A. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE INITIAL COUNSELING INTERVIEW PHASE
Standard A(1): A Buyer Agent will disclose that he/she is a Buyer Agent and define his/her agency relationship to a prospective Buyer-Client. A Buyer Agent will explain how different agency relationships may affect the level and type of service a Buyer-Client may receive from a real estate agent.
Standard A(2): Before entering into an agreement with a Buyer-Client, a Buyer Agent will determine if any conflict of interest may exist on his/her own part or that of a Buyer-Client. If a conflict should occur, a Buyer Agent should be precluded from representing a Buyer-Client, who should have the option of seeking representation elsewhere.
Standard A(3): A Buyer Agent will provide a copy of these professional Standards and answer any questions a Buyer-Client may have about them.
Standard A(4): A Buyer Agent may enter into a written Agency Agreement with his/her Buyer-Client. The agreement will include beginning and ending dates, the service fee structure and payment method, and the responsibilities of both parties.
Standard A(5): A Buyer Agent will make him/herself available to his/her Buyer-Client in a timely manner.
Standard A(6): A Buyer Agent will pledge absolute confidentiality to a Buyer-Client when representing him/her, thereby protecting that Buyer-Client’s ability to negotiate all aspects of the transaction.
Standard A(7): A Buyer Agent will counsel a Buyer-Client regarding his/her financial qualifications and will assist that Buyer-Client in seeking and working with mortgage lenders. A Buyer Agent will not steer his/her Buyer-Client to any one lender but instead will assist him/her in evaluating interest rates and closing costs.
B. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE GENERAL PROPERTY SEARCH PHASE
Standard B(1): A Buyer Agent will discuss objectives and preferences in property styles, age, floorplans, and so forth with a Buyer-Client, then develop from this information a target property profile for him/her.
Standard B(2): Based upon the target property profile, a Buyer Agent and his/her Buyer-Client will determine the appropriate level of property preview services to be provided.
Standard B(3): With a Buyer-Client’s target property profile in mind, a Buyer Agent will search the real estate market, including properties for sale by owners and builders, to locate properties to show that Buyer-Client.
C. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE PROPERTY SELECTION/CONTRACT OFFER PHASE
Standard C(1): A Buyer Agent will discuss and evaluate the properties viewed with his/her Buyer-Client, comparing each property shown with the target property profile.
Standard C(2): Before preparing an offer to purchase, a Buyer Agent will inform a Buyer-Client about any defects or problems he/she has observed or in any way discovered regarding the target property.
Standard C(3): Before preparing a contract offer on behalf of his/her Buyer-Client, a Buyer Agent may prepare a comparative market analysis, including explanations and documentation, to determine the target property’s market value. A Buyer Agent will not prepare an offer to purchase a property he/she has not seen.
Standard C(4): Before a Buyer-Client signs an offer to purchase, a Buyer Agent will provide that Buyer-Client with an estimate of closing costs and, whenever possible, with the truth-in-lending estimate provided by the mortgage company.
Standard C(5): A Buyer Agent will counsel his/her Buyer-Client and explain the choices available in completing a real estate contract. This real estate counseling is based upon a Buyer Agent’s experience in negotiation and real estate business decisions and is not legal advice. Legal matters should be identified and a Buyer-Client advised to seek legal counsel where appropriate.
Standard C(6): Whenever possible, a Buyer Agent will prepare the contract offer on a form which has been designed to protect a Buyer-Client’s interest. A Buyer Agent will provide proper disclosures regarding agency representation and other matters as required by law.
Standard C(7): A Buyer Agent will develop contract negotiation strategies with his/her Buyer-Client, establishing pre-set limits on key points of negotiation when that Buyer-Client wishes to do so. A Buyer Agent will actively negotiate only on behalf of his/her Buyer-Client.
Standard C(8): Before submitting a contract offer to a Seller, a Buyer Agent will counsel his/her Buyer-Client regarding the time requirements specified in the contract and will encourage that Buyer-Client to have professional inspectors inspect the property if the contract is accepted.
D. SERVICES PROVIDED IN THE ESCROW-TO-CLOSING PHASE
Standard D(1): A Buyer Agent will counsel a Buyer-Client regarding the types of home inspectors, the suggested criteria for selecting home inspectors, and the comparative costs of inspection services. A Buyer-Client will select real estate inspectors. A Buyer Agent will encourage his/her Buyer-Client to be present during inspections.
Standard D(2): A Buyer Agent will notify a Seller or a Seller’s Agent in writing of inspectors’ findings and of corrections/repairs mandated by a Buyer-Client. A Buyer Agent will specify a Buyer-Client’s desire to proceed or cancel the purchase contract whenever such notification is required.
Standard D(3): A Buyer Agent will maintain contact with a Buyer-Client’s title company and mortgage company to make sure that his/her Buyer-Client’s interests are being protected.
Standard D(4): A Buyer Agent will review a settlement statement with his/her Buyer-Client at or before closing, if possible.
Standard D(5): A Buyer Agent will accompany a Buyer-Client on a property walk-through before closing.
Standard D(6): A Buyer Agent will keep records of transactions for a reasonable period of time and will provide this information to a Buyer-Client on request.
These Standards of Practice establish obligations that include all those consistent with the “Common Law of Agency” and are considered to be client-level, not customer-level, services. These obligations are, in many instances, higher than those mandated by law. If there is any case where the law requires a greater obligation than these Standards of Practice, then the requirements of the law must be followed. It is the duty of each individual Exclusive Buyer Agent to make himself or herself aware of the laws, which may affect him or her. BUYER’S BENCHMARK REALTY will never represent a seller, and will never have even a casual relationship with sellers, which could cause confusion and misunderstanding as to whom we represent.
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