Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Nevada Real Estate Legislative Changes

We wrote an offer and our agent negotiated directly with the Seller without their agent.

Strange as it may seem, that is now legal if the right forms were signed by the Seller. Effective July 1, 2007, Sellers and their broker can sign a form authorizing an agent representing a Buyer to negotiate directly with the Seller, and a form waiving the right of a Listing agent to present offers to their Sellers. The obvious question is, why would a Seller hire an agent and not have them represent them? This new law is in response to a new breed of agents. There are agents that will charge a very nominal fee to put your property in the Multiple Listing Service … and that is all. They don’t show the property, represent the property, negotiate the sale, or deal with any of the escrow-related inspections, repairs, negotiations and documentation. They are what we call zero-service agents. Not minimum-service agents, another genre of agent, rather zero-service.

Their lack of any involvement in the transaction was presenting difficulties to other agents who were faced with presenting offers to people they didn’t represent. Technically, they were breaking Nevada real estate and agency law. The legislature made some changes, not to accommodate the zero services agents, but to protect the agents that were actually selling the homes those agents had signed up. To do so they had to create a form to allow an agent to negotiate directly with someone they don’t represent, and a Waiver Form allowing the listing agent to not present offers.

In a seeming contradiction of terms, the Waiver form says, “By signing below I agree that the licensee who represents me shall not present any offers made to or by me …”. It continues to put the burden on the Seller to know what to do and advises consulting an attorney. Combine that with the other form that has the following statements: “…a Buyer’s agent…may present offers…and negotiation directly with the Seller.”, “Negotiate” means (a) delivering … an offer, counteroffer, or proposal; (b) discussing or reviewing the terms of any offer, counteroffer, or proposal; and/or (c) facilitating communication regarding an offer, counteroffer, or proposal and preparing any response ads directed.”, “…additional contact from the Buyer’s agent may be required to obtain disclosures and other documents related to the transaction.”, “Seller acknowledges and agrees that Buyer’s agent does not represent the Seller…”. We don’t understand why one would hire somebody and allow them not to do what it is they were hired to do, but now it can be done and not jeopardize full service practitioners.

Our Advice: Understand what type of service you are getting when you sign a listing agreement. If you have little equity, or even if you are upside down in your home, a full service real estate agent with the right knowledge can get you out of your difficulties. There is a difference between what we call zero-service, minimum-service, and full service real estate practitioners. Know what you are contracting for and understand, whatever your chosen avenue to your close of escrow, what counts is the amount of your proceeds check, the integrity of your transaction, and your protection from potential legal difficulties.

All is not what it appears to be in life. With full knowledge of the reality in this matter the decision is easy – check it out! Don’t put yourself adrift on life’s sea – it’s your money, your time, and your peace of mind you are protecting.

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.

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