The High Road: SmartMoney lauds, faults big brokers

Judy Phetteplace doesn’t share listings with other brokers in her upstate New York market.

Congratulations to SmartMoney for its balanced and extremely well-researched piece on what writer Alyssa Abkowitz terms “kingpin brokers,” of which I am hardly one.

In cities as far-ranging as Amsterdam, N.Y., Augusta, Ga. and suburban Cleveland, such brokers can have more than 100 listings and turn down new ones without a second thought.  Says the magazine:

Have a buyer’s agent and want to see a home listed by the market leader? Forget it, 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

What if one lawyer represented both sides?

In my four years as a broker with Long & Foster in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, only once did I complete a transaction while simultaneously representing the buyer and the seller of my listing.

The practice is known as dual agency; that is, the broker is the agent of both buyer and seller.  It is a little bit like having a single lawyer representing both complainant and respondent in the same trial.  And that would never happen.

In the D.C. area, dual agency is strongly discouraged and, in Maryland, as I recall, outlawed.  Why?  The impossibility is argued of one person being able to represent the best interests of parties on the opposite sides of a one transaction.

Conflicts of interest are virtually unavoidable.  Continue reading