Reading the Listing Agreement your agent is presenting to you – is just the beginning. But as someone who may not have recently sold a home – you have no idea what to look for or ask.
Here are a few things to HELP YOU make the right decision.
(not just about – Is it the right decision to SELL the house or WHO is the right Realtor to use) but:
What is the difference between an “Agent” and a REALTOR?
What is the Listing Agreement TERM (are you really wanting to give someone 40 years to sell the property??) Yes – I know that sounds EXTREME – but WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT that was an actual thing? (Until of course the news made us all aware IT HAPPENED).
Now, we can’t name names – or identify the potential “brokerage / agents” who were involved with this ridiculous listing agreement for 40 years (due to our Real Estate Law and Ethical Code) which seems ironic that we can’t call out something as crazy as this – but THEY can DO IT?!?! (Well, that is still to be decided).
Anyway, here is my go at calling out a few things you SHOULD be aware of from the start:
An agent – MAY or MAY NOT be LICENSED with the State to Sell Real Estate. Ohio REQUIRES a Real Estate License for the activities involved with buying / selling / representing others in real estate and being compensated with payment; including PROPERTY MANAGEMENT (unless it is your own property and transaction). Your first clue – ASK IF THEY ARE A REALTOR and then you can look this up online – free, at https://elicense3.com.ohio.gov/lookup/licenselookup.aspx.
Legally and Ethically – a person cannot use the term REALTOR without being a Realtor, paying those National / State and Local Dues and adhering to the Code of Conduct. Does that mean bad apples slip in or hide from the process? Sure – but at least that is a good place for you to start.
The “Term” of your listing agreement is normally considered to be the amount of time you agree to work with that Realtor / Brokerage in the efforts to sell your property. This could be ONE WEEK (although not normally this short) – to ONE MONTH, or even ONE YEAR – really, it can be ANY length of time that is agreed between the parties; but NEVER HAVE I EVER seen one for multiple years. No one wants to do paperwork needlessly, so making an agreement by the day would be just as unlikely. If the market turnover of listings is less than six months, then agreeing to a Listing Agreement of six months would seem reasonable and customary.
SECOND, you should be given or receive a COPY of anything you sign – at any time. I like to provide a copy in advance, certainly giving you plenty of time to review BEFORE SIGNING, or at any point if you lose your copy, I am happy to provide. If you want to have an attorney REVIEW the Agreements and any Documents PRIOR to the actual Listing of your property – that is certainly YOUR RIGHT.
The next thing to raise alarm – is this part about a LIEN AGAIST THE HOUSE. In no language of our board sanctioned Listing Agreement is there anything that refers to the right of the Broker to hold / take a LIEN against your house! No reason whatsoever for this to be a part of the Listing Agreement, it is not needed in order to SELL the property and YOU should BEWARE of having to give up ANY OF YOUR RIGHTS just to try and Sell the Property. It’s almost as ridiculous as saying you have to give the title to your car just to get it serviced or washed!!
Finally, in this case that has made the news circuit – it sounds like an OFFER was made in advance of the Agreement for a “Payment” to be made to the Seller for the opportunity of the company to get the Listing Agreement. I don’t know about you – but THAT would certainly raise a red flag for me! Offering to PAY someone for the ability to SELL their home maybe be considered an inducement and I would question if that was Ethical, let alone Legal – especially since that is NOT THE NORM in our Industry.
The saying, “If it seems too good to be true – it probably is” rings loud and clear!