From beginning to end, it is a real estate agent helping you select, negotiate, and legally purchase your new home. Choosing the right real estate agent to help guide you through the whole process isn’t easy. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.
THE AGENCY RELATIONSHIP
Real estate agents are licensed by the State of Connecticut to represent a person in the purchase, sale, exchange or lease of real property. The Agency Relationship is based on one person representing the interests of another person.
The responsibility of the real estate agent is defined by the state law relating to agents, the REALTORS®’ Code of Ethics, and general principles of agency law.
The type of relationship formed between the agent and the client is called a fiduciary relationship. A fiduciary relationship is one based on trust because the agent owes the following duties to the client: Loyalty, Obedience, Diligence, Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accountability and Reasonable Skill & Care.
THE FOUR TYPES OF AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS
A Buyer’s Agent represents the interests exclusively of the buyer in a real estate transaction.
A Buyer’s Agent:
o Arranges property showings that meet the buyer’s needs.
o Provides information about the home or property, community, schools, taxes, utilities, and zoning.
o Discloses any information about the property that can be obtained from public sources.
o Prepares a competitive market analysis on the property.
o Counsels the buyer on what price to offer the seller.
o Shows what other buyers are paying for property in the area.
o Assists in writing an offer with the buyer’s interests in mind.
o Negotiates the best price and terms for the buyer.
o Keeps the price capabilities and objectives of the buyer confidential and maintains anonymity, if desired.
o Assists with the loan application process.
o Monitors all dates, events, and requirements.
o Attends the closing with the buyer.
A Seller’s Agent represents the interests exclusively of the seller in a real estate transaction.
A Seller’s Agent:
o Prepares a competitive market analysis of the seller’s home or property.
o Develops and implements effective marketing strategies for the seller, including asking price, staging, and positioning.
o Informs the seller how much other homes and properties have sold for in the area.
o Presents all offers and counsels seller on what price to accept.
o Negotiates exclusively on the seller’s behalf.
o Updates the seller on market conditions.
o Prepares an estimate of closing costs.
o Works closely with seller to assure a smooth closing.
o Monitors all dates, events, and requirements for the seller.
o Represents the seller’s interest at the buyer’s walkthrough inspection.
o Attends the closing with the seller.
Legal in all 50 states, Dual Agency occurs when a buyer’s agent shows a property to a buyer that is also represented by that REALTOR®’s firm, or when the Listing agency shows real estate to a buyer that is also represented by the same firm. In dual agency situations, both the buyer and seller will be asked to sign a consent agreement.
A Dual Agent owes both the buyer and seller equal representation and must:
o Treat both parties fairly.
o Not knowingly represent one party to the detriment of the other.
o Disclose facts each party needs to make an informed decision.
o To assist, as the buyer and seller are empowered to negotiate on their own behalf.
o Assure confidentiality on each party’s price, terms, and personal information.
Buyers and sellers have an option when the real estate brokerage firm is a dual agent. That option is called Designated Agency. In designated agency, the real estate brokerage firm will designate a salesperson to represent the buyer and another salesperson to represent the seller. The designated buyer’s agent will act as an agent for the buyer as described in “buyer agency” above. The designated seller’s agent will act as an agent for the seller as described in “seller agency” above. This is the case even though each of the salespeople is from the same real estate brokerage firm.
The seller and the buyer must each agree to having a salesperson designated for them, and the real estate broker in charge of the brokerage firm must make the designation.
A person is Unrepresented by a real estate agent unless he or she has signed a representation agreement with that agent.
The real estate agent cannot provide advice or counsel to an Unrepresented Person on matters pertaining to real estate, including real estate financing. An Unrepresented Person has the responsibility to protect his or her own interests.
All real estate agents are obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction honestly irrespective of whom they represent in the transaction.
This information is reprinted courtesy of:
CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, INC.
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For Millennials, buying your First Home is an exciting adventure. Owning a home is the American dream. It’s also the largest investment most of us will ever make (aside from perhaps the cost of a college education), Knowing what you’ll need before starting the trek is just as important as knowing what isn’t required. Here are some tips.
Here’s what you’ll need:
♦ Get Mortgage Pre-Approval. A Mortgage Pre-Approval is a commitment by your lender that they will lend you a specific amount of money when you find your new home. By getting Pre-Approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting, not only can you shop with confidence, but you’ll be show sellers you are qualified and serious about buying their home.
♦ Enough income to pay monthly mortgage payments. Keep in mind that your monthly mortgage obligation will include not only the mortgage payment, it will also include an escrow payment for your home owners insurance (HOI), taxes, and your monthly mortgage insurance premium (commonly called PMI or MIP).
♦ The ability to maintain the property. You must keep a home in good repair or it will lose value and you’ll lose money. One of the “joys” of homeownership is keeping up with the chores around the house. You’ll need a lawnmower to maintain curb appeal and you can’t ignore peeling paint or unexpected repairs that eventually come along. If you’re handy you can DIY or you can hire someone to do it for you. Either way, it will cost money. And you ‘d better be prepared.
♦ A decent credit record. Your credit score is the major determining factor in your ability to get a mortgage at the best terms. Low scores are caused by late payments, bankruptcy or collection accounts
There is only one Website authorized by law to provide the Free Annual Credit Report you are entitled to under the Free Credit Reporting Act – annualcreditreport.com. Check it out! And if you see any problems, take action.
Here’s What You Won’t Need:
♦ A big down payment. Sure, it would be nice to be able to make a 20% down payment on your new home. With equity in your home, you can avoid paying PMI, you might get a better rate and you’ll lower your monthly payments.
But it is possible to buy a home with a small down payment. There are several loan programs available to qualified home buyers that allow for down payents as low as 3 to 3.5%; there’s even one that allows for up to 100% financing of eligible properties. Talk to a professional mortgage loan officer about the best option for your family.
♦ Experience. There is a lot of information on the internet about the whole home financing/home purchase adventure. It all tends to result in a giant jigsaw puzzle. Look to the experts for help putting those pieces together. A professional mortgage loan officer has the experience to guide you through the complicated mortgage application process. A trusted Realtor can help find the right house, assist with your negotiations and address other issues with the home purchase.