Buyers, Renters, Sellers and Apartment Owners: The purpose of this letter is to promote better understanding of current Fair Housing laws and the ethical obligations of Realtors.
Discrimination in the sale or rental of residential property based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability is prohibited by one or more provisions of federal and state law. In addition, some communities have local laws to supplement those of the federal and state governments. Real estate agents are subject to Fair Housing Laws. If the real estate agent is also a Realtor (a member of a Board of Realtors) he or she is subject to the additional standard of total non-discrimination that is a part of the Realtor Code of Ethics. Violation of the Code can lead to disciplinary action against the Realtor in addition to the penalties under applicable laws. Real estate agents and Realtors are not alone in being subject to the Fair Housing laws. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR REAL ESTATE BUYERS AND SELLERS TO KNOW THAT THEY, TOO, ARE SUBJECT TO MOST PROVISIONS OF FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL FAIR HOUSING LAWS WHETHER OR NOT A REAL ESTATE AGENT OR REALTOR IS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSACTION. IN PARTICULAR, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION BY ANYONE IN THE SALE OR RENTAL OF HOUSING IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW. It is of great importance, Although the sale or rental of real property is a private act, it is subject to Fair Housing laws. Ordinary buyers and sellers, “testers” and regulatory agencies can and do take legal action against parties who do not deal on an equal opportunity basis. We hope this information clarifies our mutual responsibilities in Fair Housing.
Marcia Spencer CEO, Platinum Royal Properties, Inc.
Recent reforms in the disclosure laws and real estate practices around the country have resulted in new options for buyers and sellers. Realtors can take different roles with buyers and sellers.
A seller's agent works with loyalty and fidelity as the seller's advocate and negotiator, and is obligated to disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts that are known about the property.
∑A buyer's agentworks exclusively to negotiate the lowest purchase price and best terms for the buyer. This agent serves the buyer with undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and full disclosure. The agent would know the highest price that the buyer would be willing to offer for a home, but could not disclose that information to the seller.
A dual agent can work for both the buyer and the seller by written, informed consent of both parties and has fiduciary obligations to both. The agent can only disclose to one party what the other party allows to be revealed.
Adesignated agent-In a Dual Agency situation, this option permits an agent of the seller to continue to represent and advocate for the seller, and it also permits an agent of the buyer to continue to represent and advocate for the buyer. The company remains a dual agent, however, and can offer no assistance.
WHY USE A REALTOR:
Buying a home
It's probably the biggest investment you'll ever make, with long-term financial ramifications. It calls for many informed decisions and for good advice from a true real estate professional - your local REALTOR.
1.Want to figure out your estimated costs of purchasing that dream home?
2.Do you know what to look for when checking out a home you're interested in?
When buying a home, hereís what you can learn from a REALTORís knowledge and skill:
∑A REALTOR helps you determine how much home you can actually afford. Often a REALTOR can suggest additional ways to accrue the down payment and explain alternative financing methods
A REALTOR can help you work out a realistic idea of the home best suited to your needs - size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation and shopping and other public facilities.
∑A REALTOR has access to listings of available homes, can evaluate them in terms of your needs and affordability, and doesnít waste your time on unsuitable homes.
∑A REALTOR can often suggest simple, imaginative changes that could make a home more suitable for you and improve its utility and value.
∑A REALTOR can supply information on real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and may be aware of proposed zoning changes that could affect your decision to buy.
∑A REALTOR can usually research your housing needs in advance through a Multiple Listing Service - even if you are relocating in another city.
∑A REALTOR has no emotional ties to the homes, can be objective about them and can point out advantages and disadvantages while answering your questions.
∑If a REALTOR is the sellerís agent, he or she acts as a liaison between you and the seller to present offers and counter-offers until an agreement is reached.
∑If a REALTOR is the buyerís agent, he or she represents you, the buyer, in the transaction. They will negotiate the most favorable price and terms on your behalf.
∑A REALTOR can tell you if local law requires an attorney at closing and can provide you with a list to choose from if you donít have one.
∑A REALTOR usually knows the local money market and can tell you about financing. A REALTOR can also tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when you apply for a loan.
∑A REALTOR can help familiarize you with the closing process by explaining it all in advance.
∑A REALTOR is part of a network of professional colleagues, such as appraisers, home inspectors, mortgage lenders, contractors and insurance agents - through which you may be more completely served.
∑A REALTOR shows you only those homes best suited to your needs - size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation, shopping and other public facilities.
Selling a Home
Itís a complex transaction that takes time, effort and expertise. It takes a real estate professional - your local REALTOR.
1.Want to estimate your proceeds from selling your home?
2.Is your house ready to show?
Here's how a REALTOR can help you sell your home:
∑A REALTOR knows the current real estate market and can help you set a realistic competitive price.
∑A REALTOR is familiar with the local home loan market, knows if seller assistance is advisable and can help you decide the type of financing thatís best to expedite your sale.
∑A REALTOR knows how to figure the approximate net proceeds from your sale, based on types of loans, your outstanding loan balance and closing costs.
∑A REALTOR knows how to add sales appeal to your home at low or moderate cost.
∑A REALTOR knows where to find prospective buyers. Most homebuyers prefer to work with a real estate agent and serious prospects are "qualified" as to their affordable price range before they are shown through your home.
∑A REALTOR can tap an even larger market, if necessary, through referrals and marketing techniques.
∑A REALTOR frees you from the problems associated with showing your home. The REALTOR handles all phone inquiries, makes appointments, does the actual showing and follows up. Your time is your own and your home is not exposed to anyone who has not been pre-qualified.
∑A REALTOR is a skilled salesperson who knows how to merchandise your home effectively.
∑A REALTOR maintains objectivity in responding to possible criticisms by the buyer and in presenting offers and counter-offers until an agreement is reached.
∑A REALTOR knows how to help the buyer meet local financing requirements and go about obtaining a mortgage loan.
∑A REALTOR can familiarize you with the closing procedures by explaining them all in advance.
∑A REALTOR usually attends the closing with you.
REALTORS do more than you may think:As your agent, a REALTOR works for you and with you throughout the home selling process. It is the business of a REALTOR to help you sell your home with minimum delay, and to help you realize every dollar itís worth.
Expect the commitment, integrity and professionalism that this implies. Also expect this agent to work hard on your behalf. Your REALTOR:
knows the local housing market and can help you set a fair market price. Often a REALTOR can advise when seller financing might be in your best interest.
is knowledgeable of current financing methods that allow prospects to become homeowners. As such, this real estate professional serves the buyer in order to better serve you.
by listing your home in a Multiple Listing Service, can work with many other REALTORS to assure you a far wider range of prospective buyers.
frees you from the time, effort and not-so-obvious details involving the sale of your home. With so many resources available, a REALTOR may be able to help you come out with the same amount of dollars or more than your could command by selling it yourself.
does a lot of homework back at the office in order to sell your home. The home is listed, ads are placed, telephone inquiries are handled and appointments for showings are arranged with your convenience in mind.
will initiate, carry out and follow through on every phase of the important and complex home selling transaction.
When showing your home:A REALTOR is a skilled sales person who knows how to merchandise your home. This professional maintains objectivity in responding to buyer objections and in presenting offers and counter-offers until and agreement is reached.
Your REALTOR: will advise prospects of all aspects and conditions of your home, even faults that you donít intend to correct. This protects you from later objections, and if a buyer likes everything else, one objection need not be a serious drawback. Your forthrightness will be appreciated.
can offer you many suggestions, hints and tips on preparing your home so it looks its best when being shown to a buyer.
is primarily interested in bringing together buyer and seller to negotiate an agreement satisfactory to both parties. Before the first showing and beyond the final sale, youíll get the know-how and service you look for in a real estate professional who knows how to sell your home.
Make your home as light, airy and spacious as possible. Draw back drapes. Turn on a few extra lights. Keep pets out of the way. Soft background music can contribute to a relaxed mood, but a loud radio or TV, like pets, will tend to be distracting. Fresh bread or cookies baking in the oven help create a "homey" atmosphere. Let your broker work for you. This real estate professional can answer questions on price, terms, possession, etc., and maintain objectivity in resolving to buyer objections.