Here’s a question that is not asked nearly enough. What duties and obligations can I expect from my real estate agent in Florida? Note that this question is not what can I expect from my Realtor because as a Realtor we adhere to the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics are the rules but Agency is the law.
There are a few instances to watch what you say to the Broker/Agent. The big one is when you go with your agent to view a property and the listing agent (the agent for the Owner) is there do not say anything in front of them which would affect your ability to negotiate. This is because the limited confidentialty only applies if the the other party does not have their own agent. In this scenario both parties (Buyer and Seller) have an agent representing them and thus if you say: “Well I pay 400k for this house.” And then offer 350k, the agent representing the other party is obligated to tell them that you said you would pay 400k. So remember don’t say anything while you’re in front of the other agent.
The other one is when you are looking to buy a new home directly from the builder. These are typically licensed agents and many times they also Realtors (but not always so they may not adher to the Code Of Ethics) and they are in a Single Agency Relationship with the Owner of the community. The sales people at Toll Brothers, Lennar or where ever that work at the sales center on site are there representing the interests of the developer and NOT YOURS. DO NOT TELL THEM ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR BARGAINING POSITION.
A few years ago this all changed. Today there is an assumption (except as noted above and few other instances listed below) on the part of the consumer and the agent that there is a Transaction Brokerage Relationship between the two parties unless and until another Agency Relationship is established in writing.
TRANSACTION BROKER RELATIONSHIP—A transaction broker provides a limited form of representation to a buyer, a seller, or both in a real estate transaction but does not represent either in a fiduciary capacity or as a single agent. The duties of the real estate licensee in this limited form of representation include the following:
Most agencies use this form of representation exclusivly because there is no fiduciary relationship and thus one party can not be held accountable for the action or inaction of the other party. However there are instances where there is a Single Agency relationship between the Broker and the either the Buyer or the Seller. Never Both.
SINGLE AGENT RELATIONSHIP—The duties of a real estate licensee owed to a buyer or seller who engages the real estate licensee as a single agent include the following:
So, there are a few exceptions to discuss but generally, the real estate disclosure requirements of this section do not apply when a licensee knows that the potential seller or buyer is represented by a single agent or a transaction broker; or when an owner is selling new residential units built by the owner and the circumstances or setting should reasonably inform the potential buyer that the owner’s employee or single agent is acting on behalf of the owner, whether because of the location of the sales office or because of office signage or placards or identification badges worn by the owner’s employee or single agent.