Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Agent Fiduciary Responsibility

The agent told me the Seller’s were broke and had to sell…can they do that?

It depends on what the agent’s relationship with the Seller is. If it is the Listing Agent then they may not say, or imply, anything of the sort without your permission. When a Seller signs a contract with an agent they form what is known as a fiduciary relationship. Webster defines fiduciary as “a: held or founded in trust or confidence b: holding in trust c: depending on public confidence for value or currency”. Compromising the Seller’s position by disclosing a negotiation weakness is a serious breach of trust or confidence, the fiduciary relationship, the essence of the contract relationship between the parties.

Further, one of the listing documents required by Nevada State law is Duties Owed by a Nevada Real Estate Licensee. The language in that document includes the following: A Nevada real estate licensee shall: 2. Not disclose, except the licensee’s broker, confidential information relating to a client for 1 year after the revocation or termination of the brokerage agreement unless licensee is required to do so by court order or the client gives written permission. 3. Promote the interest of the client by: a. Seeking a sale…at the price and terms stated in the brokerage agreement or at a price acceptable to the client. C. Disclosing to the client material facts of which the licensee has knowledge concerning the real estate transaction.

The Listing Agent can only talk about the price and terms the Seller has agreed to in the Listing Agreement, or any subsequent modifications thereof. Conversely, the Selling Agent, if other than the Listing Agent, actually has an obligation to tell a prospective Buyer anything they know or can learn about the Seller’s situation. It is common for a Selling Agent to ask the Listing Agent questions that they can’t answer without the Seller’s permission. Sadly, many respond with too much self-serving candor to the detriment of those they have contracted to serve.

Our Advice: If an agent would compromise you in one area, price, how well are they negotiating on your behalf in the many other aspects of the transaction such as: repairs to be completed, move out date, personal property included in the sale, etc. Such an agent has violated not just the law, but any moral and ethical standard of decency. If you know that you are in such a situation, you should demand an immediate cancellation of the listing contract so you can hire an agent that will work for you without compromise. If the agent won’t cancel then consider a complaint to the Board of Realtors and/or the Division of Real Estate. You should not be trapped by an unscrupulous agent that is working against you, not for you.

Good real estate agents are very valuable … especially if you have financial or other difficulties. What is a good agent? A good place to start is honesty and integrity. Fortunately, in the Carson Valley you will find that most agents possess those qualities.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, carsonvalleyland.com, 775-781- 5472.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Herding Displaced Ducks!

Traffic was stopped while ducks were herded across the road … what’s with that?

“That” is what makes the Carson Valley what it is. People not just loving the astounding views so predominant in the Valley, but also in love with it’s entire natural ambience, experience and traditions. Wildlife abounds in the Valley as evidenced by a cursory look around while motoring around. On a given day you’ll see deer, coyotes … we even saw a bobcat a month or so ago! In the Valley in a meadow! Wildlife has its troubles with the encroachment of mankind, but its wary nature helps it to survive. Contrast that with domestic animals that rely on man for their food, shelter and protection and you’ll understand what was with the duck herding.

It was probably us that you saw the other day as we were trying to save our non-flying ducks from getting run over. A neighbor called and told us two of our ducks had been hit and the others crossed the road. Another neighbor was there trying to keep the cars from the ducks when we arrived. While helping us she said that the cars wouldn’t stop as the ducks innocently went where they had never been – outside the fence and up on the road. Two were run over … smashed. While walking by the road we found … all by itself … a heart. Though a small duck heart … it was certainly more heart than the unbraking drivers exhibited in their zeal to arrive somewhere.

Our neighbor shared with us that cars don’t even stop now when they are moving their cattle across the highway from field to field, an essential component of responsible ranching, rotational grazing. What ever happened to stopping and enjoying a simple cattle drive? It isn’t a daily occurrence and is certainly worth the few minutes of delay in your day as you delight in the scampering of the calves, the nervosa of their mothers monitoring their moves, excited nipping of the herding dogs, and the calm performance of the horses and their cowboy partners. Enjoy the moment, and take time to smell the bovines … you’ll live longer.

Our Advice: New to the Valley? Don’t speed up when someone is rounding up their wayward critters – give them a hand. Whether herding a loose steer, or a gaggle of displaced ducks, it is easier with cooperation. You can help stop the traffic, or at least make sure you stop yourself. If you can, get positioned to help manipulate the animal into moving in the right direction. Enjoy the experience – it is a part of the Valley heritage and way of life. You can do your part – for the animal owner, the animals, and yourself. Let’s preserve a way of life by our actions, not rhetoric. You could be honking, like the school bus driver did to us, when you see people in office attire climbing over a fence chasing waddling ducks – the shared laughter brightened our day and surely would brighten yours if you saw and participated in such a scene.

Our ducks are back in their pen and will remain there until we can accomplish some fence management … mending. Next time you see a walking duck … take heart and help them get where they are going. You will arrive where you are going a happier person for it. Thank you for helping make the Valley the wonderful place it is to live.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs … Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781- 5472.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Emotion in Real Estate

The Sellers are making me mad…but I want to buy their house. What should I do?

Emotions are prevalent in real estate…very prevalent. It is understandable considering the home purchase or sale is likely the biggest financial undertaking the parties have ever done. Buyers recognize that they will live with their choice for many years and are anxious to do the right thing. Sellers have a reason for selling and are anxious to get on with their life. With both parties having such “anxiety”, it is naturally human to experience emotion.

Emotion in the negotiations almost always comes down to money, or how people perceive they are being treated. When you understand that value is “what a willing buyer will pay and a willing seller will sell for” you will realize that it takes both of you achieving your objective to have an agreement. Without agreement, if you aren’t willing to adjust your position or mindset, you won’t likely come to terms. If that is the case, understand it and move on, but don’t go away mad or you will be buying the next house with an angry mindset. Ever strike up a relationship on the rebound? This time is just like that time.

You can keep emotion to a minimum by not letting it get to be only about money. Is it priced right…or not? What are the other reasons you would make, or accept, an offer on a given property? Time- a quick close can often buy a price down if it works for the Seller. Conversely, a long close, i.e.- lease option, can get a higher price. Are the property’s amenities being properly appreciated and valued … by both parties? Location, size, condition, neighborhood, views, etc. Is the property pristine, a “veritable cream puff”, or is it “a real bowser” and you have, or want, to accept it as is? There are as many intangible aspects to a real estate transaction as there are tangibles. Assessing every aspect is tedious, sometimes emotional, and important to achieving your objective.

Our Advice: Don’t let emotions control your purchase. Love the home if you are a buyer, but don’t fall in love with it. If you do you will be attached to the outcome and your agent won’t be able to negotiate to your best interest. When you feel emotion during negotiations consider why, and enjoy the experience. Be aware that too much exposed emotion in the transaction can result in paying too much, selling too low, or not achieving your objective if emotion drives your decisions. Have compassion for the other party’s position. Don’t let it become personal. Until they come to terms, Buyers and Sellers have polarized goals. Understand that while you and your agents advocate for your goal… and don’t get mad. After an agreement is reached then both parties have a common goal … the close of escrow … and will work together in their respective roles to achieve it.

Your seasoned agent should help you make good decisions despite the emotional attachment you have for a property provided she keeps her emotions in check. As you’ve read here before, if an agent is more attached to their outcome of a transaction, their commission, than you are the transaction will experience difficulties.

When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs … Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472.