It is common practice for individuals to solicit help from real estate agents when selling and purchasing homes in the state of Georgia. There are three types of agency relationships in Georgia: buyer agency, seller agency and dual agency.
When purchasing a home, it is in the purchaser’s best interest to use a buyer’s agent. Buyer’s agents possess the expertise needed to represent buyers in a real estate transaction and understand the potential pitfalls a purchaser can make. This is typically done without fee for the purchaser.
Why is this the case? When selling property, it is customary for the seller to offer a sales commission that will cover the fees of the buyer’s agent. The real estate industry understands and promotes a purchaser’s rights to have agency representation to assist in a flawless transaction. Most sellers, who have their homes on the open market, have hired an agent to represent their best interests. In order for the seller to have the maximum number of buyers view their home, they offer a commission to the real estate agents representing buyers.
The buyer is further protected by their agent with a Buyer’s Disclosure. According to Georgia real estate law, all buyers must be provided a copy of the disclosure, explained their rights and the agent’s responsibilities. The Buyer’s Disclosure ensures that the purchaser’s best interests are being represented by the real estate agent in all their dealings and pending transactions.
When representing a seller, the real estate professional will engage in a seller agency. The agent will represent the seller’s best interests at all times by providing marketing and negotiation advice for the seller only.
At times, a seller may have an interested party who is not represented by an agent. When that is the case, the real estate agent can provide the buyer with information that is public knowledge but cannot reveal anything that is of a confidential nature. The agent only can reveal information that the seller has instructed unless the seller is requesting the agent to act in a fraudulent manner. The seller’s agent can provide the purchaser with comparable sales of neighborhood transactions, and can perform minor duties, such as, preparing contracts and faxing documents. However, the seller’s agent cannot at anytime offer advice or reveal any confidential information that the seller has instructed them not to share. There are times during a negotiation that the seller may allow confidential items to be shared, but the seller must first give approval to their agent.
Georgia also offers dual agency where the seller and the purchaser can be represented by the same agent. This is an ethical quagmire for most professional agents. The nature of a real estate agent is to represent one party’s best interest in the transaction. It would be difficult—nearly impossible—to truly represent one party fully, without disclosing all the information the other party has supplied. This is why most professional real estate agents steer clear of this type of agency relationship, as do educated buyers.
If you are in the market to purchase a home, Henssler Financial recommends using a buyer’s agent—especially since, in most cases, there is no fee involved. Most homes for sale are listed with a real estate agent, and not using one greatly reduces the number of houses on the market you may see. Buyer’s agents also understand the process, which should facilitate any home purchase.
If you are selling your home, we recommend using a seller agency. A seller who chooses not to list the house with an agent is hoping to save money by not paying commissions. However, the seller will still have to pay a commission to the buyer’s agent. If the seller planned to pass all of the savings onto the buyer, then the seller would have been better off using an agent. A seller will still incur other fees between attorneys, listing fees, collateral and marketing. By using an agent, the seller would have received the same price and would have had the help and expertise of an agent to minimize the risk of underpricing or overpricing their home.
Henssler Financial recommends that you do not consent to dual agency, as your best interests may not be served.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Home
How much can I afford?
Georgia ranks highly in national statistics for mortgage fraud. Because of this, the lending qualifications and restrictions have become very tough. Before you fall in love with a home that is out of your price range, it is beneficial to take time to find out what you can afford by contacting a licensed mortgage agency, such as Main Street Home Loans. Contact Main Street Home Loans at 678.808.2400 to determine exactly how much you qualify for within minutes. Henssler Financial recommends with confidence the services of Main Street Home Loans.
What is more important—Quality of life or quality of the home?
Metro Atlanta has become one of the top 10 nastiest commutes in the nation. Is an hour commute too long, or do you enjoy the time in the car to conduct business and decompress? Make sure you understand traffic patterns prior to purchasing so that when and if you do sell, your home is located in a desirable location to maximize your resale investment.
Where do you want to live?
Do you want to live close to your family or as far from them as possible? Do you need multiple schools or prefer certain school districts? Have you considered access to work, hospitals, community amenities or traffic? Deciding where you want to live will save you a lot of time.
What kind of home do you want and need?
Before you start looking at houses, it is a good idea to determine not only what you want in a house, but more importantly, what you need. This focuses your search and saves valuable time from trudging through houses you would not consider in a million years.
How long do you expect to live in your new home?
Is this the home you are going to raise your children or retire in? Will this be a long-term purchase or a short-term starter home?
What do you not like about where you are living?
Making a list of what you definitely do not want in a home will help you “weed out” homes without wasting time.
It may seem obvious, but take a good look at your lifestyle.
Do you entertain a lot? Do you work from home? Do you like to work in the garden? This will help you identify attributes you should look for in a new home.
For more information on this topic, please contact Henssler Financial at 770-429-9166 or [email protected].