In the beginning of any real estate transaction in Ohio, one of the first documents you will sign upon selecting representation from a real estate agent is the state required "Disclosure of Agency Relationship." This document outlines your choices for representation -- or agency -- by a real estate licensee.
Even if he or she was instrumental in finding the right home for a buyer, his or her "fiduciary responsibility" (or obligation of allegiance) always was with the seller not so long ago. That was then, this is now.
Since the passage of Ohio House Bill 354 in 1996, the options of representation given to potential homebuyers and sellers have expanded greatly. In the past few years, buyer’s agency has become a popular option available to the home buying public.
As defined by the above-mentioned disclosure form, "In [a buyer’s agency] relationship, a buyer’s agent and the brokerage owe the buyer the duties of loyalty, obedience, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable skill and care in performing their duties and any other duties contained in an agency agreement. The agent and brokerage are required to act solely on behalf of the buyer’s interests to seek the best price and terms for the buyer. Finally, a buyer’s agent and brokerage also have a duty to disclose to the buyer all material information obtained from the seller or from any other source."
What does all of this means to you, the homebuyer? As previously noted, several years ago, the real estate agent you were working with would have considered himself or herself a subagent for the seller. As such, he or she had the duty to inform the seller of any pertinent information he or she had concerning the sale (not representing a home buyer).
If the agent had been a buyer’s agent, working for you and your best interests, then he or she would have no duty to disclose your strategy and, in fact, would offer advice on how to further sweeten the deal in your favor.
Other ways that the buyer’s agent can assist the buyer in getting the best possible deal includes such suggested things as negotiating for a smaller earnest money deposit, for some or all closing costs to be paid by the seller, or for other contract terms most favorable to the buyer. Buyer’s agent assistance also may include helping the buyer obtain legal assistance to review proposed contracts or structural inspectors to examine the property.
The types of services buyer’s agents offer typically are not different from those provided by seller’s agents -- they are just provided from a different perspective.
We are here for you and want you to understand how we will help you. Serving the community more than 23 years we enjoy managing this major event for you and will help keep details in order for you.
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Note: For legal advise please see your real estate attorney. This article is for information purposes only.
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