Some days I find the best part of being a Realtor is the opportunity it provides me to educate, inform or enlighten. That is certainly not to say I have all of the answers, just that I like to share valuable information and appreciate it when others do the same for me.
Toward that end I was sitting here thinking today of all of the times I have asked the question of a new customer "has anyone taken the time to explain the CT Laws of Agency to you"? Invariably, the individual looks back at me bewildered. Hence, the subject matter for today's blog.
CT Real Estate Law governs all Licensed Realtors the same way. The law does not allow for us to engage in the business of Real Estate in any other than an ethical and honest fashion. We might have different "approaches" but we all must make the same effort to ensure that you the consumer are ultimately protected.
We must all, at first point of contact, ask you the consumer "are you currently working with another Realtor"? - this allows us to make sure you the consumer are not going to sign a contract with more than one of us and potentially owe a commission to more than one of us at a time. It also helps us to not step on each other's toes.
We also must, at first point of contact, explain the CT Laws of Agency to you. We do this to protect you. I tend to think of it as the "Merandising" of the potential Client. You do have the right to remain silent and you need to exercise that right to not share the "who, what, when, where and why" of your personal information, until you have decided to work with a Realtor as either a Buyer's Agent, a Seller's Agent, or in some cases, as a Dual Agent. Once you make that decision, the Agent owes you fiduciary duties as described below, not the least of which is confidentiality. For your reading pleasure, the following is a brief overview of CT Agency Law:
Definition: A Seller's Agent means a real estate broker or real estate salesperson who acts in a fiduciary capacity for the seller and/or lessor in a real estate transaction.
When a seller or lessor enters into an agreement for representation with a seller's agent, the seller or lessor becomes the seller's agent's client. The seller or lessor may authorize the seller's agent to contact other brokers, including associates of other real estate firms, to represent the seller or lessor in marketing their property as seller's agents. This means both the seller's agent and these other brokers represent the seller or lessor. The seller's agent owes the seller or lessor undivided fiduciary obligations, such as: obedience to lawful instruction, loyalty, full disclosure, confidentiality, accountability and reasonable skill and care. The seller's agent must put the seller's or lessor's interest first and negotiate for the best terms and conditions for the seller's agent's client.
Definition: A Buyer's Agent means a real estate broker or real estate salesperson who acts in a fiduciary capacity for the buyer and/or lessee in a real estate transaction.
When a buyer or lessee enters into an agreement for representation with a buyer's agent, the buyer or lessee becomes the buyer's agent's client. The buyer or lessee may authorize the buyer's agent to contact other brokers, including associates of other real estate firms, to represent the buyer or lessee in locating property as buyer's agents. This means both the buyer's agent and these other brokers represent the buyer or lessee. The buyer's agent owes the buyer or lessee undivided fiduciary obligations, such as: obedience to lawful instruction, loyalty, full disclosure, confidentiality, accountability and reasonable skill and care. The buyer's agent must put the buyer's or lessee's interest first and negotiate for the best terms and conditions for the buyer's agent's client.
Definition: A Dual Agent means a real estate broker or real estate salesperson who acts in a fiduciary capacity for both the seller and buyer or lessor and lessee.
A dual agent may represent both the buyer and seller or lessor and lessee provided such dual agent obtains the informed consent of the parties. The dual agent is then considered a disclosed dual agent. The dual agent owes the buyer and seller or lessor a duty to deal with them fairly and honestly. In this type of agency relationship, the dual agent does not represent either the buyer and seller or lessor and lessee exclusively and the parties cannot except the dual agent's undivided loyalty. The dual agent may not reveal any confidential information which would provide a negotiating advantage to either party except as authorized by either party or required by law.
If you are a Buyer, it is important to note that without a Buyer Agency contract, according to CT law, a Realtor can only show you a home offered for sale by their brokerage house. This means in order for you to see everything that a marketplace has to offer, you would literally have to go from brokerage house to brokerage house to see what it is they have to offer. This is not only a huge waste of your time and energy, it can be very confusing. Pick a Realtor and work with him or her.
You do have the right to be an unrepresented person in a Real Estate transaction. As an unrepresented person, the Agent you are talking to is the Fiduciary of someone else, and not representing your best interests. Why in the world would you want to be unrepresented? You want someone who knows what they are doing out there working for you! It will pay off in the end for you to choose a Realtor to work with and let him or her really work for you.
It does make a difference who you work with. Take the time to get to know the person. You should be comfortable with them...after all, you will be spending a good deal of time with them. Ask them questions, interview them for the job. This is important stuff, the family home to this day constitutes the majority of most people's personal wealth. Who do you want to assist you in making this kind of investment?
If you are in need of an experienced Realtor, I would love the opportunity to represent you.
Brooke Buccieri, Lic. Real Estate Broker