Sorry for the delay, out showing all weekend. I agree, Realtor Jargon can makes the issues more confusing.
You should interview agents to find one you are comfortable with. It's good to meet before you actually go out looking or at least have a phone conversation, going over your needs, what the different types of sale entail (i.e. short sale, bank owned, estate, or regular seller). You should feel free to ask them questions too. What areas do they work in? How long have they been in real estate? I reccomend you choose one who is a full time professional realtor. Are they members of the local Board of Realtors, Fla. Assoc. of Realtors and the National Assoc. of Realtors? Don't assume it. Not everyone is. Members must follow a "Code of Ethics".
When you find one you like do your home searching with one agent. Of course you want them to be looking out for your best interests. You may find something right away or it could take months. The agent you choose is going to be spending a lot of time researching and showing you properties and only get's paid if a transaction closes. This is where commitment is a two way street between you and your agent. This is also where I disagree with Annette about going to a different franchise if the house you are looking at is listed with the same company that your realtor works with. If you choose a realtor with any of the larger companies, this would mean swiching realtors everytime you wanted to see a house someone in their company was listing. Using different agents for every house may lead to your getting less experienced desperate agents.
If you choose a house your agent has listed then you and your agent might want to dicuss having someone else do your side of the contract. If you have a developed a good relationship with them, you may still want them to do it. Only you can make that decision when the time comes.
In Florida we do not have " Dual Agency" as one of the other agents brought up. We have Single Agent, Transaction Agent or No Brokerage. As of July 2008 (maybe it was 2007, but I think it was 2008) all agents are to be assumed Transaction agents, unless a disclosure is signed stating otherwise.
Here is a detailed explanation of each taken right from the Florida Association of Realtors as to the responsibilities of each. These would be listed on the disclosure.
SINGLE AGENT NOTICE
FLORIDA LAW REQUIRES THAT REAL ESTATE LICENSEES OPERATING AS SINGLE AGENTS DISCLOSE TO BUYERS
AND SELLERS THEIR DUTIES.
As a single agent,
and its associates owe to you the following duties:
1. Dealing honestly and fairly;
5. Full disclosure;
6. Accounting for all funds;
7. Skill, care, and diligence in the transaction;
8. Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise
in writing; and
9. Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable.
TRANSACTION BROKER NOTICE
As a transaction broker,__________________________________
and its associates, provides to you a limited form of representation that includes the following duties:
1. Dealing honestly and fairly;
2. Accounting for all funds;
3. Using skill, care, and diligence in the transaction;
4. Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable to the buyer;
5. Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing;
6. Limited confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party. This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price, that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer, of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property, that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered, or of any other information requested by a party to remain confidential; and
7. Any additional duties that are entered into by this or by separate written agreement.
Limited representation means that a buyer or seller is not responsible for the acts of the licensee. Additionally, parties are giving up their rights to the undivided loyalty of the licensee. This aspect of limited representation allows a licensee to facilitate a real estate transaction by assisting both the buyer and the seller, but a licensee will not work to represent one party to the
detriment of the other party when acting as a transaction broker to both parties.
NO BROKERAGE RELATIONSHIP NOTICE
FLORIDA LAW REQUIRES THAT REAL ESTATE LICENSEES WHO HAVE NO BROKERAGE RELATIONSHIP WITH A
POTENTIAL SELLER OR BUYER DISCLOSE THEIR DUTIES TO SELLERS AND BUYERS.
As a real estate licensee who has no brokerage relation