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A Real Estate Agent is defined under the Real Estate & Business Agent’s Act as “… a person whose business…is to act as an agent for consideration…in respect of a real estate transaction…”
A Sales Representative is an employee of the real estate agent. The sales representative can only conduct a transaction on behalf of the real estate agent.
A Real Estate Agent holds a higher level of qualification, normally a Diploma, and holds a Triennial Certificate that enables them to trade.
It can be confusing as colloquially people often refer to real estate practitioners as “agents” in general terms despite the clear distinction between “agent” and “sales representative”.
Real Estate Agents are responsible for the selling of a range of properties, including homes, commercial property, land and more. They also handle leasing arrangements on properties. Duties and tasks generally include:
• Advising buyers as to which properties are a good fit for them and which are good value;
• Collecting rent monies from tenants and holding this money for their clients;
• Listing and keeping track of properties for sale or lease;
• Offering valuations on property and advising their clients;
• Working with real estate buyers to assess their needs and help find the right properties.
The agent needs to be informed about all the information you know about the property.
If you know that something does not work, for example, a bathroom exhaust fan or an improvement to the property that does not have council approval, then you must inform the agent.
The agent will have an obligation to relay all relevant information to prospective buyers prior to them entering into a contract.
The agent will include relevant information in the contract so that there can be no misunderstandings, for example, the dishwasher is not included in the sale of the property.
Under common law the duties of an agent include:
• To perform obligations under the agency contract and follow instructions that are lawful and are not unreasonable;
• To perform duties with due care and skill;
• To act in good faith in the principal’s interest;
• Not to divulge confidential information acquired in the course of the agency appointment;
• To keep their client’s money separate from the agent’s money and to account to the principal for monies received or expended on the principal’s behalf.
There are many areas of risk, some of the more obvious are:
• The correct legal documentation being informally written up or executed incorrectly, meaning the purchaser may be able to walk away from the deal, claim damages or sue in the event of problems arising on the road to settlement;
• Lack of understanding in regards to what is being sold, and not being fully aware of presenting the property after thorough research (which could include encumbrances such as; restrictive covenants, caveats, right of ways, sewer lines and road reserves). In relation to strata titled property, the list is even more daunting; Form 28, Form 29, strata bylaws, special bylaws, management statements, pecuniary interests and section 43c. In the event one or more of these factors aren’t thoroughly researched or presented in the correct manner, then the implications down the line can be disastrous to the point of termination of the contract, to delayed settlement or even damages;
• Selling your property for less than its true current market value, keeping the sale on track and the purchaser locked into the deal being overlooked, and the losing the back end of an agency targeting a property transaction.
Agents have the training and knowledge of the hot areas of current points (dependent upon the property type, area, and position in the market), as the agent is in the market every day they will know where best to focus. However more importantly, the huge network of marketing available ranging from databases, cross selling from other stock, conjunctional dealings with other agents, REIWA website access, agent websites, pools of buyers, agents own buyer lists, prominent agent newsletters, signage and much more, all contribute towards driving far more buyers to your property. In many cases, all advertising costs are cheaper when booked via agents.
There is a saying in Real Estate that the deal is ‘90% people and 10% bricks and mortar’.
When dealing first hand with your purchaser, it would be very difficult to dig down and qualify them for finance, let alone negotiate back and forth to achieve the highest possible price on the most favourable terms and conditions for your valuable property. Whilst the seller may not feel too uncomfortable, the intending buyer would be very reluctant to engage in any real form of communication.
Agents are trained and practiced negotiators and are adept at negotiating the best outcome between both parties. There is a reason why there are specialist negotiators around the world to broker and negotiate everything from hostage crises, union strikes or business deals.
When both parties are too close and too emotionally attached to the outcome, the results are generally not favourable. Skilled negotiating will consistently achieve much higher prices, agents are negotiating every single day and are trained accordingly, as opposed to owners who are seldom engaged in these activities. When problems arise, as they often do in property transactions, having a mediator can smooth the deal over and keep the deal on track.
We live in an age of specialisation; your own home is probably going to be the greatest single value transaction you would ever handle. Why leave it to chance? Our Perth real estate agents are trained specialists in all facets, and the percentage fee charged for the service should be made up many times over with the higher price achieved for your property, by creating smart and intense competition for your property.
Not only deriving the very best deal and conditions, but the absolute peace of mind that the property transaction which is potentially fraught as a legal mine field has been taken care of for you by a professional. There is a perfectly good reason why DIY home sales make up less than 2% of the Perth property market.
Agents are experienced and trained to conduct relevant research to ensure the property is presented in the correct legal light to avoid any of the above dilemmas, but more importantly, the drafting and executing of the contract will be conducted to ensure both parties’ legal obligations are looked after and the agreeance of both the buyers and the seller are reflected accurately within the written documentation.