It is important that you know the difference between an agency disclosure form and a contract where you are hiring a real estate agent. The disclosure form is for your benefit, and agents are required by law to explain that form to you at FIRST contact, before you start telling the agent your private business. The agents are supposed to get you to sign the form so they can prove to the government that they have explained agency options to you. When you work with an agent you can be treated as a client or a customer, and you might be involved in a dual agency relationship. This form explains those relationships and gives you an option to say how you want to be treated. If a consumer signs this disclosure stating that they want to be treated as a client, the agent is bound to keep private information confidential unless released from that obligation.
A customer is someone not represented in a real estate transaction. It may be a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant. Typically Winstead Realty does not represent renters and sometimes we treat landlords as customers. A client is represented. If we list someone’s house to sell, they are clients. We can sell someone’s house and have them be a customer, as sometimes when we sell a for-sale-by-owner home. A client is represented and we owe them fiduciary duties of: honesty, loyalty, confidentiality, obedience, disclosure, full accounting and the duty to use skill, care and diligence. We are also honest with customers; we just do not have the same responsibilities to a customer as we do to a client.
Almost all real estate agents in our market are paid on a commission basis. That means we get paid when we get the job done. Typically we are paid by the seller, or landlord, and the broker pays the agent from part of the total fee paid to the broker. A consumer cannot legally pay fees to an agent—they must go through the broker, and that broker is responsible for the actions of the agents working for the firm. There can be buyer agency agreements in which a buyer agrees to compensate the real estate company in part or whole. Buyers should know up front if they are agreeing to a buyer agency agreement.
No matter how much time our agents spend with you, there is no expense incurred.
The MLS tour is great exposure for a seller’s home. It is where a group of agents visit your home all at the same time to get an idea of what the house looks like inside. Many times agents see a home on tour and immediately call a prospect that they think might like that house.
Dual agency occurs when the same real estate company is representing the seller(s) and the buyers. Different agents may be involved or the listing agent and the selling agent be the same agent. Dual agency cannot legally occur without the prior knowledge and consent of the buyer and sellers.
There are some limitations on what can occur in dual agency, such as the agent cannot reveal why the buyers are buying or why the sellers are selling without those parties’ consent. Dual agency can allow for clearer communication. If a consumer is uncomfortable with the same agent talking to both parties, they can request that the broker, or someone designated by the broker, step in and talk with one of the parties, but the dual agency is still in effect under Mississippi law.
Almost always, the real estate agency is not compensated until closing, or until a rental agreement is executed and money changes hands. Frequently the real estate fees are divided between a listing and selling office and then further divided between that office and the agent handling that side of the transaction. Real estate companies have very significant operating expenses and agents have considerable expense as well. We are not paid on the basis of the amount of time we spend but on our production.
A good agent learns what a buyer likes and helps the buyer find and acquire that property. Buying a home is one of the biggest expenses most people have, and it is a long-term investment. We can help with negotiations, inspections, financing and closing. One of the major parts of our job is problem solving.
Typically we can show you any house on the market with any real estate company. You can find an agent who knows you and with whom you are comfortable.
Secondly, we do not make properties more expensive. Usually contracts are contingent upon the property appraising for at least the sales price. How often have you seen a house advertised by owner with a provision that it is priced below appraisal because they do not have to pay a real estate fee? Seldom, if ever.
Among other things, we can advise a seller on pricing their property, based on what similar properties have brought and upon our experience. We can help with marketing and advise about different types of financing and the potential effects and cost to the seller. We can get much greater exposure. Every listing in our Multiple Listing Service is on the website of every member company that has a website plus there can be other national website exposure. We help with problem solving, including issues on repairs, inspections, and other closing issues.
We are the ones who take people into your home. You do not take the risk of allowing strangers into your house. We also are a bridge between buyers and sellers.
MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. It is a group of real estate agents who band together, here through our Board of Realtors, to share listings and information on houses, including sold information that will help appraisers in the valuation of homes. It allows you to find an agent you like who can show you all the houses in the MLS, and you can also see all those houses and/or search for what you want on this website.
A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors, which is a trade organization with high ethical standards and is organized on the local, state and national level. The Realtors organizations try to educate our members about many facets of real estate and the law. The state of Mississippi licenses real estate agents who are not Realtors unless they join the association.
There are several ways to meet the pre-licensing educational requirements. Terry Winstead has been a real estate instructor at Meridian Community College since 1980. MCC offers two courses that will enable someone to qualify to take the state license exam if their application is approved by the Mississippi Real Estate Commission. You can contact Terry for other information about possible ways to obtain a license.