The real estate market has undergone some extensive overhauls in the last few decades. Most real estate investors, whether for personal or financial gain, know that real estate professionals must be licensed to be able to sell, lease or provide consultation as a real estate agent. What many people do not know is the extensive work Realtors must do to stay licensed as a real estate agent. Every two years Realtors must undergo mandated continuing education in order to renew their licenses. Recently, in the last decade, the mandated education criteria has in fact increased to include a required class on ethics every two years. The Congress has made this issue a mandate as the laws regarding ethics change on a continual basis. This ethics laws mandate was created to protect the buyers and sellers of real property. This was done in part due to previous ethical issues that arose in the housing market of the late 80’s and early 90’s when questions regarding client representation and disclosure of information to buyers and sellers became a more pronounced issue.
Previous to these law changes buyer’s were guaranteed to be treated with fairness, but the primary representation and client responsibility was always from the realtor to the seller or property owners as they were always the obligatory payer of the commission. This has changed now so that buyers and sellers are represented in transactions and this is clearly defined. This was done to ensure there are no clouded loyalties. The seller’s and property owner’s are still the primary payer of commissions however now both parties are equally represented in all transactions. The law however, does include an exception. There is now defined what is called “Dual Agency”. This allows buyers and sellers to be represented by the same agent as long as there is disclosure and agreement among all parties. This basically means the agent simply guides each party through their portion of the agreement and does not influence either party’s decisions regarding the actual contract itself. It is handled this way quite frequently and is nothing to be concerned with as the realtor must by law be fair to both parties.
In today’s ever changing real estate market the following information can be very important for prospective and current property owners:
When engaging in a real estate transaction, make sure to define who will be representing you and ask what that representation entails.
Be thorough in deciphering what your specific transaction requires from you in regards to financing, credit, legal obligations etc., your realtor should be able to help with all aspects of this.
Assess your long and short term goals regarding your life and how real estate can help you. Define which goals real estate can help you accomplish and which ones are most important to you.
If purchasing, selling or leasing property prioritize and define as best you can what your needs are. Decipher what things you are willing to compromise on and what things you cannot compromise on. Be prepared however that most transactions require a certain degree of compromise from all parties involved.
Also, don’t assume that name reputation for financing etc. necessarily ensures you the best quality. Check around for what best suits your needs and verify that the company is reputable. It is recommended this philosophy be followed when seeking a realtor as well.
Even in this difficult real estate market you can be assured of a few things. First, realtors have to by law watch out for your rights. Second, remember real estate is not just location, location and location anymore. In today’s current market, it has become more a lesson to prioritize, prioritize, and prioritize. Lastly, remember that inevitably the market will change and recover, not unlike stocks it is simply a cycle that must work its way through.