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Your Choices
"It's All About Hats"


Home buyers have recently begun signing multitudes of paperwork even before they purchase a home. At issue is the relationship they have with the Realtor they choose to work with. Because agents are bound under their broker’s policies and obligations, agents must fully inform their customers as to whether or not they can advocate for them in all or only some instances.

It’s logical to assume that as a consumer you would desire the maximum protection especially when making one of the most important purchases of your life. However, because of a listing broker’s obvious conflict of interest, the agent you are working with may have to switch horses in the middle of a very deep stream.

This leaves you unprotected at a very critical point. Should you seek additional help for your side? Is there time? What will you agency relationship be without a definite strategy? Or, should you just let the agent do his or her thing, letting price, terms and conditions fall where they may?

The choices available to buyers can make your head spin so let’s attempt to simplify the process.  We are presenting you with your own special Buyer hat. Where you hang your hat will determine who will represent your best interests. Join with us now as we present:


THE PLAYERS

The Traditional Agent ......................................

Traditional Real Estate AgentsWorks for a Broker in a company that lists homes for sale. Does a wonderful job of "selling". Advertises, holds open houses and is legally obligated to get the highest price for all the seller clients listed with their company. The Traditional Agent will show you homes for sale, preferably their listings or the office listings. Legally their loyalty must be to the sellers. But, can they represent you? Protect your confidentiality? Bargain on your behalf? No, they can’t because the Seller's  hat is already hanging in their office and they can't legally protect your interests.

Caution: Hold on to your hat!
 

 

The Dual Agent ......................................

Dual Agents in real estateThe Traditional Agent representing the seller doesn’t want to lose your business so they have an option available that allows them to take your hat and hang it right next to the Seller’s hat and be a Dual Agent.  You might meet this agent at an open house or call them to see a company listing. The Dual Agent will tell you not to worry because they can represent both you and the seller and that the Code of Ethics requires them to be honest and fair. Hopefully they will “honestly” tell you that under Dual Agency Laws they are prevented from doing anything to benefit one party over the other. They can not give advice or counsel to either party. You’re both on your own. The benefit to Dual Agency is that the Broker and agent keep both sides of the commission. DUAL AGENCY SERVES NEITHER THE SELLER NOR THE BUYER WELL.

Caution: Hold on to your hat!



The Designated Agent ......................................

Designated Agents in real estateHere’s "a rose by another name“ for the Traditional/Dual Agent. The Broker of a company can appoint one Traditional Agent as your "Designated Buyer Agent and another Traditional Agent in the same company as the "Designated Seller Agent".  Now your hat will hang right next to the Seller's hat.  Because the Traditional Agents have “new names” state law says that they are no longer Dual Agents but --- state law does say that THE BROKER OF THE COMPANY IS A DUAL AGENT… THEY ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM. Renaming agents in a firm that lists Seller’s homes for sale, even though sanctioned by state law, is nothing short of “pulling a rabbit out of a hat”.

Caution: Hold on to your hat!

 

The Transaction or Facilitator Agent ......................................

Transaction or Facilitator Agents in real estateWelcome the Traditional Agent who elects to represent no one in the transaction. They choose to have no “fiduciary” duty or obligation to the seller or buyer. They and their Brokers can fulfill all the physical requirements to complete the transaction but they choose not to protect anyone’s interest. They will show homes, do as you tell them but, by law, can offer no advice or counsel. You’re on your own. They refuse to hang any hat in their office because they don't want to assume any legal obligation for anyone. They’re safe – you’re not.

Caution: Hold on to your hat!

 

The Buyer's Agent ......................................

Buyer's Agent in real estateThis is the same Traditional Agent who works for a traditional company and broker that lists homes for sale. They may personally “choose” to just work with buyers. They may be a member of a “sales team”, and call themselves a Buyer’s Agents. That works until you fall in love with one of their company’s listings. Then, they will gladly take your hat and be a Dual or Designated Agent.  Is your head beginning to spin? What just happened to your buyer agency relationship and isn't that your hat hanging right next to the seller's?

Caution: Hold on to your hat.

 

The ''Exclusive'' Buyer's Agent ......................................

Exclusive Buyer Agents in real estateThis agent works for a Brokerage that has elected to EXCLUSIVELY represent Buyers. They don’t sign listing agreements with Sellers so they never have a conflict of interest with their Buyer clients. They offer all the services of traditional offices but do not list Seller’s homes. They have access to all listed homes via the Multiple Listing Service or any other property available for sale like For Sale By Owners and new construction. There's no additional cost or fee for this service since they are paid, as are other agents, from the transaction at closing.  They are committed to only representing Buyer's so you will never find a Seller's hat hanging in their office.

No caution here. This is the safest place to take off your Buyer’s hat and relax.

 

THE BIRTH OF A NEW BREED

In the mid 1980’s there were some agents and brokers who saw the unfairness of the "traditional" system and said "This is wrong!" They formed real estate companies that would only hang buyer’s hats in their offices. They said "We won’t take listings." We will never represent sellers." Consequently they would not be bound by law to tell the seller anything that would compromise your interests. "Only ONE HAT will hang in our office and it will be the Buyer's.  We will protect their interests  “EXCLUSIVELY."  Traditional agents in the two-hat business laughed at this new idea and continued to do business as usual.

Slowly but surely this new breed of "EXCLUSIVE" buyer agents and their brokers grew from a handful to thousands nationwide. They offered price evaluation and opinion, created contract clauses protective to the buyer, offered counsel to the buyer rather than a sales pitch and ceased the "show and tell the seller" game. Shortly thereafter, some major events took place.

The Federal Trade Commission did a study that showed a tremendous amount of confusion by consumers as to whose hat was being worn. A major two-hatter was sued by buyers for millions for dollars in a class action lawsuit because the brokers and their agents didn’t make clear who they represented. The Consumer Federation of America and consumer activist Ralph Nader endorsed "EXCLUSIVE" buyer representation as the only legitimate option for the home buying public. Large numbers of homebuyers said "enough". They began asking for representation for their side.

A REVERSAL OF CONSEQUENCES

Whoa! Two-hatted agents stopped laughing. This was serious. Two-hat agents were endanger of losing buyers so they began scrambling to take classes and get "designations" so that, at the least, they could "look like" a one-hatter. But they still kept their seller hats --- just in case you wanted to buy one of their company listings.

"Traditional" real estate brokerages had worked both sides of the street for years and already knew  that having two hats and keeping transactions in-house meant no splitting of commissions with another brokerage thus doubling the income to their own company.

Across the country state legislatures felt pressure from consumers who wanted to know who they could trust and who would be looking out for them. Slowly real estate laws that had been in place for years began to change. Written disclosures were designed in almost every state to assist consumers in understanding the complexity of agency relationships and the risks involved when agents wore more than one hat.

In Nevada, for example, consumers are to receive a Duties Owed disclosure “as soon as practicable”. But “as soon as practicable” can be a gray area. Timing for WHEN to disclose and WHERE your Buyer's hat could hang would ultimately have to be implemented by real estate brokers and their agents. State regulatory agencies just don’t have the manpower to oversee the thousands of agents in the marketplace.

Was it possible for brokers to police their own agents closely enough to be sure they would properly disclose and "explain" agency relationships? Would their agents wisely do it “right up front” and risk watching buyers take their hats, walk out the door and lose a sale? Would agents be affected by in-house bonuses that motivated them to sell company listings? Would it be ever so tempting to take advantage of the timing for disclosure and, as permitted by law, wait until even as late as the point of contract when buyers were emotionally committed to a home they wanted? What do you think?

 

EPILOGUE

EXCLUSIVE buyer brokerage in real estate came about because it was consumer driven and it survives because it levels the playing field. Just ask yourself – if parties in a lawsuit don’t share the same attorney, why should buyers and sellers share the same real estate company, let alone the same agent? The bottom line is: Agents and their brokers can’t wear two hats anymore than they can serve two masters.

There’s an old song that says: “Get your coat and grab your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep, just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street” or right to The Buyer’s Realty of Las Vegas. We’re happy to be an EXCLUSIVE BUYER’S AGENT, only hang your hat in our office and always protect your interests.

See what some of our clients have to say about our unique service to home buyers...

 

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The Buyer's Realty of Las Vegas
4397 W. Sunset Rd. Ste. A
Las Vegas, NV  89118
Phone 702-818-0633