This is the second article in a series of articles that will focus on selling your home. This article will focus on choosing the right real estate agent for your needs as a seller, what you should expect from your agent, and explain the different types of real estate agents.
As I previously mentioned in article one of this series, if you are working with a licensed real estate agent there are fiduciary duties that your agent is bound and obligated to use as guidelines when working with you.
It is very important for you to understand that there are many types of real estate agents. Sellers agent, buyers agent, dual agent, and designated agent. Let's take a look at each type.
Sellers Agent: A sellers agent is a licensed agent who enters into a listing contract with the seller of the property. They are obligated to your best interests and should be actively marketing your property to sell. They should advise you in regards to the value of your home and what they would consider to be a reasonable sales price. The selling agent is also obligated to disclose to you any material information they know about the buyer.
Buyers Agent: A buyer agent is a licensed agent who enters in to a relationship with a commission buyer of real estate. The buyer agent will be associated either with your agents broker or from another brokers agency. Remember a buyers agent is obligated to give the buyer full fiduciary duties, and works solely on behalf of the buyer. They will consult with and advise the buyer of market value, other comparable available properties, financing options and many other matters. They will also deal directly with the selling agent when making offers on your property. The seller should not tell the buyer agent anything they would not want the buyer to know. It is the sellers obligation to disclose any material defects to the buyer.
Dual Agent: A dual agent is a real estate agent that works for both the buyer and the seller. They are a licensed agent, who by a written agreement work for both the seller of the property and the buyer. A dual agent is obligated to inform both buyer and seller that they are working as a dual agent.
A dual agent must maintain complete confidentiality to both parties unless providing information about the physical condition of the property that is for sale. A dual agent receives both the listing and selling commission when your property is sold.
Designated Agent: A designated agent is one who works exclusively with the seller. No other licensed agents from that brokerage will represent or owe fiduciary duties to you the seller. A designated agent may occur at the time your property is put on the market to sell or at a later time. Using a designated agent is not typical and limits the number of agents that can show and sell your property.
It's my opinion that working with a sellers agent when selling your home is in your best interest. It is very difficult to work with a dual agent, simply because that agent is trying to get the best deal for both seller and buyer, and in my opinion that is virtually impossible. I will discuss my own personal experience with a dual agent in my next article.
Do not sign an agreement for more than ninety days with your selling agent. If the agent ends up being a bust and you have a contract for a longer period of time than three months it could be very difficult or impossible to break that contract. It's very easy to renew the contract and a good agent should have no problem with doing this.
Interview your prospective agents, ask for referrals, ask how much experience they have. Choosing the right agent is one of the most important decisions you will make, take the time to do it right!