Dangers of Dual Agency on real estate transactions

The dangers of dual agency real estate transactions, and using the same real estate agent to buy your home that is also selling the home is a little more troubling than most home buyers are aware.

It’s common to walk into an Open House, look around, and start talking to the real estate agent listing the home.  If you don’t already have your own agent, but love the home, you may be tempted to just use the agent selling the house.  While completely legal, and while it may seem OK on the surface, it is wrought with possible issues.

The first thing to know is that real estate agents commonly refer to this situation as a ‘hogger’. This simply means they get to keep all of the commission the seller is paying for themselves when they represent both the seller and the buyer. Typically when there is a separate buying and selling agent they split the commissions. On a pretty standard 6% listing fee, the listing agent would keep 3.3% of the commission, and pay 2.7% to the buyers agent. If they can double their pay, an agent might be over  incentivized to close a deal no matter what.

Many buyer think that a dual agent will reduce their commissions, saving them money. While they can do this, it rarely even happens.

But the bigger concern element is that the duty of the agent in this situation is to the seller. They have no duty to the buyer. An example would be that the agent knows the seller is willing to take $10,000 less on the house, but the agent has no duty whatsoever to tell share this confidential information with you just because you are using the same agent.

Also, without your own agent, you have no one advising you if the listing price is even reasonable. If you have your own agent, your agent will generally review similar properties to tell you if this one is priced low, about right, or high. The listing agent will likely defend the listing price as it, meaning you could easily over pay for the home.

TIP: Although you may feel like you have to make the decision whether to accept a dual agent on short notice, don’t be tempted. It’s possible to find a buyer’s agent to step into the transaction and assist you in a matter of hours. Best to always have your own buying agent. Someone fighting for YOU!

If I’ve pre-approved you for your mortgage loan, I’ve worked with hundreds of good real estate agents in the Minneapolis / St Paul area, and can easily get a great one to call you right away.

PROHIBITED BY LAW

A much lesser known, but to me more troubling issue is that when you hire a real estate agent to list your home, and the same company represents the buyer, your agent is prohibited by law to negotiate on your behalf?

WTF?

Yes, its true. It is because of a Minnesota law called ‘Dual Agency’, and companies with hundreds or even thousands of real estate agents end up having many ‘in-house’ transactions. This forces sellers to sacrifice their exclusive representation because even though you have two different agents, they work for the same company.

Before entering into any of these types of dual agency agreements, however, you want to understand the legal implications and how it might affect your ability to get the best possible deal in buying or selling a home. You’ll see dual agency notifications in the piles of paperwork you sign when making an offer, but virtually no one buying a home understands what it means.


Get Pre-Approved Before You Start Looking

Get Pre-Approved Before You Start Looking for a home

Minneapolis, MN: People often make the mistake of starting a home search without knowing what they actually qualify for. Falling in love with a $400,000 home and finding out you qualify for $200,000 can be heartbreaking. Thinking a loan approval will be easy, only to find out you have issues, or don’t qualify for a program you think you do, is another concern.

Virtually no Realtor will show homes to clients who have not been pre-approved, and virtually no seller will accept any offer without a pre-approval letter for this very reason. Being pre-approved gives both you and the seller comfort that final approval for your loan should be fine.

Pre-approval gives you, your agent, and the sellers confidence in knowing can get a loan, and that you are shopping in the correct price range for your income and payment comfort level.

We recommend getting lender pre-approved about 100 days before you would like to move. For example 100 days before the end of your apartment lease. This give you plenty of time to correct any minor issues that may cause loan approval issues, and plenty of time to find a home without just settling because of time concerns.

Finally, understand there are two levels of pre-approval. The more common one is what is known as Loan Officer pre-approval. This is where only your Loan Officer has reviewed your application information, documents, and credit. Generally this is acceptable in the vast majority of cases, but can be problematic when new or inexperienced Loan Officers make mistakes in their assessment.

Certified Underwriter Pre-Approved from Mortgages Unlimited, Inc
Certified Underwriter Pre-Approved from Mortgages Unlimited, Inc

Mortgages Unlimited goes a step beyond, and also offers full Underwriter Pre-approvals, known as our Certified Pre-Approval. This means your application has been completely reviewed by an actual Underwriter, who has given their blessing on your credit, incomes, etc.  This only leaves us to have to finalize your application on the exact home when you find it (purchase agreement, appraisal, and title review).

Certified Pre-Approval  is significantly better than a basic pre-approval, and gives you a distinct upper hand when negotiating on your dream home – especially if you are in a multiple offer situation.

To become pre-approved for a home loan on properties in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or South Dakota, please fill out our secure online application, or call (651) 552-3681 to apply over the phone, or to schedule an in-office appointment.

Get pre-Approved for your home mortgage loan in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota
No Obligation to apply, and see what YOU qualify for.

 


Lack of quality homes for sale causing problems

Minneapolis, MN:  Who would have thought we would be saying this, but strong demand for housing is now running into supply problems, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), and what I see and hear from my mortgage clients everyday.
real1Homes For Sale:
The lack of quality supply in homes for sale, especially in the under $150,000 price range in the Minneapolis / St Paul area if very evident with the number of clients unable to find a home that doesn’t need a lot of repair.  Any home in good condition, and priced right for today’s market is selling very fast, with multiple offers, and within just days of being put on the market. Home buyers need to be pre-approved, and ready to immediately offer full price.
Nationally, signed purchase agreements  in February and NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index slipped 0.4 percent from the previous month.

The Index, an indicator of future home sales, dropped to 104.8 from a revised 105.2 in January, but is still at a recent high, second only to April 2010 when it reached 110.9 shortly before the end a government home buyer tax credit program.  The index was 8.4 percent higher than a year earlier when it was 96.6 and February marked the 22nd month that contract activity increased on an annual basis.

On a regional basis the Index declined 2.5 percent in the Northeast but was 6.8 percent higher than a year earlier at 82.8.  The Midwest was up 0.4 percent month over month to 103.6 and 13.2 percent year over year.  Pending home sales in the South slipped 0.3 percent to an index of 118.8 in February but are 12.1 percent above February 2012.  In the West the index increased 0.1 percent in February to 101.4 but is 0.8 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors expects existing-home sales to rise about 7 percent in 2013 to approximately 5 million sales, which is near the current level of activity.  The volume of home sales appears to be leveling off with the quality inventory problems, and the leveling of the index means little change is likely in the pace of sales over the next couple months.

Because of limited inventory of quality homes,  NAR also expects the median existing home price to increase about 7 percent, while they expect mortgage nterest rates to slowly move up to closer to 4% by the end of the year.


Are you a pop tart agent?

Are you a pop tart Real Estate Agent? Do you instantly jump when a new buyer calls? Stop wasting your time, set proper expectations. Is your buyer really pre-approved for a home mortgage loan? Learn more with Joe Metzler and Dave Harvey of Mortgages Unlimited, and the MN Real Estate Daily Show.

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