Disclosure forms not always needed for buyers

disclosureIt has taken a while, but most listing brokers now have agency disclosure forms available for homebuyers at open houses.

The forms spell out who is representing whom — namely that the listing broker has only the seller’s best interests in mind.  However, rare is the listing broker who complies with a statutory requirement to explain the form in more than a few words before buyers sign the thing.

What some brokers working for sellers apparently don’t understand is Continue reading

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REBNY requires brokers to disclose family ties

Garfinkel

Ethical real estate brokers who are members of the Real Estate board of New York (REBNY) have a requirement that is not in New York State law, notes Neil B. Garfinkel, the organization’s residential counsel.

If representing a member of her/his immediate family, according to REBNY’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices, a broker must disclose that relationship in writing to other parties to a transaction.

Although the state doesn’t require that disclosure, Continue reading

The High Road: Agency disclosure law is ignored

State law has required real estate agents and brokers since the beginning of the year to let unaccompanied buyers know formally who is representing whom.

In particular, brokers holding open houses are to ask persons who visit to sign an agency disclosure form.  They must not only make the request, as I have written in the past, but they must verbally make clear where their loyalties lie.

In other words, brokers have a legal obligation to declare that it is the seller’s best interests they are bound to serve, not the buyer’s. Continue reading

The Big Apple: Condo prices, rents rise and more!

Condo prices rise 12 percent over May 2009, but pace seems to flag

The Radar Logic data firm reports that Manhattan condo prices went up 4.7 in January over a year earlier but that the rate of growth seems to be slowing.

Although prices have climbed 12 percent above the post-bust low in May 2009, the price recovery is “losing steam” or may simply reflect seasonal weakness in demand, according to the firm’s RPX Monthly report on Manhattan neighborhoods. The report said it was too early to know with any certainty what contributed to the increase.

Uptown neighborhoods fared better than downtown neighborhoods, with year-over-year increases caused by higher prices per unit as a result of a shortage in supply.

Apartments with a washer/dryer clean up when sold

One new value-enhancing amenity that’s catching on is allowing shareholders and unit-owners to install clothes washers and dryers in their apartments. Plumbing issues have been the usual reason for forbidding washing machines.

But one veteran real estate appraiser has estimated that a washer and dryer add approximately 5 percent to the value of any apartment, leading to the increasingly permissive attitude these days.

The rich are Continue reading

Brokers have both customers and clients

Put it in writing. (Flickr photo by tnarik)

The difference between a customer and client is not irrelevant in real estate.

If you are buying real estate, you need to know who is whom. Continue reading

Out and About: New law clarifies buyer representation

Note: After this post, Out and About will be published on Mondays or Tuesdays instead of the current Friday schedule.  Next one: Jan. 14.

 A new statutory requirement for real estate agents and associate brokers (licensees I customarily refer to merely as “brokers”) went into effect on Jan. 1, providing critically important additional protection to consumers and causing confusion, as well as consternation,  among the ranks of the untutored.

Enacted last year, the amendment to real property law modifies the agency disclosure form to allow advanced consent to dual agency and now adds a requirement for use of agency disclosure forms in real estate transactions for condominiums and cooperatives.  (You can download a PDF of the form.) The form lets you know who is representing whom, and it applies to both sales and rentals.

Fundamental to the form is an understanding of the difference Continue reading