By Pat Licata-REALTOR
Did you know that Virginia law requires that you, as a prospective real estate purchaser, enter into an agreement with a real estate professional before ever even seeing a home? This is a fact! In fact, the REALTOR could actually lose his/her real estate license for showing without having the agreement signed. The information below should help to explain the Virginia Association of Realtors’ rationale for this requirement.
What is “Agency,” and Why Am I Required to Sign an Agreement?
In real estate, “Agency” refers to the relationship between a Realtor and his/her client. The agency relationship is defined in law and requires the Realtor to provide a specific level of skills and proficiency that is only given to his/her clients. For example, you, as my client, would benefit from confidentiality.
In order to become a client, one must sign a disclosure document which also contains the terms of our agency relationship. This became the law in Virginia in July of 2012. NO licensed real estate agent may list a home, show property, or work with a buyer, tenant, seller or landlord without obtaining a written agreement. Again, even the act of showing a prospective buyer a home without a written agency agreement is a violation of the law.
If you’d like a more extensive explanation, as well as sources of the law, please visit the Virginia Association of REALTORS® website.
The “Why” of the Law
Sometime in 2010, the lawmakers in Virginia, along with representatives of the Virginia Association of Realtors, set out to ensure that consumers had a clear understanding of the role and duties of the real estate professional. It was anticipated that his level of clarity would help the consumer understand what to expect from a Realtor. In order to ensure that agents were making the necessary disclosures, a written receipt (in this case the representation agreement) would serve to ensure that the consumer understood the agent’s role, and that the parameters of the representation agreement were in writing and reviewable by anyone who had the need.
Here’s the document for your review:
By Pat Licata, REALTOR, Lake of the Woods VA