So you are ready to put your house on the market. What’s next?
You have decisions to make. Do I want an advocate looking out for my interests as I sell my home, or do I just want someone to handle the paperwork? This is the most important question to ask yourself as you begin the process of selling your home. You’ll want to understand the different types of real estate broker relationships you might choose, and even MORE important, the duties and responsibilities on your behalf that those relationships require.
There are several types of relationships between you as a seller and your real estate broker, but the most basic comparison is between Transaction Broker and Seller Agency. A Transaction Broker works with one or more of the parties to meet all the legal requirements of the transfer of property from one party to another, without an advocacy role for either party. Seller Agency is a relationship designed to provide expert help with not just the paperwork, but with guarding your interests regarding the process, price, marketing strategy, and offer negotiation.
If you are looking for a real estate professional to assess the current market, offer advice on the best ways to present your house in that marketplace, and get that house sold as quickly as possible for the highest possible value, you are looking for a Seller’s agent.
Springs Homes Managing Broker Jennifer Boylan recently met with a couple interested in selling their home. The couple had interviewed several brokers for the job. This particular home was in a price range just below the median price for Colorado Springs, a very popular price range.
This home was VERY outdated and other brokers had advised the sellers to update the big money rooms like the kitchen and baths. Jennifer, on the other hand, advised the sellers to do nothing. she felt like the home was going to sell fast because of the condition and price.
Jennifer knew it would most likely sell to an investor or somebody who wanted to remodel to their own tastes. Jennifer's take was to go ahead and sell it as is, don't spend tens of thousands of dollars updating when the potential buyer will probably end up tearing stuff out and redoing it anyway.
This advice got Jennifer the listing which sold the first day at significantly higher than asking price.If she had not been an advocate for the sellers, she couldn't have given this opinion.
Seller Agency in Colorado is spelled out like this: A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller. The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.
Springs Homes Associate Broker Brooke Mitchell recently had a listing that perfectly illustrates the power of Seller Agency. Brooke now admits that the home was priced a little high, against her initial advice. The home sellers were moving into a market that was significantly more expensive than ours and they really needed to maximize their profits.
After the home had been on the market for just over a month, the sellers choose to do a $10,000 price reduction. They had gotten nervous about their timeline and anxious to get on to their new life.
This price reduction brought an offer, unfortunately, the offer was significantly lower than asking price. As a Seller's Agent Brooke knew that there wasn’t much inventory in this price range, so they were able to push the price back up in a counter-proposal.
As the inspection process got underway, polybutylene plumbing was discovered. The buyer's inspector recommended replacement of all of the plumbing due to a class-action lawsuit. Because Brooke was a Seller's Agent, she was able to meet with the buyer and plumber at the property. The plumber was very knowledgeable and reasonable, so Brooke was able to convey the opinion as a Seller's Agent that complete replacement wasn't necessary. The buyer agreed to future repairs on their own. Brooke also met with the septic company at the house in order to be aware of any possible repairs (none needed in this case). The buyer also claimed the dishwasher didn't work. Brooke also went to the house and displayed all functions to the buyer on behalf of a moved-away seller.
As a Transaction Broker there was very little she could have done on these items. On the other hand, as a Seller's Agent, she was able to help the seller get a higher sales price, and complete fewer unnecessary repairs, netting them much more in the end.
Your listing agent will act on your behalf alone. If a potential buyer inquires about your home, the agent will disclose their relationship with you as the seller. Some states allow a relationship called “dual agency.” Dual agency allows for an agent to serve on behalf of both buyer and seller. While it is possible to advocate for both, dual agency creates an obvious potential for conflict. So rather than leaving you wondering whose side they are on, Colorado real estate transaction law does not allow for one agent to hold both a seller and buyer agency relationship within one transaction.
Since the State of Colorado does not allow Dual Agency, we have included a thorough examination on the subject by Bill Gassett entitled: Dual Agency, Why Avoid It.
So what exactly is a transaction broker relationship? The Colorado Real Estate Manual puts it this way:
“Under Colorado law, a broker is presumed to be a transaction-broker unless a single agency relationship is created by a written agreement between the broker and the party. A transaction-broker means a broker who assists one or more parties throughout a contemplated real estate transaction with communication, interposition, advisement, negotiation, contract terms and the closing of such real estate transaction without being an agent or advocate for the interests of any party to such transaction.”
There might be instances where you would choose the transaction-broker relationship. But for the intricacies of listing a home, marketing and advocating on your behalf, a seller’s agent relationship provides you a value-added service.
Want to learn more about the market in your neighborhood? Wondering if now’s the right time to put your house on the market? Contact Springs Homes - let us know your needs and how we can be of service.
Additional Seller Agency Resources:
- Kevin Vitali-Understanding Real Estate Agency
- Paul Sian-What to Expect When Listing Your Home With A Realtor
- Kyle Hiscock-Should I Hire A Real Estate Agent To Sell My House?
- Lynn Pineda-How Can We Sweep A Buyer Off Their Feet?