The rules of engaging a Realtor® are simple; however, many buyers misunderstand how Realtors work and who they are working for. Knowing professional protocol helps buyers make smarter choices. Three basic rules can get you started.
ONE: Don’t Give Yourself Up!
If you are not working with a Realtor yet and are calling listing brokers (calling numbers listed on signs or in ads) asking about prices on properties, do not give away strategic or confidential information. Listing brokers have signed a listing agreement with their seller. By law they must keep the SELLER’S best interest in focus at all times when speaking with you. It is wise always to let another broker know right off that you either DO have your own Realtor or have NOT chosen your own Realtor yet.
TWO: Go Professional!
Keep in mind what Realtors do and how they work:
• Most Realtors are independent contractors: They do not get paid a wage or salary by their offices to open company listings for call-in buyers. For most of us, it is our full time-profession and a career we have dedicated ourselves to.
• Much of our job is relationship and service oriented, so we work diligently in order to meet the diverse needs of each of our clients. We recommend they first obtain a pre-qualification with a lender, if needed. We show them appropriate properties within their price range and type. We create strong written offers which include terms to protect their interests. We negotiate price and terms, and we further negotiate a resolution for any issue(s) found during the feasibility or inspection period.
• We always strive to protect our clients’ interests and to bring them safely to a successful close.
• We always appreciate your referrals – it is the highest compliment a client can give us.
THREE: Know and Understand the Different Agency Relationships!
How can this happen? As you probably know, listing brokers show their own properties. A buyer who has been shown a property, then asks the listing broker to write an offer on that listing creates a dual agency situation. Dual agency is a legal practice in Washington state; however, by law it must be disclosed immediately to the buyer, and the buyer must consent to it.
Buyers always have the right to decline dual agency. In that case, the process could continue in two ways: The listing broker could still write up the offer but would indicate on the offer that the buyer is representing himself or herself, which means they have NO buyer representation; or the buyers can let the listing broker know they would like to obtain another Realtor to represent them and write their offer for them.
There are a lot of opinions on this type of agency, both positive and negative; however, buyers should understand how they got there, and that they have options if they do not care to be in a dual agency situation.
I hope this helps you in your pursuit of a happy, healthy real estate purchase!
Deborah Norman, Realtor®
BrokersGroup Real Estate Professionals