DC VA MD Real Estate Buyer Agency Agreements: What's the point?
Real Estate Buyer Agency Agreements have been around for mostly 20-30 years.
As REALTORS® often we fall into the trap of assuming that consumers know what the agreement is all about, what the intended purpose of is and what the obligations and rights associated with them are, either for the consumer and for the REALTOR® involved.
Recently it seems that there has been an unusual flow of uncertainty surrounding the topic so I figured it was time to redress the basics.
Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia like all other states, have unique laws that define these agreements and explain the purposes and limitations. Each jurisdiction has it's slight variations. But for the most part the concept is universally the same.
The LAW and the Purpose of the Buyer Agency Agreement:
Contrary to popular belief, the sole purpose of Buyer Agency Law in most jurisdictions is to PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE BUYER CONSUMER!!! Nothing more, and Nothing less!!!!
- REALTORS® are obligated to discuss with you, what Buyer Agency means and doesn't mean to you upon your first substantial meeting/conversation.
- There is no mandatory time duration for Buyer Agency. It can be for one day, one property showing, or it can be for 6 months as parties agree.
- Buyer' Agency agreements are typically exclusive in nature. Your objective should be to engage one REALTOR®, get to know each other and your needs so that she/he can better serve you in finding that perfect dream home. The better your agent knows your needs, limitations and wishes intimately the better the experience will be for both of you.
In Washington DC and Virginia, if you are working with a REALTOR® to help you find a home and you don't have a Buyer Agency Agreement, GUESS WHAT?, That REALTOR® is technically legally obligated to represent the SELLER's interests, NOT you the buyer. Regardless of how nice sweet and trusting they seem to be engaging you. (Maryland law has a slightly different presumption). So it is in your interests as a consumer to take advantage of the Buyer Agency Law in your jurisdiction.
Buyer Agency is OPTIONAL! You are not obligated to engage in Buyer Agency, but if you choose not to engage in it, you are stacking the cards against yourself. Why not use give yourself all the benefits afforded to you by law right from the start. Give yourself the benefit of the law protections but give yourself a reasonable "out" in the agreement language that is mutually acceptable to you and the REALTOR®.
If you choose to work with an agent WITHOUT a Buyer Agency Agreement, he/she can still show you property and write a purchase offer for you on the property. However, the agent is severely limited in the things that they can do for you in serving you, and additionally anything you say to them even in "private confidence" can and will likely be told to the seller.
- If you are uncomfortable with making an extended commitment with an Agent you really don't know or yet have comfort or confidence with:
- Insist on a short duration Buyer Agency Agreement to give you time to get acquainted and comfortable with each other. Kind of like a "dating or courting" trial.
- Insist on an early termination clause if either party feels that the relationship is just not working out. After all personality clashes do exist in life and if you are not meeting each other's needs, than why should you be forced to be bound for an extended commitment with someone you don't really know?
- Extend and renew the Buyer Agency Agreement as necessary.
So it it is far better to protect yourself by having a Buyer Agency Agreement to ensure that the agent is actually looking out for you and your interests, keeping your private conversations "PRIVATE", and that they are providing for you all the important information that you need to make an informed and fully educated decision about your prospective home purchase.
Understand that typically Realtors don't earn a salary or hourly wage. Typically REALTORS® only get paid when a home purchase transaction has completed settlement. So to a great extent, the REALTOR® is sizing you up just as much as you are sizing him/her. She/He does not want to waste time chasing a prospective buyer who is not going to reasonably result in a productive sale transaction. Afterall, this REALTOR® has bills to pay too.
The REALTOR® is preparing to investing their time, energy, knowledge, gas milage in the ultimate hope that you will buy a home where they will receive some compensation.
If you don't seem to focused, motivated, prepared, and enthusiastic, you likely will not receive that same kind of attention back from the REALTOR® you are working with, regardless of Buyer Agency or not.
Be courteous and conscientious about the REALTOR®'s business hours and time constraints. Be sensitive to the fact that this person is human and has needs beyond you. Usually, if you extend that kind of honest courtesy, you will receive it back as well and be thrilled with the results at the end of the transaction.
I am eager to speak to any prospective DC/VA/MD home buyers or sellers. dan@DanSellsDCVA.com
A. Daniel Bouchard Service, Results, Integrity you can COUNT On! www.DanSellsDCVA.com
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