In a society where we have to agree to terms to simply download a Lady Gaga track, click to accept to get the latest version of this adobe, or that flash player, we don’t bat an eyelash. But for some reason, many Realtors, think that a consumer will be too leary to sign an agency disclosure form at the first meeting. Why is that? As a Realtor, we should be more trusted than an anonomyous screen that pops up mid-download, yet I so often present an agency disclosure form to a buyer who says they have never been given one before.
In New York State a written disclosure form is required, at the time of the FIRST substantive contact. That means, before I have a conversation with you about whether you have been pre-qualified, or if you have a house to sell (as these terms could affect an offer should you choose to present one to the seller), I should let you know who’s team I am on. By that I mean, am I an agent working exclusively in the best interest of the Seller, or the Buyer? And that matters to you!
For many years, it was customary here on Long Island for all real estate agents to represent the Seller by what was known as sub-agency. That means, if I listed my house, I hired one agent to work for me, and all the other agents out there acted as a sub-agent on my behalf. That may come as a suprise for someone who bought there house eight or ten years ago, and became best friends with their real estate agent after driving around with them for six months, telling him all their desires and how much they were willing to pay anything for the house, but put in a less than full price offer. Back then, no one really practiced buyer agency. If that best-friend-real-estate agent was acting in the best interest of the seller, they should have used any information provided to them to get them the highest possible price for their home. Many times however, that agent, would quickly flip-flop and start acting as a buyer’s agent, even though they were technically seller’s agents. It was merely natural to do so. If you spend morning, noon, and night with a person, joke around, meet their kids, share a meal, and then walk into a stranger’s house and want to buy it, naturally the agent would tend to think of themselves as a member of the Buyer’s team, even though they were supposed to be on the Seller’s team.
Luckily for all consumers, times have changed. Buyer’s agents are prevalent, and you have many options to obtain proper representation from their real estate agent. That means, before you share any information with any real estate agent, you should know who’s team they are on. If they are working for the Seller, know that they cannot fully act in your best interest. For more information about Buyer Agency, please email or call me anytime. For a copy of the form taken directly from the New York Department of State website, Click Here.