There has been an increasing trend in the Seattle real estate market that makes my skin crawl, the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck, and my frowny wrinkles to deepen. If only to help support the youthful elasticity of my skin, please ponder this thought for a moment.
Buyers are being told that if they write an offer with the listing agent on a home they want, they will have an upper hand in getting the home and sometimes they are even enticed with a rebate to work with the seller’s agent. Did your parents ever tell you that if something makes you feel like it’s a little wrong, it's probably a lot wrong? Trust those instincts, my wayward domicile-seekers. You are about to get screwed.
According to RCW 18.86.120, by definition, an “Agency relationship” means the agency relationship created under this chapter or by written agreement between a real estate firm and a buyer and/or seller relating to the performance of real estate brokerage services.
That AND/OR part got your attention, right? Let me ask you this – do you think that it is remotely possible for a seller’s agent to get the seller the MOST money for the home they are listing, AND get you a fair deal? This situation is called dual agency. That’s where the AND kicks in and the OR goes away.
Under said RCW 18.86.030 (also published as “The Law of Real Estate Agency” and is required for any real estate agent to supply to their potential clients), in Section 5: DUTIES OF A BUYER’S AGENT, here are some of my favorite parts:
(a) To be loyal to the buyer by taking no action that is adverse or detrimental to the buyer’s interest in a transaction;
(b) To timely disclose to the buyer any conflicts of interest;
(c) To advise the buyer to seek expert advice on matters relating to the transaction that are beyond the agent’s expertise;
(d) Not to disclose any confidential information from or about the buyer except under subpoena or court order, even after termination of the agency relationship.
In a seller’s market as we are experiencing in Seattle, the market conditions inherently give sellers an upper hand. Why on earth would you give up more of your leverage by working with THEIR agent? This chaps my hide on your behalf, consumer.
Here are my 10 Reasons Why You Need A Buyer’s Agent (and I don’t mean an automated internet agentbot who makes you do all the work and then submits uninformed offers for you and 6 other buyers they are representing, nor am I referring to any agent willing to “rebate you” part of their commission to get your business – that’s loser talk and you won’t win the house you want or any other point in the negotiation if your agent is a LOSER.)
10 – A skilled buyer’s agent will save you time.
9 – A skilled buyer’s agent will save you money.
8 – A skilled buyer’s agent will reduce the stress related to buying a home so that you can focus on fun things like, where are you putting the hot tub?
7 – If you are parading around open houses with no help, you are a sitting duck. Would you walk into a car dealership and tell the salesman that you are approved for $15,000 but only want to spend $7000, and that you totaled your other car and if you don’t have a car by Monday you can’t get to work?
6 – A resourceful buyer’s agent is going to birddog for you, and find you the house that you want to prevent you from living in the house you didn't really want.
5 – A skilled buyer’s agent will help you understand the biggest financial transaction you will ever participate in your life, unless you happen to be the owner of a large corporation.
4 – A quality buyer’s agent has resources that you don’t, which will help you make empowered decisions.
3 – An ethical buyer’s agent will look you in the eye and tell you if you are making a poor, ill-advised, drunken, or misinformed decision that you will have to LIVE IN.
2 – A smart and experienced buyer’s agent will be able to identify such a whammy.
1 – A buyer’s agent represents YOU, the buyer.
I will now hobble down off my soapbox and enjoy the rest of my Saturday and I hope you do, too. If you’d like a copy of the “Law of Real Estate Agency” text the word WINNER to 206-353-7625.
By - Kristen Meyer