Many sellers do not fully understand the sales process and the role of a real estate broker. Here are some of the most often asked questions agents receive from sellers.
What is a "Listing Agreement"?
A "listing agreement" is a document which lays out the contractual terms between the seller and the broker who will be listing the property.
Who pays the buyer’s broker?
The seller is responsible for paying the listing commission on the home—the listing office and broker then split that commission with the buyer’s broker and office. Commissions are typically paid only at closing, out of the proceeds of the sale of your home.
What is a "dual agency broker", and do you practice dual agency?
"Dual agency" refers to the practice of a single broker representing both the buyer and the seller during the real estate transaction. When a broker acts in a dual capacity, they owe the same fiduciary responsibility to both parties. Most states have a required brochure or pamphlet which details the responsibilities of buyer’s brokerss, seller’s brokers, and dual brokers. Sellers considering the use of a dual agency broker should pay particular attention to the difference in responsibilities when a broker acts as a representative of both the buyer and the seller.
When you are working with a broker who is acting as a dual agency broker, you have lost your strong "advocate" in the selling process. The practice of dual agency brokerage, when not performed correctly, is one of the leading causes of real estate litigation.
What type of information will my broker need from me?
To do the best job for you, your broker will need the best information you can provide. This would include such things as:
your financial goals regarding the sale of your home
willingness to listen to your broker’s advice
flexibility in accepting terms and conditions
preferred timing for a sale
disclosure as to any defects the property may have
details about the positive aspects of the home
Can’t I just sell my house by myself?
Of course. Historically, many sellers have sold their homes as For Sale By Owners (FSBOs). Back in the day, buyers would get in their cars and drive around for hours on end to locate a property. With the advent of the internet, Multiple Listing Services (MLS’s) and real estate websites are the ultimate source of property information. However, MLS sites are available only to the real estate brokers who subscribe to them. Having your home listed by a real estate broker vastly increases your visibility in the marketplace. Statistically, 89% of homes which are sold each year are listed by a real estate broker via an MLS.
What if a buyer approaches me directly?
If your home is listed and a buyer contacts you directly, please refer them to me. I would be happy to show them your home. If they have any interest in moving forward with an offer, I can them put them in the hands of a good broker who can help them prepare an offer.
I’m torn between two agents. Can more than one broker list my property?
Possibly. If both brokers are licensed in the same office (and both brokers are amenable to a shared listing), your property could be "co-listed" by two brokers. It’s rare – although possible – to have brokers licensed with competing companies involved in a co-listing situation. But it can be done.
What if I am unhappy with my broker?
Let your broker know that you’re unhappy, and the reasons why. It may be a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected. If the issues are more substantial, or the relationship simply isn’t the right "fit", tell the broker you no longer wish to work with them and ask for your listing to be released.
Don’t let a less-than-perfect relationship keep you from finding another broker to work with. Buying and selling real estate are complex transactions, and it’s important that you have a broker to represent your interests.