Author: Richard J. Larose Jr. Realtor at WebPro Realty, LLC

Are You a Customer or a Client?

Are You a Customer or a Client?

This article pertains to Florida real estate law and may or may not apply to your respective state.

I truly believe all homeowners and home-buyers expect confidentiality, obedience, loyalty and full disclosure when depending on a brokerage for their real estate needs. What a lot of people don’t know is that the brokerage is actually not required by law to demonstrate these four duties. That is, until a “Single Agent Notice” form has been signed by the buyer or seller.

This legal document binds the buyer or seller and the brokerage together, creating a special relationship recognized under Florida real estate law called “Single Agency.” At this point, the buyer or seller transitions from being a customer to the legal principal, or client. The brokerage then becomes an extension of the buyer or seller as a result.

Many folks unknowingly (but not unreasonably) enter into what is known as a “Transaction Broker” relationship instead, where their best interests may or may not come before that of the brokerage’s. If no mention is ever made concerning the relationships available, then there is also no question as to what sort of relationship has been created by default. In cases like these, a “Transaction Broker” relationship has been established [475.278 (1)(b)F.S.] and the buyer or seller is presumed a customer.

Many brokerages hold relationships with their customers very dearly, regardless. I can only imagine that the type of relationship created would not impact whether an agent would be working in a customer’s best interest or not. However, at the end of the day, no matter the intentions, the buyer or seller are still only customers… sort of like at Walmart.

In all fairness, there are situations where a “Transaction Broker” relationship is the best feasible option available. For example, a particular brokerage lists your home for sale, and they also bring you the buyer. In cases like these, it does not necessarily mean they will not have your best interest at heart. You are still benefiting from the sale, but they do not legally owe you the confidentiality, obedience, loyalty and full disclosure that would otherwise be due in a “Single Agency” relationship. In other words, they are working with two parties instead of just one, and it isn’t possible for them to honestly represent both parties at the same time.

It seems that the law has been written and is being practiced so that many who would otherwise desire to be represented will probably never actually receive representation. Technically speaking, you do not and cannot receive representation as a customer. Only a client is entitled to receive representation along with the four “extra” duties listed above.

bulldog-puppy-dog-pet  Now I began by mentioning a “special” relationship, but what comes to mind? I think the best example would be that of a dog and it’s owner. Referring back to the values in the first paragraph, dogs can be both obedient and loyal. But what if man’s best friend could talk? I think they might also provide us with the other two duties, namely, confidentiality and full disclosure.

To sum it up, if you are a homeowner or home-buyer in the state of Florida and want to guarantee by law that a real estate brokerage (and subsequently any Realtor® or agent) is putting your interests first, you can ask to be presented with one of these: Single Agent Notice

If you would like to learn more, I have provided a link to the Florida Legislature’s website which lists all brokerage relationships along with their corresponding duties.

“Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature”
No Brokerage Relationship Notice
Single Agent Notice w/ Consent To Transition To Transaction Broker


Renting VS. Buying

     Either way, you are paying a mortgage. Let’s look at a few of the benefits that home ownership has to offer .2016-top-10-metro-areas-where-renters-can-afford-to-buy-infographic-08-25-2016-600w-797h

     One of the pros of home ownership is that mortgage rates can be fixed and stable over a given period of time, were as rent payments may very well rise and do so with short notice.

     Another plus lies in the tax benefits. Just consider the mortgage interest deduction, point deductions for home buyers, property tax and the mortgage insurance premium deduction. On the other hand, you cannot deduct rent payments from your federal tax return.

     Buying a home can be an incredible investment, where you are the one who turns an incredible profit. However, as a renter you are ensuring someone else turns a profit. (Ouch!)

Chart Courtesy of Ginnie Mae

Some believe that renting is more convenient than buying because, “You don’t have to pay for repairs.” However, the price of repairs are included in the monthly rent, along with the landlord’s cash flow profits. (Ouch, again!)

    Perhaps most importantly is the freedom and privacy that comes with home ownership! You may decorate and remodel however you choose.

Should You Try to Sell Your Home Without a Realtor®?

Should you try to sell your home without a Realtor®?

Research conducted in 2016 by the National Association of REALTORS® showed that:

-88% of buyers recently purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker.
-88% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others.
-Only 8% of recent home sales were For Sale by Owner sales during this year.
-FSBOs typically sell for less than the selling price of other homes; FSBO homes sold at a median of $185,000 last year, significantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $245,000.
-96% of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder’s agent.

It’s clear to see why utilizing a Realtor® is an invaluable part of the buying and selling process, not to mention the paperwork, negotiations to be made with numerous parties and contract law involved.

Call me today, and I will help you to make your real estate goals a reality!


Are You Thinking of Selling Your Home or Buying a New One?

Thinking of selling your home or buying a new one? Contact me today, and I will ensure that you reach your real estate goals, whatever they may be!

Ask me about our FREE buyer’s class!


Preparing Your Home for Sale in Lakeland, FL

     When selling your home, it must be in top showing condition. Minor improvements such as replacing lamp shades and painting each room a clean neutral color will make an age of difference! First impressions are crucial, and we want to show your home to as many potential buyers as possible.

     Keep the lawn cut, pull any weeds and power wash the driveway if needed. Inside, remove any extra furniture which can make a room feel smaller. Clean all windows, inside and out. Eliminate all odors, as potential buyers will notice them. Remove clutter on counters, closet shelves and anywhere else. Put bright light bulbs in every socket, and repair any leaks or loose door knobs.

     When preparing to leave for the day, be sure your home will display to others why you loved it in the first place. Keep laundry and dishes put away, make the beds, take out the trash and run the vacuum. Wipe down the counters, sinks and other surfaces as well.

     During showings, leave your home and bring your pets along if possible. This makes buyers most comfortable, and we want them to take their time and ask questions. These few things may seem small, but can be the difference between for sale and sold. I will assist you with the staging and showing process ensuring that you do sell, and at the price you need.