Are You Represented in your Berkshire Property sale or purchase?
What's all the fuss about Berkshire buyer and seller's agents, facilitators, designated agents, dual agents, limited agents? Confused? So are many real estate licensees. It's a bewildering set of options most people don't fully understand and many don't really care. So why should you care?
Everyone knows that the purchase or sale of one's home is likely the largest single transaction they will ever make. We clip coupons, pick the cheapest gas station, watch the tip on our restaurant tab but ironically don't reflect much on the choices we make in picking the person to work with when we purchase or sell real estate. Does it matter? Sometimes not much and sometimes a great deal.
Who the Berkshire real estate salesperson or Berkshire broker represents in a transaction and how well they do this can make a very significant financial difference in the final bottom line. Does the real estate buyer work with the real estate seller's designated agent or a different agent representing them? Does the buyer or seller work with a facilitator or transaction broker instead of an agent? Does the real estate company practice dual agency, limited or designated agency and how might these options favor the buyer or the seller? There is more to this than most people realize and it will impact the outcome of your next real estate purchase or sale.
Confusion about the Berkshire Property purchase or Berkshire property sale and who is taking care of you is understandable.
Agents are obligated by law to be concerned only with their client's interests be it with price or terms or confidentiality. Agents are obligated by law to follow the instructions of their clients. They are not supposed to make any decisions or take initiative on their own. They are "the arm and mouthpiece of their principals", they are advocates for their clients much like an attorney would be.
A transaction broker or facilitator is dedicated to helping both sides as a neutral person interested in bringing the parties together at a fair deal for both sides, not in taking advantage, one side over the other, much like a mediator would.
For Berkshire property buyers and Berkshire home sellers wanting to purchase or sell at fair value, with full disclosure of all facts such that both sides can make fully informed decisions, facilitation can be the best course to follow. The facilitator is committed to creating a level playing field. The agent is duty bound to try to seek any advantage they can for their client.
What happens when a buyer is pursuing a property listed by a seller's agent but the buyer does not have an agent or facilitator of their own? This is probably the riskiest scenario for the buyer. They are completely unrepresented and have no one to help them determine fair value or to uncover every possible issue or concern. Chances are that buyer will pay more for the property than they would otherwise pay or have to deal with some problem with the property they could have avoided had they had the benefit of their own representative, either facilitator or agent. (Some states like Vermont and New York do not offer transaction brokerage or facilitation within their real estate rules but changes are always under consideration).
Leveling the playing field was the purpose behind the growth in buyer agency but agency on both sides of a transaction can create needless friction and contest of wills; never pleasant. The facilitator seeks a middle road without having to posture or play hard ball. He or she just has to demonstrate where fair value falls and provide full disclosure to both sides.
As property values in around the Berkshires and neighboring VT and NY have fallen following the bursting of the real estate bubble in '07, many sellers are understandably feeling discouraged and defensive. Buyers are oftentimes over cautious and hesitant. Helping both sides to a potential transaction understand and reach a satisfactory middle ground is the most beneficial approach without creating unnecessary additional stresses or conflict. This is the sort of outcome often popularized by the phrase "Win-Win".
November 10, 2013