Buyer Agency in the Wisconsin Rapids Area
For home buyers in the market for Wisconsin Rapids real estate, there are several options for handling your home purchase. Wisconsin real estate agents are highly skilled at helping people find homes, and they often take more involved roles in the home buying process.
In Wisconsin, a real estate buyer can choose to work with either a selling agent (sometimes also referred to as a subagent or a co-broke agent) or a buyer's agent. Either way, your agent is a specially trained professional, licensed by the State of Wisconsin, who is obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction fairly.
How are Selling agents and Buyer's agents different?
The first thing to remember is that Wisconsin law does not allow real estate agents to be adversarial toward the seller or the buyer. They are legally required to treat all parties fairly.
If you work with a selling agent and there is no contract between you and the agent, you are not the agent's client. You will, however, receive a Broker Disclosure to Customers before the agent may negotiate on your behalf. That disclosure statement lists the fair treatment duties the selling agent owes to you, and indicates that the selling agent is either an agent of the seller or an agent of the listing broker(subagency). The selling agent will show you properties you are interested in seeing, get more information about properties of interest, and draft the purchase contract as you direct. The selling agent must provide you with information about any known or potential property defects, and help you identify situations when you should consult a professional, such as a home inspector or building contractor, to help you evaluate the condition of the property, or an attorney or accountant to give you legal or tax advice.
If you work with a buyer's agent, you and the buyer's agent will sign a WB-36 Buyer Agency Agreement, which includes mandatory Broker Disclosure to Clients language. This disclosure lists the fair treatment duties owed by all agents to all parties and the duties the agent owes to you as the client. You are the buyer's agent's client and the buyer's agent receives a fee when you find a property and negotiate a purchase contract in accordance with your buyer agency agreement. You have the right to negotiate the fee with the buyer's agent. You may authorize payment of the fee in whole or in part by the listing broker or the seller whenever possible in a given transaction, but you generally are responsible to pay any fee not paid in this manner. A buyer's agent helps you negotiate for the beneficial contract terms and provides valuable information and advice to you throughout the transaction. A buyer's agent owes you the fair treatment duties owed to all parties, plus the higher level of client fiduciary duties.
What fiduciary duties does a buyer's agent owe to me as the client in addition to the fair treatment duties owed to all parties?
1. Loyalty. A buyer's agent must loyally represent you, avoid conflicts of interest with you, and put your best interests ahead of the interests of any party in the transaction.
2. Information and Advice. A buyer's agent must, upon your request, provide information and advice about real estate matters that are material to your transaction.
3. Disclosure of Material Information. A buyer's agent is obligated to disclose to you all information that is material to the transaction and that you don't already know and cannot discover through reasonably vigilant observation. A material fact is one that a reasonable person might feel is important in choosing a course of action. Examples of material information include:
- The existence of other offers.
- The reason the seller is selling, provided the seller permits this information to be shared with others and does not require it to be kept confidential.
4. Obedience. The buyer's agent must carry out the obligations stated in the WB-36 Buyer Agency Agreement and must obey all of your lawful orders that relate to the agent's duties as stated in that contract. For example, the agent must order a survey or appraisal on your behalf if you ask him or her to do so, provided this function lies within the scope of the buyer agency contract. However, an agent may not violate the law even if you ask the agent to do this. For example, the agent may not show you only properties that are not owned by minority sellers.
5. Negotiation. The agent is required to act as an intermediary by facilitating or participating in communications between you and the other parties to a transaction, completing offers or other forms as you request, or presenting the proposals of other parties to you and giving you a general explanation of the proposal's provisions. You may waive (in writing) the duty to negotiate in part or in full.
What are the advantages of working with a buyer's agent?
Despite what some people may think, a buyer's agent doesn't rush in and browbeat the seller into submission. The buyer's agent represents the interests of the buyer, but also must know how to work constructively with the listing agent so that the parties are satisfied with the transaction: the seller sells and the buyer buys. Acting in an adversarial way is not the most effective way to represent a buyer.
A buyer's agent can:
- Give a negative opinion or critique of a seller's property beyond just disclosing defects.
- Recommend or suggest an offering price or give an opinion about whether a particular house is priced too high or too low.
- Structure the offer and draft offer provisions with the buyer's best interest in mind.
- Recommend and assist the buyer with negotiation strategies for the best price and beneficial terms.
- Research and disclose information about a property's history, title and liens so the buyer can make a better-informed decision. The amount of optional investigation and research that a buyer's agent may do for a buyer will vary from agent to agent.
- Give information and advice within the scope of the agent's expertise as a licensed real estate agent.
What is Multiple Representation?
Multiple representation exists when one real estate company represents both the seller and the buyer as clients in the same transaction. That means the seller signed a listing contract and the buyer signed agency agreement with agents from the same company. Multiple representation does not apply to buyers who are customers, only to buyers who are clients.
There are two types of multiple representation, one with designated agency and one without designated agency. A client may consent to either type of multiple representation, or none at all.
Multiple Representation With Designated Agency
All parties in a transaction must consent to designated agency in writing before it may be implemented, and any or all of the parties may thereafter withdraw consent, in writing, at any time. In this relationship, the broker or company may assign or designate one agent to represent the seller as a seller's agent, and one agent to represent the buyer as a buyer's agent (these agents will likely be the agents already working with the seller and the buyer). Each agent will provide full negotiation services to the respective client. Each designated agent may provide advice and opinions to assist the client he or she is negotiating for, even if that advice and those opinions favor the interests of that client over the interests of the broker's other client in the transaction.
Multiple Representation Without Designated Agency
In a multiple representation without designated agency, one real estate agent or brokerage company represents both the seller and the buyer as clients in the same transaction, but without designated agency. The company and its agents represent both clients but cannot put the interests of one client ahead of the interests of the other client in the transaction. Because the buyer and seller will likely have opposing interests at some point, it is impossible for the agent or company to provide the fullest level of client services at all times. Accordingly, the agent or company takes on a neutral role as middleman during negotiations.
Buyer agency simplifies the home purchasing process for the buyer, the seller, and the realtor, and it settles the home buyer into his or her new home quickly and with ease. To find out more about buyer agency and how it helps home buyers find the best Wisconsin Rapids real estate, contact Coldwell Banker-Siewert, Realtors today.
Source: ©Wisconsin Realtors Association