in the transaction that the agent has been engaged as a buyers agent.
Accredited Buyer Representative, or ABR, is a professional designation approved by the National Association of Realtors. Holders of the ABR designation receive special training in the needs and representation of buyers. As one of the earliest Accredited Buyer Representatives in Pennsylvania, I can agree to represent you exclusively in dealing with sellers. I will advise the seller and the listing agent that I am the agent of the buyer and not of the seller. It will be my goal to achieve the very best price and terms for you, saving you money and making sure you are properly protected.
If you would like no-obligation information on how an Accredited Buyers Agent can help you save money and reduce your risk, call (717) 951-5552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA. To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/
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