Featured home: 27-102 Lali Place, Hilo 96720
In most real estate sales, there’s a buyer’s agent and an agent who represents the seller. While there are circumstances in East Hawai`i when a single agent represents both parties, such situations are not the norm.
REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. Our REALTOR® Code of Ethics is the value proposition that sets us apart from non-REALTOR® agents. In fact, the public may not realize that agents who do not subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics cannot even be called REALTORs®. Our code is a document upon which we pledge to abide by the highest ethical standards.
One provision of our Code of Ethics requires us to work under “written agreement” with those we represent. While we’re conditioned to obtain a written listing agreement with the seller, we often forget to do the same with our buyer clients. None-the-less, we assume an agency relationship and head out to show property without so much as an initial interview with a prospective buyer.
It’s especially disconcerting when a buyer’s “agent” requests a seller’s agent to show “their” buyer a listing. It’s rather like asking a defendant to show up to court without their attorney. Even as a dual agent (representing both buyer and seller), I’m strictly limited regarding the functions I can perform for buyer and seller, but at least I’m working under specific guidelines.
Standing By Our Buyers
Trying to determine duties with an unrepresented buyer is virtually impossible. While I’m very happy to meet a buyer and their agent at my listing, a seller’s agent should never be asked to meet another agent’s buyer. After all, how is an agent who isn’t there to represent their buyer going to write a contract without ever seeing the property? And who is to say that we haven’t become an “accidental dual agent.” COVID has certainly complicated this process, but it’s still vitally important that representation is clear from the get-go.
So, whether buying or selling, it is simple to see the problem when the issue of representation is added to the showing mix! Inventory is extremely tight for buyers, so if you’re serious about seeing a listing, your agent should accompany you on a showing today. Because, depending where it is, it could be gone tomorrow.