The answer to your question varies from state to state.
Since you've asked this in the New York State section, I can tell you that agents licensed here (often called "brokers" in the New York City area) will ask you to sign a form acknowledging that the broker disclosed to you who she (or he) is working for.
Brokers can work for the seller ("listing agent" is the usual term), or work for the buyer ("buyer's agent"), or work for the buyer and the seller, or work as an agent for another broker or agent who is working for either the buyer, the seller, or both.
Confusing?! It sure is! That's why we have the form. Because you need to know if the real estate licensee you're working with is representing you as a buyer, or representing the seller, etc.
By law the broker has a fiduciary responsibility to the person for whom she (or he) is working. The word "fiduciary" means the person must, by law, put your best interests ahead of her own. This is a very good thing for consumers.
However, in real estate transactions, studies have show that buyers are especially likely to be confused about who brokers are working for without clear disclosure.
For example, buyers will think an agent hosting an open house, who is so pleasant and so helpful to you as a buyer, wants to find you the best place at the lowest price. In actuality, that agent's job is to sell the place that had the open house at the highest possible price--that is, the agent is working for the seller.
If you meet a lot of brokers you could sign a lot of these forms. It is not a contract at all, it's just a legal disclosure. Please read it and sign if you are handed a disclosure form, and know that the broker handing you the form doesn't mean to inconvenience you; she's only following the law.
Charles Rutenberg Realty
If you'd like to give me your house address, I can give you the absorption rate. I go through the MLS and collect data of homes that sold, pended or expired in the last 6 months. You can email me at BobEberle@kw.com.... more
Definitely a "Buyer's Market".....Try contacting Advantage Realty located in Saratoga, NY and ask for Jesse Lena. He is a real "square shooter" that knows both the real estate and mortgage markets and has extensive experience in the capital district.
I'm not sure if this advice is on Trulia, but I do know that agents and Realtors are good resources for you. You should also conduct a search (ask the local chamber of commerce or builders' association or on the internet) for real estate development and/or investment groups. Our broker has a new development section in which they help a building owner through the process of converting an existing building such as yours into condos. There may be a large brokerage in your area that does the same. If you don't want to work with a real estate brokerage, try and look for real property investment groups. Lastly, a real estate attorney in your area might be useful to speak with as they may know contractors, investors and laws that affect your decision to convert your building.... more