A new year in the real estate industry always seems to bring new rules and guidelines that agents need to follow, and 2024 is no exception!
Many of the new rules and guidelines I have to follow each year are things that don’t have a huge impact on my clients. It might be paperwork or something that affects how I manage my business, stuff like that.
But this year, there’s one big change that affects everyone planning to buy a home.
State law now requires all real estate agents/brokerages to enter into a written “brokerage services agreement” with buyers we represent.
In other words, when you hire me to help you buy a home in the Tri-Cities, we’ll need to sign a contract stating that I’m your agent and you’re my client. (Same thing applies no matter what agent you hire to help you through the homebuying process.)
This is an update to what we call the “Agency Law” (RCW 18.86). When that law was passed in 1998, it only required agents/brokerages to sign written contracts with sellers. Now the law requires us to have signed, written contracts with both sellers and buyers. Here’s an article on the Washington REALTORS® website from early 2023 that explains the then-proposed new law.
In short, it’s similar to the written agreement that you sign when you hire the local car repair shop to fix your car. The agreement outlines the work to be done, costs, etc.
Similarly to the real estate sellers agreement, the buyers agreement is a contract between you and the real estate brokerage; in my case, that would be RE/MAX Northwest. The contract then states that I’m the agent appointed to represent you.
The agreement ensures that you, as a buyer, clearly understand the terms of the brokerage’s representation and compensation. State law says it must include things like:
Probably the biggest impact on you and other buyers is that your agent can no longer show you houses and begin working as your Realtor® without first signing this agreement.
Technically, we can, but the law requires that both parties sign the agreement either before we begin providing services or “as soon as reasonably practical” after.
Ultimately, it means that you’ll begin your homebuying process with a clear understanding of the services I’ll provide you as your agent, as well as how much my services will cost and who will pay for those services.
As I said above, this is how agents/brokerages have worked with sellers for the past 25 years. When I list someone’s home for sale, we have a clear agreement that formalizes the relationship and makes it more transparent for the seller.
It only makes sense that we should do the same for our buyer clients. Having a transparent agreement in place is the right thing to do.
So if you’re ready to have me help you buy a home in the Tri-Cities area, be ready for me to show you this new buyers agreement. I’ll go over the details with you, answer any questions you have, and then after we both sign it, we can get started on your homebuying journey!
As always, if you have any questions, get in touch anytime!