What should you expect from your real estate agent?
The recent article: Are more real estate agents misleading buyers? from the NZ Herald caught my eye.
The answer, I am confident, is no but rather those that are not being honest with clients are getting found out as people become better informed as to their rights.
Like any financial transaction it’s vital that our clients on both sides of a property deal are fully informed about their rights and what they can and should expect from their agent.
At Harcourts we offer all our vendors The Harcourts Promise, which is our signed service agreement in which our sales consultants commit to provide five essential services for clients:
• provide a detailed marketing plan
• provide post-inspection feedback
• provide written progress reports
• hold regular marketing review meetings
• present all offers in writing
This is what any good sales consultant should provide as a matter of course for any client. But what else should they be doing? What do you, as a client, have a right to expect?
Probably one of the most important things to remember is that a real estate agent is legally required to act in the best interests of the property vendor and to act in accordance with their instructions – but that should not be at the expense of honesty and transparency when dealing with buyers.
They should never put their buyer or seller under any pressure to accept offers. They should make sure both the vendors and the buyers are kept up to date on any relevant developments and try to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of relevant documents and the process.
This has come up a lot in the debate around meth contamination of properties – an agent cannot withhold or provide inaccurate information about a property. Even though they are working on behalf of the seller they must still treat the buyer fairly and supply them with honest accurate information about the property. That also means that can’t make any claims about a property without being able to provide evidence to substantiate them and they must be honest about the seller’s price expectations.
On the other side of that, an agent must also market the property in line with the price dictated by the vendor. They must also let vendors know if they are receiving any discounts, special deals or even commissions on advertising.
Concerns around conflict of interest are another issue that has come up regularly recently, again around meth testing of properties and buyer due diligence. If any agent has any connection with a supplier involved in the property deal, or with a buyer or seller, they must fully disclose that to all parties affected.