What Home Buyers Should Expect from Listing Agents
What to ask and not to ask a Realtor in Silicon Valley
All of us have been on the buy and sell side of the real estate market at one point in our life.
I am stating the obvious when I mean that home sellers expect their
listing agent to sell their home at the best price to the best “able and
willing” home buyers.
In this newsletter, I would like to cover a much less discussed but
equally important factor for a successful home sale: The duties (and the
limits of these duties) owed to potential home buyers by listing
Duty #1: Listing Agent should deal fairly and honestly with all buyers
include vital information about the fundamentals of the listed property
and limit the listing’s agent ability to exploit prospective buyers.
This set of documents prevents unscrupulous agents to give unfounded
opinions or deceptive responses to prospective buyer’s inquiries.
Outside of disclosures, bear in mind that the duty of a Realtor is
limited to their prior knowledge about the property and observations
made while conducting their visual inspection.
Duty #2: Listing Agent do not comment on adverse facts in disclosures
not expect listing agents to provide advice, recommendations,
suggestions and opinions on adverse facts disclosed about the property.
Realtors will not elaborate further on the consequences of not
conducting further due diligence should a problem be called out in the
fundamental reason is that neither a listing agent nor a buyer agent
should decide for you whether or not any given property is a good match
for you. Real estate agents are here to give you all the tools you need
to make the right decision, nothing more, nothing less. Not complying
with this restriction can have serious consequences and put the
liability of the Realtor and his/her Brokerage at risk.
Duty #3: Listing Agent cannot comment on facts unknown to them
reveal so much about the condition of a property for sale. Many facts
remain in fact unknown to Realtors, simply because that would require
agents to have access to personal and private financial information
and/or proprietary information specific to the property or the future
development of the neighborhood.
They fall typically in three categories:
The property’s title conditions, e.g. encumbrances such as easements, CC&Rs, legal descriptions, trust deed provisions, etc
which may affect the buyer’s future use of the property (like zoning),
except for the existence of industrial zoning and nearby military
ordnance locations usually included in the natural hazard disclosure
report, but also information on possible use of the property such as the
possibility to sub-divide parts of the property (e.g. land) or use it
for tenant income or as a vacation rental
- Tax implications of the acquisition of the property, e.g. interest deductions
the end of the day, the role of the listing agent is to give home
buyers verified information without trying to influence their decision.