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What every Massachusetts seller should know

There are very few real estate agencies that will represent ONLY your interests. If a real estate agency offers both buyer brokerage and lists property, chances are that their agreement includes language about either party consenting to "dual agency" or "designated agency". 

  • "Dual Agency" is another term for reduced service and representation, where neither party gets full representation, while "your" real estate agency gets paid on both the selling and buying "sides" of your sale.

    (If law firms practiced "Dual Agency", then the same firm would represent opposing sides in a transaction, which is considered unethical by the legal community. Why should real estate be any different?)

  • "Designated Agency" is a form of "Dual Agency".

  • Real estate offices that represent both Buyers and Sellers in the same transaction have a conflict of interest when their buyers purchase from their sellers under "dual agency" or "designated agency".  If anything goes wrong in the transaction and the office manager or Broker becomes involved, it would be hard for either party to get objective, unbiased advice when both "sides" of the commission are at stake.

    - In some cases, if you list with an office that practices "dual agency" or "designated agency", it is possible that your agent could be the only agent in the office representing your interests.  All of the other agents could be representing their own buyers when negotiating for your property.

  • ALL Realtor MLS (Multiple Listing Service) participants are required to enter their listings into Multiple Listing for other participants to share within one business day of taking the listing. Therefore, small and large offices all have the same marketing power with other agents, if they choose to use it.

  • Some agencies choose to cooperate fully with all other agencies that might have buyers for your property, while others choose not to cooperate fully with all other agencies.

  • The success of your transaction depends primarily on the experience and integrity of the Agent that you choose to represent you and your agent's willingness to make sure that you get complete exposure to the open market to get you the best price for your property.

  • The ONLY way to know that you've put the most money possible in your pocket from the sale is to be sure that your real estate agent is not going to dilute your interests by representing someone else in the same transaction or, in the case of property for development or investment, sell your property to one of their repeat buyers.

    (If we already have a buyer-client for your property, we will not list it! We will ONLY represent the buyer-client. If we list your property, we will ONLY represent you!)

  • There are only two types of real estate offices that can guarantee that you will not have a conflict of interest when you sell your property. The first is an office that ONLY lists property and does not represent buyers. The second is an office that practices "single agency" and will not "represent" both a buyer and seller in the same transaction.

    (If a "single agency" office lists a property, they represent ONLY the seller's interest. In that case, a buyer would represent herself or work with a buyer's agent from another office.)

  • To complicate things further, if an agent other than your agent brings you a buyer that is working with them as a customer, YOU and you agent are legally responsible for whatever that agent says on your behalf under the "vicarious liability" provision in Massachusetts, however, "vicarious liability" does not apply to buyer's agents.

  • Most Realtors send automated emails with new listings to their buyers daily, therefore, cooperative marketing agreements between Realtors are essential to getting you the most exposure for your property.
  • Real estate is no longer local. The majority of buyers turn to the Internet for real estate listings even before they look in the local papers. Therefore, comprehensive coverage on key real estate sites is critical to properly marketing your property in the Internet age.

  • Listing your property on an agent's local web site typically won't increase your chances of selling the property, unless their site ranks very high with the search engines, but the proper use of the Internet for your listing will. (We'd be happy to explain the details about this personally.)

  • Getting the most exposure in the right media will result in the highest price for your home. In the end, it all comes down to your agent's and agency's competence, integrity, professionalism, and experience.

Marketing trends and real estate laws change often, however, most people don't sell real estate very often. Therefore, we believe that there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to selling your home. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about real estate, no matter how big or how small.

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