Do you have to sign disclosure forms from realtors on Long Island when you go to a open house?

Asked by Laura, Amityville, NY Sun Sep 14, 2008

I notice that when I go to open houses there are two forms to sign. One is a disclosure form ( to tell the potential buyer that the agent represents the seller and not all open houses have this) the other thing is a sign in sheet. Do I have to sign these can I refuse?

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31
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Tue Sep 16, 2008
BEST ANSWER
If all you are trying to do is avoid contact, just mark your name with "no contact, please." If not interested in the house, say so. Agents don' t want to pursue non-buyers. believe me.
0 votes
Happyjerseyf…, Home Buyer, New Jersey
Mon Sep 15, 2008
We also worried a little that the agents sitting open houses would start calling us, but they don't! We are already working with our own agent, and instead of leaving our contact information, we leave her name and office.
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A better thing to do would be to sign your name and tell the agent you are already committed to another agent. We like to know that.

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Yes, of course. In my effort to be brief, I was incomplete. We always say that we are working with someone already, and ask if it is okay to leave her contact information instead of ours. Sorry for my earlier short and sloppy answer. I was only hoping to encourage Laura to not assumeand/or worry that she would be bombarded with unwanted calls and emails from other agents, and that it really would be okay to sign in at open houses.
3 votes
Toby & John…, Agent, Farmingville, NY
Mon Sep 29, 2008
In New York, agents "Should" get the disclosure signed at open houses. The law says we must disclosure who we are working for, the buyer or the seller. The law doesn't say you have to sign the form, but we need to get your name so we can still fill in a form and put on it that you didn't want to sign. It is all about disclosure! Did we tell you who we are working for, that is what the state wants to know.

We are also responsible for this open home and I wouldn't want an unqualified stranger walking through MY home if they won't even give me their name! Some smart agents ask to see driver's license in order to know they are getting the correct info on who is coming into the house. It is a matter of security. Of course, as agents taking the time to sit in an open house, we are looking, first to sell the home, second - to list other homes, and third - to find new buyers. IF you are already happily working with anothe agent, a couple things. One, tell the agent at the open house. We give extra cards to our buyers to give to OH attendants. No one wants to waste time following up with customers who have NO intention of being our customers. TWO - why aren't you seeing the house WITH your agent?
2 votes
Joanna Lane, Agent, Cutchogue, NY
Sun Sep 14, 2008
You can refuse to sign both, but why would you want to? You can't expect an agent to agree to give you free access to someone else's house unless you are willing to identify yourself and refusing to sign the Agency Disclosure form doesn't achieve anything (it is not a contract), but gives the agent a headache. They are required by NY State Law to give it to you, so if you don't sign it, they have to complete an affadavit later to say they gave it to you and you refused to sign. At my open house, you wouldn't get past the door, sorry.
2 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Mon Sep 15, 2008
We also worried a little that the agents sitting open houses would start calling us, but they don't! We are already working with our own agent, and instead of leaving our contact information, we leave her name and office.
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A better thing to do would be to sign your name and tell the agent you are already committed to another agent. We like to know that.
1 vote
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Mon Sep 15, 2008
Joanna gave the best answer. An agent is custodian of the house. If she were my agent she gets plaudits and medals for being responsible and professional. She takes care of it because someday it may be yours and you would want that kind of care wouldn't you? A better way put it is, why are some agents treating the house so carelessly by letting strangers walk thru without identifying themselves?
1 vote
Lawrence&She…, Agent, Plainview, NY
Mon Sep 15, 2008
Yes, by New York State Law, at first substanive contact, we are to disclose to you that we are working for the seller. If you walk through a home and have no interest in it, you don't have to sign, but once you start asking questions, we are required by law to have you sign the disclosure, which is not a contract, just "Disclosing" we represent the seller. Why all Realtors don't do this, is a good question, but it is required by law. As far as Sign in Sheets are concerned, no you don't have to sign in, but why wouldn't you? True some agents might call you to see if you have any interest in the home, so why not just leave an email address....
1 vote
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Sat Feb 16, 2013
Haha Carl you are real funny and real professional !! Insert sarcasm here ..I actually ended buying a short sale in seaford, ny in 2009.. Just refinanced at 3.1% life is grand .. Thanks for the responses 4 yrs later ..
0 votes
Gina Lollo, Agent, Setauket, NY
Sat Feb 16, 2013
As acknowledged below, It is the agents duty to disclose that they are working for the seller. You should know that they are not working for you, so the disclosure is for your best interest. As far as the sign in sheet is concerned, the list agent has a responsibility to the homeowner to get the identity of those individuals who are touring the property. If you are currently working with another agent, and do not wish to be pursued by the agent at the open house then just let them know, they should respect that.
0 votes
Nina Harris, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Feb 16, 2013
Agency disclosure is a DOS (department of state) requirement to protect consumers. All agents should be disclosing that they are a seller's agent (working for the seller) and the buyers should be signing the form acknowledging that the seller's agent has disclosed their position. There are "spotters" going to open houses and if agent is caught stiff penalties will be issued for non disclosure. It is not a contract; just a disclosure. As far as the sign in form is concerned; no you do not have to sign it but the agent can deny you entry into the home.
0 votes
29835113, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Sat Feb 16, 2013
Absolutely not.

The disclosure form is the way the realtors protect themselves. The purpose is to be able to prove that they actually did disclose what the law says they should; it may also serve as a proof that they met you and possibly introduced you to the property. (The later would not usually be related to an open-house situation, assuming it is a listing agent who shows the property.)

Now, would it hurt you to sign? Probably not. The realtors would certainly be happier if you do sign. And, as pointed out in the thread, it would be one less headache for them. So, while you absolutely are not required to sing the disclosure form, it probably will not hurt you to do so... and help a fellow human being who is presumably working hard to earn their daily bread.

Many realtors are talking to their potential buyers in such a way that the buyers are often lulled into believing that the realtor works for them. This why the law exists: the realtors must disclose that they are actually working for the seller, and despite often saying that they help buyers, they are legally obligated to look after the seller's interest if seller is paying their commission.

Do you need to show the ID when entering an open house? If I'm the owner, I'd ask that of my listing agent, and every other realtor bringing people in. The truth is, in today's "buyer's" market, the realtors are happy to have people looking and seldom ask for the ID. Kudos to those who do.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Thu Oct 2, 2008
I think the whole point of this post to was to prove to her she was overly paranoid.. But at the same time I don't blame her for a being a little nervous considering someone is asking her to sign strange documents that she is unsure of what their meanings are. I think just educating yourself is important.

JR: The document says THIS IS NOT A CONTRACT at the top. The agent should explain exactly what it is, as Janice explained below.

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Yup no one in the past 3 weeks has asked me to sign a disclosure form and I have never been asked to show a license.. and thats between 5 different open houses in Massapequa, Massapequa Park and Bellmore.. all in Nassau.

JR: I follow the Department of State rules. I can't control how other agents do their business. I've been at closings where agents have asked their customers to sign the disclosure form. This, mind you, is a form that explains to the customer who the agent is working for, an important detail, wouldn't you agree? Any agent who does not have the form signed at first substantive contact is opening themselves up to a lawsuit. That's why the form came about-- because of a lawsuit.
0 votes
Janice Dalst…, Agent, Southampton, NY
Thu Oct 2, 2008
On Long Island, and in all of New York State, agents are required by the Dept. of State to prove that at the "first substantive contact" with a potential client or customer, we have explained clearly our role in the marketing and sale of a property. The Agency Disclosure form is provided by the DOS, and the first thing it says is "This is Not a Contract," which should ease the mind the person who is afraid to sign anything. One of the purposes of an Open House sign-in sheet is to let the seller who came into the house. Any customer who is uncomfortable about future contact is free to make a "do not call" or "currently represented by X agent" next to his or her name; most agents will respect that. We probably should do a better job of explaining to the public that the agent who takes the time to ask a customer to sign an Agency Disclosure and/or Open House sign-in sheet is acting in a more responsible manner than one who does not.
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Wed Oct 1, 2008
I think the whole point of this post to was to prove to her she was overly paranoid.. But at the same time I don't blame her for a being a little nervous considering someone is asking her to sign strange documents that she is unsure of what their meanings are. I think just educating yourself is important.

Yup no one in the past 3 weeks has asked me to sign a disclosure form and I have never been asked to show a license.. and thats between 5 different open houses in Massapequa, Massapequa Park and Bellmore.. all in Nassau.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Wed Oct 1, 2008
If your friend was selling her house and a bunch of strangers were coming in, do you think she would like to know who they were? Wouldn't you? As for the disclosure, you can scribble your name on it, it's no big deal. The fact is IMO if you're going into someone's home you should let them know who you are.

I just took one of the required classes, fair housing, and our teacher told the room that where he practices, in Nassau, they take one person at a time and that person has to present their drivers license or photo ID or they don't come in. People wait outside for their turn.

My personal opinion is it's too bad your friend doesn't like being asked all that information--I wouldn't let someone who told me that into any of my listings and I have turned people away for that very reason. With the homeowner PRESENT and fine with that. No one has a right to come into anyone's home.
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Tue Sep 30, 2008
To JR.. My friend says she doesn't like all the information that is being asked,.. where she lives, phone number, signature to a stranger.. ( which is understandable)
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Tue Sep 30, 2008
I'm sorry Laura, did your friend explain why you shouldn't sign? Perhaps I didn't phrase my question correctly. Because disclosure forms are VERY important.
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Mon Sep 29, 2008
yeah thats what my friend said also.. its sort of up in the air... I went to 3 open houses this weekend not one asked me to sign a disclosure form. I guess its not that important.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Mon Sep 29, 2008
One of my friends suggested that I don't sign it.. I just wanted to see what the feedback was on this topic
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Because? What was your friends reason?
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Mon Sep 29, 2008
thanks for all your reply's I understand the whole disclosure form situation and will educate my friends on the situation also.
0 votes
Carl Ben Wit…, Agent, Upper Montclair, NJ
Mon Sep 29, 2008
To Laura looking for house- Amityville.
I saw a nice one near the water in your town. It was seen in 3 or 4 movies. The family that lived there had a rough time of it. But it sure was a nice house. Those flies in the attic room can be removed easy enough. I think the walls talk to you if you own the house. Carl
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Mon Sep 29, 2008
I am casually looking now to see the market.. more serious in Dec. and will get an agent.. Open houses give you more of a non commiment and also allow you to research areas and homes in the area. I don't want to feel obligated to a agent now if I am not read to buy yet.
One of my friends suggested that I don't sign it.. I just wanted to see what the feedback was on this topic
0 votes
Gina Lollo, Agent, Setauket, NY
Wed Sep 24, 2008
As realtors have to make sure that this information is disclosed to you and that is why we have the clients sign. As far as the sign in sheet, the listing agent should have this information and know who is viewing the property. If you are already working with another agent then mark that down or hand the agent your agents card.
0 votes
Carol Bromm, , Babylon, NY
Mon Sep 15, 2008
To Scott
In New Hampshire you might be able to just post a sign, but the buyer is looking at homes in New York and the New York Department of State has different regulations
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Mon Sep 15, 2008
At an open house, an agent can post a sign disclosing they work for the seller in open and easy to see spot rather than having everyone sign individually. as far as a sign in sheet you dont have to sign but not all agents will let you go through the property without doing so.
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes
Happyjerseyf…, Home Buyer, New Jersey
Mon Sep 15, 2008
We also worried a little that the agents sitting open houses would start calling us, but they don't! We are already working with our own agent, and instead of leaving our contact information, we leave her name and office. If anyone wants to follow up, they do it through her. (Of course, that means that we need to let her know what open houses we have been to, and what we think, so that she can give the feedback when they call her.) You might also ask your agent to give you some of his/her cards to leave.

Once in a while we will get a note to say thank you for attending the open house (if we've left our address...in addition to our agent's name), but we hardly consider them to be "bombarding" us.

I wonder who is advising you not to sign in?
0 votes
Carol Bromm, , Babylon, NY
Mon Sep 15, 2008
You're signature acknowledges that the agent did their job and disclosed to you that they are representing the seller at the Open House. If anything is said, it could be construed as substantive contact.

Saying Hello, may not be considered substantive contact, but if the Realtor gives you any information about the home or neighborhood, that might be considered substantive contact. Some people do not understand that it is not a contract and balk when asked for the signature, so some Realtors don't ask for it until a question is asked. It is much easier to get it over with as you're signing in.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Sun Sep 14, 2008
We are required "at first substantive contact" to explain agency to you and have you sign a disclosure (which is not a contract). Signing this disclosure states that we have explained it to you.

Why do few agents ask you to sign, and others don't? I require all my open house visitors to sign it because I obey the law. I cannot control or explain how other agents do business.

Regarding the sign in sheet: you are entering someone's private home. If someone were to come into your home, wouldn't you want to know who they were? We extend the same courtesy to our clients.
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Sun Sep 14, 2008
Why don't all the brokers require you to sign it? Why is it a select few? It just seems like its not necessary if not everyone is doing it.
0 votes
Phil Svendsen, , Huntington, NY
Sun Sep 14, 2008
Brokers are bound by strict regulations to have disclosure forms signed by customers/clients at the point of first substantial or substantive contact.
0 votes
Laura, Home Buyer, Amityville, NY
Sun Sep 14, 2008
I forgot to add what happens if you go through the house then they ask you.. but you dont' like it.. do you still have to sign?
I just don't want to bombarded by realtors with phone calls and emails. I rather sign it later if I am really truly serious about the house. Then contact the realtor if I want to go through with a possible bid.
Also I think one out of five realtors will have that disclosure sheet, why don't all of them have it.
Just to put this out I have been signing in but have been given advice not to anymore..
0 votes
We made an offer on a home and it was accepted. We signed a binder at the time but not the NYS Disclosure form. During the inspection and contract signing process, we encountered a number of misrepresentations that the listing agent made. At that point, we could not tell who lied, the agent or the homeowner. We had already signed the contract and put down our deposit when we learned that the seller would not counter sign until certain conditions were met, opposite from what the listing agent told us right up until contract signing. We were angry that our original agreement was not honored as all we were looking for was fairness and we had turned down another home. Reluctantly, we signed the contract anyway because we liked the house. So now the listing agent faxed to our attorney the NYS Disclosure form. Literally we were never advised. We'd like to add our own (buyers) agent to the form as well. Can we? We don't feel the listing agent really earned it
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