There are a few very important choices sellers face when contemplating putting their home on the market. The first thing they must decide is what type of representation or assistance they are looking for. There are a lot of sellers out there who believe that selling real estate is nothing more than sticking a sign in the ground, and waiting for a buyer to come along. Oh, and many of those sellers really don’t have a good grasp on what their home should sell for, market conditions, etc…
Many of these sellers will choose what is now defined as “Limited Service Agency” — those brokerages who, for a very low flat fee, will place your home in the MLS. That’s it. They’ve been around a long time but the Commonwealth of Virginia has just taken it upon themselves to actually define the duties (or lack thereof) of someone acting in a limited service capacity, as a way to protect consumers…. did you get that? “p-r-o-t-e-c-t” consumers. The Powers That Be feel that consumers need protection from Limited Service Agencies and are now requiring disclosure to be sure that there is a mutual understanding of what they will and won’t do as a duty to the seller.
What won’t they do?
NO Marketing… this means no signs, no pictures, no brochures, no online presence, no open houses, no exposure to other agents through a brokers only open house… WOW…
NO Negotiating… they won’t receive contracts, won’t negotiate contracts, won’t facilitate the back and forth of contracts, won’t help you understand what’s customary in our contracts – it’s all up to you Mr. or Ms. Seller.
NO Assistance… hmmm, no help with price setting, no help keeping contract deadlines, no help with settlement, no help with coordinating or attending inspections, appraisers, etc…, no help with anything.
What WILL they do? Or, I should say, what are they obligated to do?
they WILL put your listing in the MLS
they WILL provide necessary disclosures for you to fill out on your own
they WILL help you obtain your HOA/Condo documents as required by law
they MAY give you a lockbox to use for a fee or deposit
I just recently saw a home in my neighborhood that happened to be listed by an out of area Limited Service Agency – it’s in a hot area, sat on the market for over 90 days and sold for $100K less than the asking price and it wasn’t overpriced to begin with. I bet that seller wishes they had hired a full service brokerage (with a fantastic agent such as myself <grin>) to represent them in the sale of their home.
I’m sure this style of brokerage probably works for some people – but be sure that it’s worth the price before you sign on the dotted line! Give me a chance to tell you how to at least have a fighting chance to get your home properly marketed and sold in this slower market.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Happy Monday – it’s a glorious day out there — enjoy it!