UNDERSTAND AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
The SC Real Estate License Law, in section 40-57-139 (A) (1) and (2), requires a real estate licensee to provide you with the Agency Law brochure and a meaningful explanation of agency relationships offered by the licensee’s Company. This must be done at the first practical opportunity when you and the licensee have substantive contact.
A real estate Company and its associated licensees can provide buyers and sellers valuable real estate services, whether in the form ofbasic customer services, or through client-level agency representation. The services you can expect will depend upon the legal relationship you establish with the Company. It is extremely important for you to discuss the following information with the real estate licensee and agree if, in your business relationship, you will be as a customer or a client.
WHEN YOU CONTACT US FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY A CUSTOMER OF THE REAL ESTATE COMPANY
Unless or until you enter into a written agreement with the Company for agency representation, you are considered a “Customer” of the Company, and the Company will NOT act as your agent. As a Customer, you should NOT expect the Company or its licensees to promote your best interest, or to keep your bargaining information confidential.
South Carolina license law defines customers as buyers or sellers who choose NOT to establish an agency relationship. The law requires real estate licensees to perform the following basic duties when dealing with any real estate buyer or seller customers:
- Present all offers in a timely manner
- Account for money or other property received on your behalf
- Provide an explanation of the scope of services to be provided
- Be fair and honest and provide accurate information
- Disclose “adverse material facts” about the property or the transaction which are within the licensee’s knowledge
Customer-level service does not require a written agreement; therefore, you are not committed to the Agent or Company in any way. In turn you should consider how the company is committed to you as a customer versus a CLIENT.
BENEFITS OF BECOMING A CLIENT OF A REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE FIRM
Clients receive more services than customers. If client status is offered by the real estate Company, you can become a client by entering into a written agency agreement requiring the Company and its associated licensees to act as an agent on your behalf and promote your best interests.
A seller becomes a client of a real estate Company by signing a formal listing agreement with the Company. For a seller to become a client, this agreement must be in writing and must clearly establish the terms of the agreement and the obligations of both the seller and the Company which becomes the agent for the seller.
A buyer becomes a client of a real estate Company by signing a formal buyer agency agreement with the Company. For a buyer to become a client, this agreement must be in writing and must clearly establish the terms of the agreement and the obligations of both the buyer and the Company which becomes the agent for the buyer.
If you enter into a written agency agreement, as a CLIENT, you can expect the real estate Company to provide the following client-level services:
- Reasonable care and skill
- Assistance with negotiations
BECOME A CLIENT AND HIRE A BUYER’S AGENT TO REPRESENT YOU!
You’ve flown in for the weekend from out of town to an area that you’ve never seen before. Would you buy a car from the first Salesman you met, who doesn’t work for you, without visiting competing dealerships and looking at other makes and models?? Remember,knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have (gained by working with an Independent Buyers Agent); the greater the chances are of making a well-informed purchase decision. An Independent Buyers Agent can begin working with you before you come to the area. By hiring a competent Independent Buyers Agent (an agent who has fiduciary responsibility to you), you’ll receive the big picture; in depth information about the area, distance to urban centers, education, the competing developments, the community, the residents, the climate, etc., etc. Once you arrive, you’ll be shown more than one development and you’ll be better equipped to make an informed evaluation and purchase decision. Don’t experience “buyer’s remorse”. Imagine how you’d feel if, after you’ve purchased (and spent hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions), you find out there’s another property, perhaps a resale home or home site, at a more attractive price, just around the corner. What if you found out there’s an entirely different community just down the lake that is better suited for your lifestyle? As your Independent Buyer’s Agent we will take the time to show you all your options – you’ll be very glad you hired us.