Click here to view the embedded video.
MRIS now requires that a listing agent disclose private and harmful information (to other agents) about a home that is Under Contract (as in NOT closed yet). That info? The buyer agent’s name.
Throughout this blog you will see examples of how Frankly agents advocate for and with their client, like no other firm does. What you might not see is some back end efforts that we fight for to help out our clients.
MRIS has a policy that I have been fighting for 6 months. I maintain that their policy is a direct violation of our fiduciary duty (blog post JUST on that!) to our client. Previously a listing agent would disclose who the buyer agent was AFTER a deal closes. No big deal. Agent use it to track stats, etc. But now MRIS requires listing agents enter buyer agent info (only visible by other agents) BEFORE the deal closes! No big deal? Yeah right!
That info can be used in a manner that HURTS the seller. So why require it? MRIS said that some broker’s of the buyer agent wanted to know when their agents had a deal under contract, because sometimes they don’t turn in paperwork.
How has it been abused? Here are some examples from an agent forum:
- – I got a call yesterday from an agent wanting me to disclose how i won the deal. She got my name from mris. We have been under contract 4 days. Inspection yesterday. She was competing offer and backup. Go figure. I told her nothing and wanted to know how she got my name. Said Mris. I was shocked. And angry they disclosed my info to a competing agent on an offer in progress. D.C.
- – “Picture this scenario: Buyer A contracts Seller B’s home. Seller C’s agent calls up buyer A’s agent and says, we have a very similar home one street over for $10k cheaper. If you void your contract via HOA docs, we can cut a great deal. While not real classy, seller C’s agent didn’t break any laws, but rather acted in his client’s best interest. Fully agree with you Frank. MRIS needs to remove that asap.” B.W.
- – “that [buyer] agent showed my listing but wrote on this one, maybe we can get that buyer back by offering a lower price”. It’s a privacy issue for me and I would be willing to bet, it is for many buyers agents… Anyone else want to join in righting this wrong? EMAIL MRIS! K.D.
- – Buyer loves a home. They demand the buyer agent contact the buyer agent that is listed on a home under contract. That buyer then puts in an offer to buy the contract off of the current buyer. (Frank)
Proposed solution #1: My solution is EASY. Add a new code called 888888 and make the agent name “Will disclose at closing”. Poof! Easy as that. Takes 10 minutes. Instead we have this mess.
Proposed solution #2: Hide the buyer agent info until the software is fixed. The client is more important than the broker.
Love to get your comments. If you were selling a home, would you care if the buyer agent’s info was shared before closing? Write to MRIS if you think this is an important issue.
Will your agent fight for you? With respect to this issue, 30,000 agents in the DC area apparently are not.
MRIS is waiving the $300 in fines levied on us, and better training their staff to know the new rules.
MRIS has decided to modify their system to only show this information to the relevant buyer agent’s broker by mid-July. But WILL still publish 1,000s of buyer agents that are under contract now. They could simply turn off this data display, but they feel it is more important that the broker’s get alerts about their agents, then the seller’s private information being disclosed.
Principal Broker Frankly Real Estate Inc
SERIES: Does your rebate agent do this?
We know buyers have options, and our goal is to create value. Net you more, save you from buying the wrong place (ripe for a blog post), and find places you wouldn’t get elsewhere (off-MLS, coming soon, and Under Contract homes). And as I have said before, if you can find a rebate agent who can do that… use them (articles on Rebating
I LOVE UNDER CONTRACT HOMES.
I want to consolidate and update previous posts on Under Contract homes (here and here). I think Under Contract homes are the biggest missed opportunity in real estate. Just the other day a listing agent told me he listed all homes as “Contract” (will explain differences later). This incorrect category will remove his listing from ALL websites! And sure he said he would be open to a back up offer if somebody found it, ha, good marketing strategy “If somebody finds [the hidden home]“. Contrast that to every Frankly home changing the comments to read BACK UP OFFERS ENCOURAGED. Hum, still wonder what the differences are between Frankly and large companies, or even rebaters? Then keep reading.
CONTRACT TYPES AND DEFINITIONS.
There are 3 types of Contracts on MRIS’s MLS system (the MLS equivalent of a drug lord, the data feed for most all sites).
1) Contract with Kickout. 10% of UC homes, 80% chance to win.
This status is rare, but these are the EASIEST to win. Why? The “kickout” is a term in the contract that lets the buyer walk if the buyer can’t sell their own house. If a new buyer writes an offer, it CAN “kick out” the first offer. The first offer then has about 3 days to decide if they can risk removing that contingency. Most can’t. Then you win. This status for me, is almost the same as “Active”. There are many strategies on how to offer on these. Sometimes a $ amount over the current offer, or $10k BELOW the current offer (you can win on terms or money, see video preview here).
You can search for Under Contract homes with a Kickout on Frankly.com, by adding the word Kickout.
2) Contract with No Kickout. 40% of UC homes, 20-30% chance to win.
Why not try and offer on one? Well many/most buyers agents won’t, and listing agents won’t try and get one. Too much of a pain and too time consuming for them. Again, will your rebate agent do this? Maybe if you ask, but is that the mentality you want in a partner? Only if you ask them about winning your dream home?… what else do you need to “ask” for? It should come standard (insert trademarked tagline, Excellence Comes Standard).
Megan, a Frankly broker, won her house that way. Do what the agents do!
Contracts fall out all the time. Once we had 3 contracts drop out, it just happens on it’s own. But also a well written back up can INCENTIVIZE a seller try make your offer the primary. I won’t go into detail (I do a little too much already in the video)
3) “CONTRACT” 50% of UC homes, 15-25% chance to win.
This status removes the home from most/all websites. Why a listing agent would do that is beyond me. It is supposed to be a status that is moved from one of the other two statuses when ALL CONTINGENCIES have past and the deal is “almost closed”. Do you think most agents want to change the status 1 extra time? Many who use this are just lazy and it HURTS YOUR SELLER!. You can still offer on these, but your chances might be a little lower, but again, they might not be. Your agent can find them on the back end MRIS lookup and if you see an Active home suddenly disappear, that might be why (that or it was withdrawn, expired, ie the listing agent was fired).
Sellers: Make sure your agent keeps working well beyond putting the home under contract. Or better yet, just make sure you have a Frankly agent. This can NET you significantly more, but it takes much more effort on the agent’s part. And many have already moved onto the next listing.
Buyers: Why not try? Give it a shot. If you are a back up offer, you can still void it if you find something else (unless it is made into the primary offer).
These extra things that Frankly agents do will make a world of difference. I get it that most think buying a home is like buying a pack of Charmin at Target, but there is so much more to helping get you in the right home. And like always, reach out MONTHS before you think you might be interested. Don’t settle for a Popcorn agent.
Principal Broker Owner Frankly.com Realtors.
(my email is in the video, can post it for spam reasons)
Ps. Are you a rare like-minded full time experienced agent? Want to join Frankly? We need more agents in Baltimore, DC, and PG County.
Update 9/2015 to this 2007 post. Frankly.com, the unique home search site will now be exclusively for the benefit of our clients after a 10 day no obligation trial, that means signing one of these contracts. Read below to better understand it, and watch this VIDEO on why.
What is an “Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement”?
This is a contract that a buyer is oftentimes asked to sign by a buyer agent Realtor. In part it commits the buyer to use this one agent exclusively for several months.
Why in the world would you sign this?
How could signing all your rights away ever help you, the buyer? Where is the “What’s in it for me?” in that proposition?
Don’t you still want to be able to:
- Use another Realtor if you don’t like this one?
- Buy a FSBO and have no commission be paid!
- Bypass the buyer agent and make the listing agent give me the commission?
- Walk into a New Construction and sign papers, who needs a Realtor for that? I got them down $50k!
- Have 2 or 3 eager Realtors compete for your business. Each one working their tail off to find you that hidden gem. Doesn’t cost you anything, so why not? (just like the Double Agents show, where 2 Realtors compete: see Video)
- If you find the home, why should he get paid anything?
- Why sign an “exclusive” agreement, when you can sign a “non-exclusive” agreement?
And that sales pitch is so hoaky sometimes:
- “My broker requires it before showing you anything.”
- “This is standard.”
- “If you don’t sign this, then I am legally working for the seller. If you sign this, it acknowledges that I am working for you, the buyer.” (my favorite, as the law reads, it is true, but in reality, it is just a pitch)
What a ton of B.S.
So let me know if I missed anything. All of the above is the typical viewpoint of the buyer right? I know it well. I grew up with it. My mother was the most cynical person and would never sign one of these agreements. She didn’t see the “how can this help me.” In part it is the Realtor’s fault for not explaining the process clearly.
But, and here is the big butt, I have seen the other side! It isn’t always as shady as it initially appears and it can help the buyer.
As a Realtor, many newbies feel bad getting their clients to sign these contracts. Sometimes they let it slide, until one day they understand why it protects the Realtor. Then I’ll go into how it helps the client.
What? This exclusive contract can help the buyer? How in the world is this going to come around full circle? Ah, the suspense.
- Background story: I was helping some clients buy a home in 2004. Many buyers might think we are paper pushers, but some of us Realtors go above and beyond. Including once driving to Chantilly to take 100+ photos of the interior of one unit. Why? Because of Sucky Listing Agents. The agent only had 1 photo, and the buyer was out of town, so I created a virtual experience for them. (I do this for all of my buyers, I take about 50-100 photos of EACH place we see together and I create on online private album for them to remember everything. Does your B.A. do this?)Anyhow, we put an offer in on one place. We didn’t get it. I’m ok with that. I could have talked them into a higher price, and won, but I didn’t do that. I worked for their best interest, not mine. Then they found a For Sale By Owner. It was literally 20% overpriced (as many FSBOs are). They had me run the numbers and do a full analysis on the neighborhood etc. I even helped them talk through what they wanted to offer. I warned them no matter how upgraded it was, it was a really high price. It was like buying the best house in the worst neighborhood. They decided to offer anyhow.I then get an email the next day saying that my services were no longer needed(You’re fired), they had bypassed me and bought the FSBO for $30k over what it should go for. Payment to Frank was $0, (hours wasted). Buyer overpaid $30k. Having some consolation knowing they overpaid= Priceless.
Since then I require my clients to sign an “Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement” early on. Not before the first showing, like some, but shortly thereafter. I give them enough time to feel me out, but I can’t invest a ton of time with a customer that is still shopping around agents and might bolt at any moment. A catch 22 of sorts.
So, ok, you got screwed, that sucks, help me understand how this helps me, today’s buyer?
- The contract outlines what the agent gets paid. Mine says 3%. And that means if a listing is offering 2% (only a few homes do), my buyer pays the balance, and if there is a FSBO offering 0%, my buyer pays the full 3%.
Wait a second, that sucks. I’ve always been told that the “seller pays.”
Again, a sales tactic brainwash: “Buyer agents are Free.” Don’t believe that. Guess who is writing the check/loan for a $400,000 house? Guess where the Realtor fees get drawn from at closing? Correct, that check. You are indirectly paying for all the fees.
- b. Wait it gets better. My exclusive agreement also states that if the buyer compensation exceeds 3%, the rest is rebated to the buyer! See (Shady Realtor Bonuses? 10%!! Free Cruise? Be Aware.“) Isn’t it great… no… just normal… that you have a contract that outlines what your Realtor is getting paid? Overpayments/bribes go back to the buyer, and there are no behind the scene shenanigans going on. (Buyer benefit 1: The buyer agent’s commission is fixed and you aren’t pushed into a property that bribes the agent)
- The agent can remove the fear in the back of their head that their client will walk, and they can give unbiased advice.Come on, human nature is going to kick in. How can you ask a Realtor “What would be a good deal for this”, (a question I don’t directly answer, but that is a long story) knowing t
hat if the buyer doesn’t buy this place, the buyer still has the right to snatch up another place and fire the agent. How can an agent be aggressive for you if their commission might drop from $10,000 to $0 if they tell you the truth and guide you through a lower bid? It just can’t happen. The agent in this situation is NOT WORKING WITH THEIR BUYER, BUT AGAINST THEIR BUYER. This does NOT help the buyer. (Buyer benefit 2: Buyer agent is working FOR the client, not competing against them).
- Double their efforts. What Realtor in their right mind is going to go above and beyond and try to find you houses that are off the market or spend too much time on a buyer that doesn’t see the process as a team effort? I oftentimes send out letters to entire communities that my buyer likes. And that works. Usually for every 10 MLS places I show, I’ll scrounge up 1 or 2 places that are yet to be listed, withdrawns, FSBOs, or another hidden gem. Without that commitment from the buyer, I’d see it as a waste of time, or too risky. (Buyer benefit 3: More time invested in finding you more places equates to a better price or more inventory/options.)
- Help you or help another committed buyer? A good buyer agent will be turning away clients, or referring to another good agent, when they get too busy. If you want a new Realtor that has nothing better to do than drive you around forever on the 50/50% chance you will use them, great, but why not use a Realtor that respects your time as well as their own time and puts his foot down and sets guidelines for the work that they perform?
What about non-exclusive buyer agency agreement? I heard some agents will use that. Doesn’t that help me while protecting me?
All that does is a) squelch the “I work for the seller” trick and b) outlines how the Realtor gets paid. Both good things, but knowing that the buyer might go buy something after seeing something at an Open House or a new construction without them, the bias will still be there for you to buy quickly and for a higher price.
What about New Constructions, isn’t it better if I’m Realtorless?
Almost always the price for the buyer is the same with or without a Realtor (wow a pitch that you might have heard, that is essentially true). But, yes, on a rare occasion the sales office might get a bonus if they sell a unit to you without a Realtor, but who cares? You still don’t have anybody working for your best interest. Who cares if you got them to drop $50,000, a good Realtor might be able to say “Wait, in another community across town, they have been dropping $100,000!” or “Don’t believe their comps, they are illegally not posting the seller subsidy (see Beware: New Constructions Illegally Not Disclosing Seller Subsidies). Recently I helped a client get a new construction for $10,000 under the price he was initially told was non-negotiable AND I wrote into the contract a clause that allowed him to exit the contract if the prices of the condos continued to drop (a pricing guarantee). That single handedly could save him $40,000. And all you thought we did was show up with a smile and cash our check? What about the Jaguar the money I saved you can buy? Will I get a free ride at least?
Also in one case with an Arlington new condo, is the sales office going to tell you about how the building was almost condemned and slated to be destroyed because it was sinking? Um, I don’t think so.
What about bypassing the buyer agent and making the listing agent give me the commission? Heck even Money recommended this step (see article)
From somebody that has been in over 10 national publications, (CNBC, WSJ, NYTimes etc) magazines sometime give new reports a “beat” to cover. Sometimes they are not experts and they think they can jump in and reinvent the wheel. This reporter is an idiot. When a listing agreement is signed, it is between the seller and the agent. If an offer comes in with 3% back, the buyer can’t simply void the listing agreement. The offer is netted out and the listing agent can still get their double commission. Even if they don’t still get it all, (oftentimes they do) you still have nobody representing you to help you get the best price and help you avoid all the shady Realtors tricks that are out there (DOM fudging, etc). Who cares if you “save 3%” if a good buyer’s agent might have been able to get you 5% or more?
What about these FSBOs, isn’t it better if I find one without a Buyer Agent?
Yes. In theory. But those FSBOs tend to be cheapskates. This is fine, but cheapskates (like my mother!!) are notorious for overpricing! Great you “save” on Realtor fees, but you get a horrible deal. With a Realtor who is on the same team as you, can help you evaluate the pros and cons of that unit and also strategize how you can get the seller down. No not just with a low offer, but other ways. I love dealing with FSBOs that think they know it all. My client pays the Realtor fee (wink wink) but then they get the place for $50k under true value.
Again, yes, signing the agreement might preclude you from buying a gem FSBO that is underpriced and not offering Realtor commissions. That is a “risk” that you have to understand and be willing to accept, in trade for the other benefits of having a dedicated Realtor.
Buyer’s can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect an agent to work their tail off for you, offer unbiased data analysis, and offer aggressive negotiations while the agent knows you hold an “out” card. What, is the agent expected to just cross his fingers that his time invested will work out favorably? Is it worth holding onto that out card? That is up to the buyer, and if they see any value in their agent.
To recap: I’ve put myself in the buyer’s shoes. I know where they are coming from and their hesitations. I can understand and respect that initial
viewpoint. Now put yourself in the shoes of the agent. How likely is that agent going to be to help you try and fight for an extra $5,000 or $10,000 off? Human nature would kick in and say, “Why should I be aggressive on this offer if they might just go elsewhere if this deal doesn’t happen?”
If I sign one, when should I sign it?
- Wait until you are comfortable with your agent.
- Even if the agent didn’t ask for one, consider signing one before you put in an offer. That way you are saying a) “What are you getting paid?” b) “Don’t worry, I will use you, now tell me honestly about the value of this place.”
Good luck. Hopefully after reading the rest of this blog that highlights the insider tricks of Realtors, you will better understand why this exclusive buyer agency contract is requested by some and required by others and how it ultimately helps the buyer.
Also make sure to leave a comment and read others comments.
- Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker/Owner FranklyRealty.com
703-827-4OO6 Please report all typos, I don’t like looking stupid. If you like this post, sign up for new blogs daily.
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Not as Terrifying As You Think?
The MLS. It’s harmless… or is it? There are lots of things to legitimately be afraid of. Let’s talk about adding, or seeing, “as-is” on a listing. Should you be afraid? Some people are.
Afraid of “AS-IS” Home for Sale?
When buyers see the words “as is” it sometimes freaks them out. They think that there could be major issues with the property and that they won’t have a right to inspect it. Well that’s not entirely true. Even though it says “as is,” you can request in your offer to do a home inspection and leave in the right to opt out if substantial repairs are needed (yes, the seller might say “no inspections” and that IS scary! But sometimes still manageable). Although the sellers may not be willing to fix any issues, they could still do a seller credit or even reduce the price by $5K or $10K. And since “As Is” scares away so many buyers, it will potentially have less competition when making an offer, and thus a lower purchase price.
Click here to view the embedded video.
Scary or Not Scary?
I actually love helping buyers with “as is” properties because there is usually less competition. Estate sales are great as well and most of the time they are listed “as is.” But consider it differently if you are selling. In this case I don’t think sellers should ever us “as is.” In the state of Virginia almost all homes for sale are “as is” already, so why even put that into the MLS remarks? If you are making a purchase more buyers will be scared away because it makes them think that there could be something substantially wrong with the home. Go figure.
Buying As Is Tips
- Everything is as is. Virginia is existential like that.
- You can still ask for a home inspection on “as is,” and you can still have the right to opt out. Some sellers say they don’t have cash so they won’t fix it-but they can do a 5K, 10K price reduction
- Its not something to scared of, estates do it as well (aka “20 heirs waiting for their checks, we’re not going to have them pay to fix it but maybe drop price a little”).
- Go after homes with as is, because it tends to scare off other buyers which is good for you
Selling As Is Tips
- In VA almost all homes are “as is” anyways, so why put that in your advertising?
- A buyer could view an “as-is” notation as nickel and diming, or “hey, were not going to fix anything.” It makes the buyer think that there are major issues and that they wont have a right to inspect it.
Principal Broker, DC, VA, MD Frankly Real Estate Inc
* Never too busy for you!
By popular demand, here are 12 of my most popular blog posts. They’re oldies… but goodies.
video explaining top 12
What is it? Why should the buyer care? What does it obligate them to, and when is it smart to use one?
Like selling a Rolex at a flee market, fees might be lower but what it counts is the net takeaway. I find reality hits hard for FSBO’s that think they don’t always need a Realtor. Here’s a brief trip through my experience after helping only 300 FSBOs. Hint: Ur Doin’ It Wrong.
In most industrues, you understand “the competition.” Why should Real Estate be any different? An agent’s track record explains why you should bring your “A” game against a team you’ve never seen play before.
Is there a standard commission? Is it ethical to set standard commissions? What’s the deal with this, and why is it so expensive?
To win your business, some agents will tell you what they want to hear. What will this net you? Nothing. Here I pluck apart some of the oldest myth’s and realities in pricing.
The day you stopped caring about finding the bottom of the market and decided to live somewhere for at least 7 years. Yeah, I know about that day. Here is where I discussed whether or not it is all it’s cracked up to be.
I get it. Sometimes I can be a little melodramatic with my blog titles. Here’s the thing: everyone wants to sell fast. But I can promise you that you will never achieve a quick timeline if you aren’t listing it right in the first place. Do it right, or don’t do it. It’s that simple.
I don’t believe in a good deal. The best way to buy if possible has a simple formula: time and choices. Often those two are not available, so what do you do?
“I used to rebate but then I got good…at saving the client money.” $395 in admin fees: Junk or legitimate use of your money?
Treating a client like you would a relative, even if that means talking them out of buying, is my modus operandi. “…last week I talked to my cousin on buying a million dollar condo. I do that for client as well.” If I can’t treat a client like family, why am I working for them at all? It’s more important that you trust me (Ha. “Trust Me. I’m a Realtor!”) than getting to take home some cash.
Here’s a reality check: Realtors fudge their numbers. Bottom line: it’s unethical. Here’s how to be aware of a home that’s being re-listed, be brand new and going to sell fast even if it’s been on the market for greater than a year.
Nobody tells consumers that the insurance is actually optional. Let’s talk. I am not saying “don’t buy it,” just a word of caution.
That is all of them, hope I didn’t waste too many hours. If you prefer reading in a book format, send me an email, I can send you one. And remember, never too busy for you or your referrals.
By Frank LLosa Broker,
Frankly Real Estate, Inc.
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