On July 1, 2012 Virginia’s real estate agency law changes — this is the law that governs how Realtors® and their clients do business together.
The most significant change is fairly simple and straightforward:
Brokerage agreements must now be in writing. Further, they must be signed as soon as an agent meets and engages in any kind of “licensed activity”
i.e. If you want to see a home that’s for sale you will have to sign a brokerage agreement or a non client agreement. If you refuse to sign an agreement or a non-client representation agreement, and an agent shows you a house, that agent would be in violation of Virginia State law!
Basically what this means is either you are or are not being represented by an agent who is showing you a home. If you are being represented, then the agent works for YOU! The agent can recommend price, negotiate on your behalf, they look out for your best interest. Whatever you tell them stays private. If you do not sign a buyer broker agreement, then the agent showing you the homes works for the seller , they can not recommend anything but full price, they can disclose anything you say to the sellers.
Why the change?
- Inform the consumer: The law is to make sure consumers are fully informed about the real estate services they’ll receive and the nature of the relationship with the licensee.
- Mitigate REALTOR® liability: The law is designed to protect licensees by making sure full disclosure is provided and the nature of brokerage relationship is reduced to writing. It’s to eliminate much of the consumer confusion that can come back and bite the licensee.
- Discourage opportunistic dual agency: The law is intended to make sure that licensees who practice dual agency are fully informing consumers about the risky nature of that relationship.
Other important points
• Duration. A signed agreement doesn’t have to be a long-term contract — it can be for a month, a week, a day, or even to show a single property.
• Exclusivity. Brokerage agreements do not have to be exclusive. The following must be included in a brokerage agreement
• A schedule of services you will provide. (Your brokerage may already have standard language for this section.)
• A list of fees, if any — and how and when they will be paid.
• The duration of the agreement; if this is omitted, the law assumes it’s for 90 days. Traditionally, some agents have waited until later in the client relationship to ask for a signed agreement, even to the point of including it with documents at closing. But best practices have always suggested you provide this sooner and in writing. And as of July 1, the law requires it as well
psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg areas of Virginia or to sell your existing home.
This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads area and and his expertise in the local real estate market.
His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula.
Here you can search homes for sale , active adult communities, 55+ communities, condos and townhomes , foreclosures/ REO, land, building lots, commercial property in Williamsburg , Yorktown, New Kent, Gloucester, Poquoson as well as the surrounding areas of Hampton Roads, Virginia
I look forward to serving your real estate needs!