Confusion in the Marketplace

Sep 10, 2019

Q. I have a listing and the buyer came to my open house. I made a deal that day, but no one agreed I could be a dual agent. What do I do?

A. You are only a dual agent if you have 2 clients, not a client and a customer. It sounds to me as if the buyer was a customer, so, unless you signed him up as a buyer client, which would have been a real accomplishment in such a short period of time, you do not have a dual agency issue.

Q. If I have a buyer, I always check off I am representing the buyer as a broker's agent, because sometimes the listing agent is not offering a commission to a buyer's agent. Someone told me that is not right, that I should check off I am representing the seller as a broker's agent. How can that be if I have the buyer?

A. That can be when the buyer is your customer.

Q. If I am a buyer's broker and there is no compensation offered to a buyer's agent, how do I get paid if the seller refuses to allow me to put my commission in my offer?

A. The buyer pays you.

Q. An attorney told me he is not giving me a Lead Paint Disclosure since his client is an estate and, therefore, he does not have to supply the disclosure. Is that right?

A. This is just a timely reminder that 50% of the attorneys graduated in the bottom half of their class! Unless the house was built after 1978, the attorney or the executor must supply the Lead Disclosure, which is mandated under Federal Law and carries a $25,000.00 fine for failure to comply. Apparently, the attorney has confused the Lead Paint Disclosure Law with the NYS Law regarding Seller Property Condition Disclosure, which exempts estates and certain other parties from having to comply. 

Q. My seller wants an unconditional release so she can sign with another agent. Do I have to give it to her?

A. You do not! You can withdraw the listing and keep the terms of the contract intact, such as commission obligations if the property sells during the period of the original listing. No one is ever entitled to an unconditional release! By the way, the other agent is interfering with your contract, which violates MLS Rules, the NAR Code of Ethics and is a civil tort for which the other agent could be sued.

Q. When a buyer wants to be my client, but I don't like him, can I say I won't work with him?

A. Of course. You never have to work with someone you do not like, unless, of course, you are related to him and then your mother might make you be nice to him!

Q. Can I collect a commission if I am the buyer of a property?

A. Yes, but you must be a buyer's agent.

Q. Can I pay a broker from another country for referring a seller to me?

A. You can, as long as that broker is following the brokerage laws of his own country, which may or may not include being licensed, according to the rules of the locality in which he works.