Last Friday I got a phone call from a stranger wanting some advice. I really felt I couldn't be of much help to of her because she really needed legal advice, so I told her to take her Broker / Agent agreement and first read it and then to seek help from her Board of Realtors or an attorney.
She was in a situation where she was changing agencies and wanted to know if she was going to be getting the commission on transactions that were pending. Well I can't know what the terms of her contract are, so I really couldn't offer any help. I just knew she better find out what was in the agreement she had signed. And I know as a matter of law what is supposed to be covered in said agreement.
My point in talking about this is YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT YOU ARE SIGNING. I can not imagine signing a contract with a broker and not being aware of the terms. Yes that includes the terms upon ending the relationship.
And my same advice goes to both buyers and sellers alike. Every person who is a party to the contract should know exactly what it is they are signing.
In Georgia we have for the past few years had new purchase and sale agreements every January. Each year I have taken the class on the new contracts as part of my continuing education hours. As did each agent in my office. It pays to have a well educated agent who is educated on the document you are signing when listing or selling or making an offer to purchase a home. After all it's a huge investment.
So do your homework people, make sure the agent you hire is keeping up with the latest market trends in your area, but also ask what contract they use and if they have been educated on the actual form itself.
I know some areas may not have had the changes that Georgia has experienced over the past 3 years so taking a contracts class each year is not needed, but for me with the changes over the past 3 years I felt to service my clients I needed to take this class.
It's an absolute MUST to know what your legal obligations are when you sign a contract. Therefore I believe it's an absolute must to have an agent who who knows the contract, backwards, forwards and inside out. I still don't give legal advice to anyone. I refer them to a good attorney. But when it comes to the blanks I fill out for clients on the GAR contracts I do it correctly because like any good professional I have studied and learned what I need to know to assist clients.
Know the terms of anything you sign!
Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner
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