How many times have you been out driving around and you see a real estate sign in the yard of a house that piques your interest? Your immediate reaction may be to contact the listing agent whose name rides on the top of the sign.  She/he will certainly know everything you would want to know about the house and property. It’s important to understand the REALTOR® listed on the sign was hired (by) and has fiduciary responsibility to the seller of the house. It is his/her job to find the best terms and conditions favorable to the seller.  If you’re just ‘kicking tires’ and are curious about general information, that’s one thing.  If you have a genuine interest in purchasing the home, you’ll need someone to represent you and your best interest. You’ll need someone whose fiduciary responsibility is to you. You’ll need a buyer’s agent.

Agency, which creates a legally binding relationship between the real estate agent and their client during the buying and selling process, is one of the most important aspects of the real estate profession. Because of agency, real estate agents act in their client’s best interest.  Your buyer’s agent will help guide you through the process, avoid pitfalls, and  protect what’s most important to you in the purchase of a new home. A list/seller’s agent works on the selling side of the transaction; working with the seller. One of the largest (selling) myths is when a seller chooses the REALTOR® based on  who can sell their house, yielding the highest monetary return. The list agent will provide a fair market value with sold comparables to help determine a range suggested so the seller can determine a list price. List price doesn’t determine market value. It only determines how long your house will be on the market.  If you want to sell your house quickly, take the advice of your REALTOR® and list the house at a fair market value. Pricing too high may lead to longer market time and eventually a price drop to the correct fair market value.

Agents can have single or double (dual) agency, but the status of that relationship must always be disclosed.  Single agency is when the list/seller agent works exclusively with the seller and the buyer agent works exclusively with the buyer. Disclosure is of the utmost importance in cases of dual agency, as it is still the fiduciary duty of the agent to represent the interest of both clients. Although West Virginia permits dual agency, it is illegal in some states. In a dual agency situation, the buyer and seller work with a single agent representing them both, instead of separate agents.  In either agency environment, it is important to understand, any and all decisions are ultimately your choice.  The job of the REALTOR® in any capacity is to provide you the tools and resources so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Until next week, Love where you Live.  And if you don’t…. contact your local REALTOR®.

Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President