If Consumers Don’t Care About Their Rights, Why Should Real Estate Agents?

I’ve written about buyer agency in the past but it’s such a huge confusion for consumers as well as real estate agents and brokers, I felt that it was time for another article. This is going to be straight and to the point.

If you are a buyer looking for a home, you can’t just contact the agent on the sign and demand to be let in to see the home. Well, you can and if the agent on the sign does run out to show you the home, they are breaking the law and you the buyer could wind up having to pay the agent’s fee. I bet you didn’t know this.

First of all, nobody should ever demand to get in to see a home right then and there, There is a process to be followed. After all, you are not buying a new shirt or a new pair of jeans. It’s a home and it’s one of the most expensive things anyone will ever purchase in their lifetime and it will take time from beginning to end and buyers need to respect the process as well as the real estate agent. Most people try to put the cart before the horse and drive by a home and without hesitation just call the number on the sign and most times without even giving their name, will tell the agent they want to see the home right away.  I am guessing that most people think that real estate agents do nothing else but sit in an office all day long waiting for the phone to ring so they can go screaming out of the office, “yaaaaahooooooooo, a buyer!” I don’t blame anyone for thinking that because thats what most agents do, pick up the phone and then run right out to show the home.  Don’t you wish everyone was like that?  Call your doctor and demand him to see you right now and see if he goes screaming out of his office “yaaaaaahoooooooo, a sick person!” and comes right over to your house.  You and I know thats never going to happen so why do people expect real estate agents to do that?  Simple really, because real estate agents do not treat what they do like a business. They usually have no set schedule, no set tasks, no concept of time and no respect for themselves, their time or their expertise and it’s what they put out there. Consumers say jump and real estate agents say how high.

Most real estate agents don’t even know the law and if they do, they show absolutely no regard for it and it’s evident by their actions. If an agent runs right out to show a buyer a home, they either don’t care about the law or the buyer or both or they just don’t know.  If they don’t know, they should just get out of the business.

This is what is supposed to happen by law. When a buyer contacts a real estate agent and demands to see a home, the agent is supposed to:

  • get the buyer’s name
  • ask the buyer before anything else, if they are working with another agent and if they are, the agent is not allowed to speak with them any further
  • go over the Consumer Notice with the buyer either over the phone or an appointment is to be made for the agent to go over it with the buyer
  • go over the Buyer Broker Agreement with the buyer at a scheduled appointment
  • get hired by the buyer or not

If the agent doesn’t get hired by the buyer, that buyer is unrepresented and if that agent shows the unrepresented buyer a home, that agent is theoretically representing the seller which creates something called sub agency which is a whole other issue that I am not going to discuss in this article but the point is that the buyer is agentless when walking through the home and though that may not be of the buyer’s concern at that moment or even yours right now we all know that when buyers walk through homes, they talk to the agent and they DISCLOSE things about themselves, confidential things.  So, when a buyer is walking through a home essentially throwing up every personal detail about themselves, the agent is writing all of this down or making mental notes to save for a later time such as when the buyer wants to put an offer in. The agent can and usually will use all of the information the buyer told them against them to make the sale at all costs. By disclosing everything about themselves while walking through the home, the buyer has just diminished their negotiating power.

With the internet, there really is no excuse for buyers not to know their rights as consumers these days. Just Google or Bing, buyer agency and read about it. It was created to protect buyers from being taken advantage of by real estate agents. Seriously now, you would never run out to meet a stranger in a vacant home or encourage your children to run out to meet a total stranger in a vacant home so what is different about running out to meet a real estate agent in a vacant home whom you have never met before?  That in itself should be a deterrent. Nothing is that important that you just need to drop everything or expect someone else to drop everything and do it right then. So, just as you have to schedule a doctor’s appointment or an appointment with an attorney or tax consultant or insurance agent, that is what you need to do with any real estate agent BEFORE you see homes.

I recently met a buyer who wanted me to show them homes and when I sat down to explain their rights to them (Consumer Notice, Buyer Broker Agreement) they said to me “we’ve seen about 30 homes with different agents and none of them told us any of this so why are you?” These buyers saw me as doing something wrong and all I was doing was explaining their rights to them, trying to protect them and telling them not to tell me anything confidential unless they hired me and they thought I was the bad guy. Seriously?  So sad!

So, the next time you see a home that you may be interested in, remember that you have rights and they need to be explained to you by every single real estate agent you speak to before you walk into a home.  This means if you call 65 agents to show you 65 different homes and you never hire any of them, all 65 agents must explain the Consumer Notice to you as well as the Buyer Broker Agreement each time before you ever walk in to a home. If they do not, they are breaking the law, they are not representing you and therefore might not get paid for their work should you decide to put an offer in and you might have to pay them. Do yourself a favor and find yourself a real estate agent way before you ever want to buy or sell a home, form a relationship with that agent and hire them so that when you are ready to go out looking for homes, you will already have an agent who will protect only you and make sure you are getting the home at the best price.

After all, if you don’t care about your rights, why should anyone else?  Knowledge is power, know your rights!

Renée Porsia, is an Associate Broker with Prudential Fox and Roach and published Author. Renée Porsia assists home buyers and sellers in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery Counties and on the Main Line.  If you would like to read more articles by Renée Porsia, visit her website at www.reneeporsia.com. To contact Renée Porsia directly call her at  (215) 669-0589 or email her at reneeporsia@mac.com

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