Buyers and Sellers beware!

Despite the mass exodus of Realtors from the local market,  I am still appalled at the number of so-called ‘seasoned’ agents, remaining, who don’t know how to draw up a simple contract!

Let’s back-track a little:

There has been much comment regarding the bar being too low – that it is too easy for Real Estate agents to obtain a license,  thereby leaving unsuspecting Buyers and Sellers at the hands of inexperienced and unknowledgable agents.  To be sure,  the DRE has tightened up the exam requirements, but in my opinion,  they have still not done enough to furnish the industry with qualified agents who are, in fact ready to go into the field.

Realistically, would YOU be comfortable with a new agent representing you, who has never drawn up a contract before, ?  One can argue that everyone must start somewhere, but as a consumer of the highest priced commodity in today’s market,  wouldn’t you feel better if your ‘Rookie Agent’ had an experienced agent – or better yet, the responsible Broker – with them?  I know that I would!

How do you know that your new agent isn’t leaving you at risk of lawsuit?  When you list with a new agent, has he/she put the commission rate in the correct place/s,  or are you being left wide open to pay the full and agreed commission to BOTH agents, thereby doubling your commission overhead?

Any new agent (assuming that you KNOW that they are a new agent) will tell you that their strength is in the Brokerage and yes,  as the listing belongs to the Brokerage (and not to the agent) this is partially true, but not all Brokers read the contracts until it is too late!

So yes,  there has been a drop in the number of agents servicing the Real Eastate industry but they have not left because they didn’t make the ‘experience’ grade – they left because they ran out of money and could no longer sustain themselves!  There are too many part-time agents out there,  who are working at Target or waiting tables, in order to keep themselves afloat, until another unsuspecting Buyer or Seller comes along!

I have always believed that a new agent should ‘under-study’ a seasoned agent for a period of 6 months, however, seasoned agents are not in favor of doing this – after all,  in that 6 months, the new agent would become privy to all the marketing secrets that bring business to the seasoned agent!

So back to my original statement, that I am appalled at the number of so-called ‘seasoned agents’ that still don’t know how to draw up a simple contract! While challenging an agent, recently,  I was told:  “He (the Broker) is wrong!  I’ve always done it this way!”  Well,  that doesn’t make the mistake, right and when choosing to believe a Broker or an agent,  I will believe the Broker every time – especially one with 30 years Brokerage experience!

Does this mean that in choosing your real estate professional,  that you should select one who is a Broker?  No! But you SHOULD both READ and QUESTION the contract before signing it! If there is a paragraph that you don’t fully understand, insist upon it being explained to you and don’t be fobbed off with: ‘It’s standard’! No one person has the answers to everything and your agent might admit to not having an answer to one of your questions.  The ideal answer would be “I don’t have the answer at this time, but I can get back to you in 24 hours”.  This would enable the agent to take the expert advice of his/her Broker, however,  when that answer comes back to you, make certain that it is in writing! A verbal answer to a key question, could cost you a lot of money and a verbal answer might result in ‘He said/she said’ at a later stage, leaving you out in the cold!

Your home,  whether you are buying or selling,  is the single most expensive investment that you will ever make – don’t leave yourself open to agent error. Rather have the agent draw up the contract and spend a little money in having a legal expert read through it first. Remember that buying or selling a home is an emotional transaction and nothing this expensive should be signed, emotionally! At the very least….  sleep on it!

Althea Garner
The House Of Homes Online


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Estate market price keep dropping since the explode of subprime crisis.
    Don’t think the effect has gone, big impact is yet to come.
    Better get ready for recession. Prevention is better than cure.

  2. Warren,

    Would you like to expand on your comments? Particularly, I would like to hear more about the ‘big impact’ that is yet to come and what your suggestions are for ‘prevention’.

    Over to you!

    Althea Garner
    The House Of Homes Online

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