Agency-explained-

DESCRIPTIONS OF AGENCY

There are agents, and then there are agents. Yes, it sounds confusing. That’s because the term “agent” is often used in a casual manner, referring to any real estate practitioner.

But agent also refers to someone with whom you’ve established a formal agency relationship—someone who represents your best interests in a real estate transaction and owes you fiduciary responsibilities. Agency relationships are usually established in writing with buyer agency agreements, and require:

  • loyalty
  • obedience
  • disclosure
  • confidentiality
  • reasonable care and diligence
  • accounting

THE BIRTH OF BUYER AGENCY

For many years, real estate was practiced in such a manner that agency relationships were only extended to sellers. Any real estate agent who brought a buyer to the table was actually working as a sub-agent to the seller.

This all began changing in the 1980s, when buyer agency started gaining momentum in residential transactions. Today, agency laws still vary from state to state. But even if you live in a state that recognizes buyer agency, you can’t assume that you will automatically receive fiduciary responsibilities from the agent you’re working with as a potential home buyer.

That’s why it’s vitally important to talk to the agent or broker early in your working relationship about his/her agency status. You may also want to consult your state association of REALTORS® to gain a better understanding about agency laws in your particular state, or contact the agency charged with regulating real estate professionals in your state, often referred to as the state real estate commission.

Details vary from one state to another, and each brokerage has its own contract terms within these broader guidelines. But for purposes of illustration, this table outlines how your status may affect the level of service to which you are entitled:

Are you a buyer-customer or a buyer-client?
Services will vary, depending on your agency status*
If you are a CUSTOMER (no agency relationship), an agent will: If you are a CLIENT (agency relationship), your agent will:
Maintain loyalty to the seller’s need Pay full attention to your needs
Tell the seller all that they know about you Tell you all that they know about the seller
Keep information about the seller confidential Keep information about you confidential
Focus on the seller-client’s property Focus on choices that satisfy your needs
Provide just the material facts Provide material facts as well as professional advice
Only provide price information that supports the seller’s listing price Provide price counseling based on comparable properties and their professional insights
Protect the seller Protect and guide you
Negotiate on behalf of the seller Negotiate on your behalf
Attempt to solve problems to the seller’s advantage and satisfaction Attempt to solve problems to your advantage and satisfaction

* This chart is for general illustration purposes only. Agency laws vary by state; and specific terms of individual agency contracts will vary from one agent to another.

YOU MAY NOT KNOW IF YOU’RE A CUSTOMER OR A CLIENT.

Depending on the laws in your state, you may find yourself working with someone who is actually negotiating for the seller, not you the buyer. The best way to be certain your interests are being considered and protected is to sign a buyer agency agreement with a trained buyer’s rep, which clearly establishes client-level services and spells out what services you can depend upon.

WHAT ABOUT DUAL AGENCY?

In some cases, it will become necessary for your real estate professional to deviate from the single agency model. For example, a buyer-client may become interested in a house that also happens to be offered for sale by a seller-client of their buyer’s rep, or by the same brokerage firm. How can a buyer’s rep, in this instance, maintain complete loyalty to their buyer if he or she also owes complete loyalty to the seller?

Obviously, they can’t. But, depending on the real estate license laws in your state, and your status with the brokerage firm, the manner in which this situation is handled will vary. To get concrete answers, you should read and discuss the brokerage services disclosure statement, which should reflect your state’s agency law. If your agent hasn’t supplied a disclosure statement, you should ask for it. It spells out the different categories of agency services they provide and how they address dual agency.

Almost all states require disclosure of dual agency and often require that a buyer’s rep (or his or her brokerage firm) only act as a dual agent with the written consent of all parties to the transaction. In such a situation, the brokerage agrees to endeavor to be impartial between both parties and will not represent the interest of either party to the exclusion or detriment of the other party. Neither will they share the confidential information of one party with the other party. This is how brokerage firms and their agents strive to create win-win situations for everyone involved. There are a few states that prohibit dual agency even with disclosure and consent.

OTHER TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS

Some states also allow different types of relationships beyond agency relationships. For example, a transaction broker assumes responsibility to facilitate the transaction, rather than represent one side over the other. Further obligations may also be set forth in a written contract with a client.

Even though the laws concerning agency can vary from one state to another, one thing that is constant throughout the U.S. is the obligation for all REALTORS® to comply with the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics.

ISSUES TO DISCUSS WITH A BUYER’S REPRESENTATIVE

Real estate agency relationships, like all business relationships, can be formed in a number of ways. In order to help talk through your options, here are several questions to ask your buyer’s rep:

  • Do you represent buyers, sellers or both?
  • What services are provided to (or excluded from) me, based on my status as a buyer-customer or buyer-client?
  • When does representation begin? When does it conclude?
  • If I’m not ready to commit to your normal term, can you offer me a one-day buyer agency agreement or a 24-hour opt-out clause?
  • How is dual agency addressed in your firm?

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Buyer’s Agent

Why Have a Buyer’s Agent When Purchasing a House?

Buying a house is one of the most significant undertakings you’ll make in your entire life. It’s not simply about finding the right home for you and your family; more than anything, buying a house is about making the right financial investment on a long-term basis.

Before you even put down your earnest money deposit, an exceptional buyer’s agent will have been doing several things for you, including searching for the right property and starting the due diligence process when you do.

There are a plethora of reasons you should turn to a buyer’s agent when you start the house-buying process. Below are some of the most essential reasons to hire a buyer’s agent when purchasing your next house:

1. It’s Free

One of the first things you need to know about hiring a buyer’s agent is that it’s not going to cost you anything. That’s right; 99 percent of the time it won’t cost you a dime!

A buyer’s agent will be paid by the home seller once the home is sold. Not only is it free, but a buyer’s rep will be saving you both time and money. As always, it’s essential to have a good working relationship with an agent. In other words, make sure you find one that you feel comfortable working with.

2. Going to the Listing Agent Isn’t Smart

For some reason, lots of buyers think they’ll get a better deal if they go to the seller’s agent. This is one of the biggest myths in real estate and could cost you considerable money in the long run. Quite often, buyers think if they go to the seller’s agent, they’ll give them back some of the commission. While this may be true, the agent works in the best interests of the seller, not you!

Saving a couple thousand dollars in commission but overpaying on a home by $10,000 works out to a net loss of $8,000! In addition, the agent is going to be doing everything in their power to close the sale, not what’s best for you. Avoiding dual agency is something every smart buyer does. Always have your own designated buyer’s agent.

3. Professional Experience

A buyer’s agent should have the right kind of professional experience in finding the right home for you. Finding the right property is a time-consuming process, and it’s easy to find yourself spending hours viewing properties that are not right for you.

It’s crucial to have a bit of help, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or a very busy person. Having an agent screening the properties for you can save you lots of time. Not only that, but they’ll also view properties to make sure they’re in good order.

A buyer’s agent who has been in the business for a long time will pick up on common problems, such as a damp basement, roofing problems and leaks.

4. How Well Do You Know the Area?

Having a buyer’s agent on board when you move to a new town or part of the country is especially vital. After all, you may not know the area that well. Having someone with local knowledge means that you’re much more likely to end up investing in a property in the “right” part of town. An exceptional agent that services primarily buyers will know their way around the local area well. They’ll know the popular neighborhoods that are appealing to most buyers and those that aren’t.

Also, an agent will make sure the amenities that are important to you are close by. Schools and leisure facilities are often on the top of most homebuyers’ agenda.

5. Valuation and Finance

Valuing a property is not easy when you don’t have a lot of experience. When you’re buying your first or second home, you’ll need all of the help that you can get. Nothing beats turning to a professional to help you purchase a property at fair market value, or less, if you’re lucky. One of the best skills of a buyer’s agent is to be able to evaluate the right purchase price for the home.

Financing can be a nightmare, as well. Sure, you may have your mortgage preapproval, but when it comes to buying a home and financing it, there’s often a mountain of paperwork to work through. A buyer’s agent will help you to do so, and make sure the process stays on track. They explain fundamental real estate terms you might not be familiar with. For example, a significant percentage of buyers don’t know the difference between earnest money and a down payment. Understanding the function of each of these things is crucial for a buyer to understand. There are a myriad of others.

6. How Much Time Do You Have for Your Showings?

Not having a buyer’s agent can mean you end up at a lot of showings or viewings that aren’t right for you. When you contract in a buyer’s agent at the start of the process, they’ll make sure that they schedule everything for you. It’s like having your own personal assistant. Tell them when you’re free, and they’ll do most of the work for you.

7. The Value of Contracts

Never underestimate the value of contracts when it comes to buying a home. Arrangements are not only about money; timelines are established in the purchase contract, as well. A buyer’s agent will make sure you follow through with any necessary responses required under the terms of the contract. This is critical because not doing so could put your escrow funds at risk of loss.

An excellent agent will keep you informed and on track so that you don’t lose any of your escrow funds. There’s also an abundance of smaller details you need to deal with before you sign on the dotted line. Many of them form part of modern-day contract law. Changing regulations are something else a buyer’s agent will help you with.

8. Professional Contacts

Once you’ve bought your first home, you’ll appreciate how many people form part of the buying process. It’s not just you and your bank manager. You’ll also need the help of other professionals, such as a home inspector. What if the home inspector picks up a problem during the inspection, and you need an estimate for work? A buyer’s agent is likely to have the right contacts at their fingertips, and will also be familiar with the process.

9. A Buyer’s Agent: Your Negotiator

Many of us don’t like to negotiate, and we’re not always that good at it. You may like the seller and don’t want to upset them. After all, we’re only human. It’s hard to say “no,” or ask someone you like to drop the price or negotiate a needed repair.

Let’s go back to that home inspection that picked up a slight problem. Ask yourself if you have the skill, and confidence, to renegotiate the price of the property. It takes both to close a deal. Once again, this is something that your buyer’s agent can do for you.

10. Let’s Stay on Schedule

Staying on schedule is an important part of the process of buying a home. You may need to get out of your old house on a specific date, or you may have a starting date for a new job. Trying to pack up your old home and keeping the ball rolling is not easy.

Many buyers don’t realize that a buyer’s agent will keep things going while you focus on moving out of your property or drive across the country to take up that promotion you’re getting.

Final Thoughts

An excellent buyer’s agent will have your back at all times. That is perhaps the best way to look at the relationship. They’re your fiduciary in the strongest sense of the word. Once it’s all over, you’ll be glad that you decided to ask for the help of a buyer’s agent instead of going through the buying process on your own!

Testimonials

“My family recently bought a home in Black Mountain and sold a home in West Asheville with the expert help of Sona Merlin. Buying and selling a home is a very “real” experience that is a business transaction fueled by emotion. If you want someone who understands both sides of that experience than Sona is the agent for you. Either buying or selling she works hard to make sure you get what you are looking for while protecting and guiding you through the business aspects.

When looking for or new home she was more than willing to explore new counties to help us find what we needed. When prepping our home to sell she gave us great advice about what we should leave as is and what we should tweak. Our house was seen by several buyers and was under contract in less than 24 hours and it sold for well above list price.

For one of the most “real” experiences you will have in your life, you can not find a more authentic guide than Sona. ”

So the lit major in me came out. I hope this works for you. Thanks so much for everything.

We shall have you all out as we progress with changes to the house. Take care

Erin

“When I first started looking for a home to purchase I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, Condo or House…or what location in Asheville. However, Sona was very patient with me while I worked to figure it all out. She was beside me all the way! She spent days hanging out with me driving from house to house, condo to condo showing me what was out there in my budget range. If and when she couldn’t come, her lovely husband Mark would help out. Fortunately Sona has a wonderful program that emailed me lisiting for sale so I could look online on a daily basis. Honestly I just didn’t find anything that felt right for me right away…it actually took about a year (me figuring things out), then one day finally I found a beautiful Cape Code style Cottage with a huge front porch in Oakley!! I fell in love instantly. I immediately got in touch with Sona. She called to make an appointment for us to see only to find out it was already under contract….my heart was broken. Sona on the other hand contacted the listing agent anyway and told them if anything goes wrong with the sale of the house to please let her know. And wouldn’t ya know, the contract fell thru!!! Long story short…I own that house now aka “Sherrie’s Bamboo Cottage”(…ask Tommy about my Bamboo forest that gives me so much peace & privacy). Thanks to Sona I got my house below Market Value, a New Roof, and a simple painless closing 2 weeks later!!!”

So if you’re thinking that you too my want to buy a new place in the future, why not sign up for email listings and start looking now!

Sherrie

We had worked with Sona before on the sale of a condo is South Asheville, but this time we were selling our house and hunting for a new one in West Asheville. When we started thinking about buying and selling, the first thought we had was, “Let’s talk to Sona and find out what she thinks we need to do in order to get the best price for our house.” We met with Sona at the beginning of December, got some good advice, and began working on the house in our spare time with the intention of finding a new house in 6-12 months and selling our current house. When we found a house we liked at the end of January, but were not really prepared to put ours on the market, we pushed into high gear to get our house ready for sale. Despite Sona’s best efforts with what we felt was an unreasonable seller, the deal fell through. We went and looked at a good many houses with Sona over the next month, and worked diligently to get our house ready for market. When we saw our dream house pop up on the real estate sites at the end of February, we called Sona so we could schedule an appointment to look at it, and she moved quickly to get us in to look at the house. Once we saw the house with Sona, all of us knew this was THE house. Sona acted quickly, helping us craft an offer on a Saturday afternoon, so that we could be the first offer to be presented. With Sona’s help, we managed to get our house on the market a week and a half later, and had it looking perfect. Sona put it up on the real estate sites before dawn, and by dusk, we had signed a contract for our asking price. Through the whole process, Sona kept us moving toward our goals, and helped us to get the best deals possible on both houses. She fought for us, and we knew that if there was something that needed done, Sona would make sure it was taken care of, whether it was paperwork for us, the lender, the seller, or the insurance company to fill out, Sona was on top of it.

Thanks from Shaun, Leigh, and Lucy!

Whether buyer or seller, clients who select Sona Merlin as an agent may rest assured that they’ve found the best real estate representation. More than a capable professional, Sona’s a strategist who will work with you to achieve the most lucrative market position for any property. And with the support of Appalachian Realty Sona Merlin will assist you in finding the Asheville area home that speaks to YOUR individuality.

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Melissa M

Trish

Sona provided us the best home buying experience imaginable! We are so lucky to be in the home of our dreams for less than asking price! Sona is the bomb! If you want someone as equally committed as you are to the right house at the right price she is your best partner!!!

Most Homeowners Planning a Renovation This Year

Seventy-three percent of homeowners say they plan to renovate this year, up 26 percent from a year ago, according to a survey conducted by LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. Homeowners plan to spend more on projects, too—an average of about $9,000. That marks the highest amount since the survey began in 2014, and it’s 32 percent more than last year.

The most popular remodeling projects include outdoor space (41 percent), the bathroom (37 percent), and the kitchen (31 percent). Survey respondents say that if money wasn’t a factor, they would remodel their kitchen (42 percent), followed by replacing carpet with other flooring (41 percent), and then remodeling the bathroom (39 percent), according to the survey.

Man shopping for hardwood floor

© Sergey Ryzhov – Fotolia.com

Homeowners appear to be more focused on creating a space they love than increasing the value of their home. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say that personalization was their number one motivator for investing in a home renovation, followed by increasing the value of their home (14 percent), improving a home for resale (7 percent), and preparing for a major life event (4 percent), such as a new baby or retirement. “Regardless of their age, we found that most consumers are focusing their home improvement projects to reflect their personal lifestyle, comfort, and interests,” says Todd Nelson, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at LightStream.

Financial stress, however, can hinder the renovation process, Nelson adds. Some of that stress is due to improper budget planning for materials and labor prior to starting a project. The majority of homeowners say they are paying for their home improvement projects by tapping into their savings (60 percent), credit cards (32 percent), or a home improvement loan (10 percent).

SunTrust remodel infographic. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

© SunTrust Bank

Source:
February 19, 2019

Home inspections have been uncovering much-needed property repairs. More than 1 million repairs needed more than $11,000 in costs, according to a February review of 50,000 home inspection reports by Repair Pricer, a home repair estimating resource.

Nearly 55 percent of homes analyzed across the country had doors that needed adjusting, which could be an indicator of foundation issues, the report showed. More than half—or 54 percent—of the homes lacked exterior caulking and sealant, which could leave the home susceptible to extensive water damage. Furthermore, about 48 percent of homes lacked GFCI protection—this could pose a dangerous electrocution risk to homeowners around water-prone areas like the kitchen or bathroom.

“Home buyers and [real estate professionals] across the country should leverage these insights to better position themselves in the stressful negotiation process,” says Christian Adams, CEO of Repair Pricer. “In places like Texas, for example, buyers may only be given three to five days to complete the inspection period, meaning they may only have 24 hours or less to make a decision. During this period, having clarity and insight into the cost of repairs listed in a home inspection report is critical to avoid leaving money on the table.”

The most expensive home defects—uncovered in 9 to 20 percent of the homes studied—ranged in repair prices from slightly more than $1,000 to less than $10,000.

The following is a chart from Repair Pricer of the 10 most common home defects found in inspection reports:

10 most common repairs. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

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