So it’s a new year, and there are lots of new changes to real estate law in South Carolina. I can’t begin to cover them all in a blog, but wanted you to be particularly aware that the previous Agency Disclosure that wasn’t required to be signed, now does require acknowledgment, aka signature(s). It is still not a contract, nor does it obligate you to any one firm or agent. It is simply a required disclosure.
Why the change? Well, consumers now have the option to remain “customers” in a transaction, and not sign a exclusive agency agreement obligating them to a commitment to a brokerage and agent. The agent would simply facilitate the transaction. All parties still have a responsibility to be honest and ethical divulging known material facts, but would not afford the consumer with client level of services including offering advice, negotiating on your behalf, protecting confidentiality, nor be your advocate. You would essentially be representing yourself with the agent simply completing the paperwork to make the deal happen. The agent does NOT represent you.
It is my recommendation that obtaining an exclusive right to sell or buyers agency contract is always still in the consumers’ best interest as it does provide client level duties of: “obedience, loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality, accounting, and reasonable skill and care.” It also allows an agent to provide advocacy, negotiation including advising you on price, terms and inspections, and allows the agent to promote your best interests. Aren’t those the reasons you solicit an agent in the first place?
This disclosure also includes explanations on Single, Dual and Designated Agency which most consumers have become familiar with in past disclosures. It’s still a good idea to read all documents in a real estate transaction thoroughly so you understand.
This new disclosure is required by law for all agents to present to consumers at “first substantive contact.” ‘Substantive contact’ means contact in which a discussion or dialogue between the consumer and the associated licensee moves from casual introductory talk to a meaningful conversation regarding the selling or buying motives or objectives of the seller or buyer, financial qualifications, and other confidential information that if disclosed could harm the consumer’s bargaining position.
The purpose of this blog post is to keep consumers informed of the changes in relationships in real estate. Working with a real estate agent that understands and can explain agency relationships should be a high priority in your search for a real estate agent. It’s important that you understand your options.
I look forward to a prosperous 2017 together.