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What You Should Know About Working with a Seller Broker November 26, 2009

Posted by minnesotarealty in MN Realty.
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Many first time home buyers in MN end up working with a subagent, otherwise known as a seller’s agent and it’s important to understand that these agents are working on behalf of the seller, not the home buyer. Seller’s agents are hired to represent the seller and bring the buyer to the deal, but they do work on a commission and have certain rights and responsibilities towards the buyer.

Real estate regulations vary across different states but there are federal laws that define common responsibilities, and limitations, of a seller’s agent. Ilyce Glink, Author of ‘100 Questions Every Home Buyer Should Ask’, advises home buyers to know the exact terms of service of an agent by reading the agency disclosure form. Clarify what each provisions mean with the agent; but if you really cannot understand the wordings, it is best not to sign the form. Below are the key obligations of a seller’s agent:

A seller’s agent can give you information regarding similar homes in the area. This information is called comparables or ‘comps’ and is a listing of homes that have similar price, size and area, and age. Comps can include homes that were recently sold or are currently in the market. This information allows a homebuyer to have a basis of comparison to ascertain the value of a home.

Seller’s agents cannot dictate, or otherwise pressure, home buyers into buying a home. The seller’s agent’s job is to facilitate the selling of a home but it doesn’t mean that they can force homebuyers into buying a home. You might be in a situation wherein you are deciding between two homes that are handled by one subagent. In this case, the seller’s agent cannot compel you to choose one home over the other.

A seller’s agent cannot reveal the flaws of the home, except for imperceptible material imperfections. They are not allowed to disclose information that can influence you not to buy a property. Homebuyers must conduct their own inspection to assess the condition of a home.

It is illegal for seller’s agents to provide information regarding the best offer amount to homebuyers. Remember that a seller’s agent should be concerned with the interests of the seller first and foremost. Giving a tip to the buyer infringes on a seller’s agent’s relationship with the seller.

With all the restrictions on your relationship, a seller’s agent can still ask for referrals from you. Seller’s agents are typically self-employed or small business owners and there is no law that restricts someone from referring others to a business.

The job of a seller’s agent is to make the buying and selling process as smooth as possible. As a buyer, you have to remember that seller’s agents are working for the seller. Therefore, it is still important for you to do your own research and work with a professional buyer’s agent.