Really, you're thinking? Do I need to CHOOSE a real estate agent? I thought they were pretty much the same...
Nope, sorry. They aren't. And the one you choose really can save you $$$thousands.
First of all, the National Association of Realtors sets a high ethics standard for real estate sales agents. Only those with "Realtor®" designation are members of the NAR, which has registered that Realtor® trademark. That's the first thing you need to look for when choosing an agent to work with.
Secondly, here in Florida, there are 2 legal ways an agent can represent you. They are either a "Transaction Broker" (which is the legal default) or they represent you as a "Single Agency", which is an agreement that MUST BE IN WRITING prior to signing a listing agreement or showing you a property. Here is a link to the Florida Statute that outlines these representations but I will outline the differences below:
|SINGLE AGENCY||TRANSACTION BROKER|
|1||Dealing Honestly & Fairly||Dealing Honestly & Fairly|
|2||Accounting for all Funds||Accounting for all Funds|
|3||Skill, Care & Diligence in the Transaction||Skill, Care & Diligence in the Transaction|
|4||Disclosing all Known Facts That Materially Affect the Value of the Residential Property and are not Readily Observable||Disclosing all Known Facts That Materially Affect the Value of the Residential Property and are not Readily Observable|
|5||Presenting all Offers/Counter Offers in a Timely Manner Unless a Party has Previously Directed the Agent Otherwise IN WRITING||Presenting all Offers/Counter Offers in a Timely Manner Unless a Party has Previously Directed the Agent Otherwise IN WRITING|
Here in Florida, most brokerages choose to have their agents act as Transaction Brokers, as it reduces their liability.
In very simple terms, a Transaction Broker works to protect/represent the transaction. A Single Agent works for you and your interest in the transaction. That being said, an agent cannot, by law, represent one party to the detriment of the other.
There are situations that require real estate agents to act as Transaction Brokers. An example of this would be if an agent from the same brokerage that holds a listing brings a buyer for that listing.
I am very pleased that my brokerage, Keller Williams Realty Gold, encourages its agents to obtain a Single Agency agreement whenever possible.