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As we mapped out in our blog post on What to Expect When Working With a Buyer’s Agent in NC, it’s crucial for homebuyers to understand what the process of working with a buyer’s agent looks like from start to finish. As part of that, there are key considerations that should be kept in mind when navigating the legal and ethical landscape of working with a buyer's agent. Here’s a look at some of the Frequently Asked Questions that we want to address specifically because they often come up as points of confusion for homebuyers.

***Since this post builds off the What to Expect When Working With a Buyer’s Agent in NC blog post, if you haven’t read that one yet, we highly encourage you to do that and then come back to this one.

Q: How Can I Be Sure That My Buyer’s Agent Will Represent Me in an Ethical Way?

A: If the agent who represents you is a REALTOR, that means they are a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which is the trade association that represents more than 1.5 million real estate professionals. All members have to abide by NAR's REALTOR Code of Ethics. Established in 1913, the Code consists of 17 Articles that guide professional conduct, emphasizing the protection and promotion of clients' interests, honesty, and cooperation with other brokers(5). This set of standards aims to elevate the industry's reputation by ensuring REALTORS® adhere to high ethical standards. That's why many buyers want an agent who is a REALTOR to represent them in the home buying process.

Q: What Legal Oversight is There for Real Estate Agents in NC?

A: All real estate agents and brokers in North Carolina are governed by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and the North Carolina Real Estate License Law and Commission Rules. The commission has the authority to discipline agents for violations such as misrepresentations, conflicts of interest, and discriminatory practices.

Q: How Will My Buyer’s Agent Navigate Dual Agency?

Jeanette Hussey
Jeanette Hussey

A: West & Woodall REALTOR Jeanette Hussey says that when she serves as a dual agent, the main point she emphasizes to her buyers is that even though she originally helped the seller determine the asking price based on comparing the sales prices of other similar homes in the area, she can't use the same information to advise the buyer on what she thinks they should offer. They have to be comfortable with coming up with that number themselves. Otherwise, anything they tell her as part of that process isn't something she tells the seller, and the discussions the sellers have with Jeanette about what they're willing to sell for stay private until it's time to disclose that. "It's my job to mediate all parties involved to a satisfactory point for everyone. I've been doing this for 42 years and I've never had a problem. I just think that if you're honest, you're upfront, and you disclose material facts, it's the buyer's decision in what they're willing to pay and the seller's decision in what they're willing to sell for."

Q: Can My Buyer’s Agent Represent Me with New Construction?

Debra Mangum
Debra Mangum

A: YES! If buyers are considering or even looking at new construction homes and are working with an agent, they must have their agent with them the first time they go into the community's sales office and on any subsequent visits as well. If they don't, the community will not recognize the agent as representing the buyer's interests. West & Woodall REALTOR Debra Mangum says it's critical for buyers to understand this and to know that the agent representing the community is looking out for the best interests of the community in the transaction and not the best interests of the buyer. If the buyer doesn't have their agent with them, they will be unrepresented throughout the home buying process.

Q: What If My Buyer's Agent and I Aren’t Working Well Together?

A: As already mentioned, the buyer's agency agreement includes a termination date when it's signed, but if buyers or their agents want to terminate their relationship before that point, it is possible. According to Jeanette, "If somebody becomes dissatisfied with you as an agent, they can send you an email and say, 'We wish to end our buyer agency agreement with you.' And I can do the same thing. If something is going on and we're just not getting along for some reason, I can terminate the agreement with them. It goes both ways."

Q: What If I’m Working With a Buyer’s Agent but am Tempted to Call a Number on a "For Sale" Sign Because It Seems Like a Faster Way to See the House?

A: If you're working with a buyer's agent but are out and find a home that you want to see, it's important to understand that the agent listed on the sign represents the seller. If you want to see the home, you should call your agent and let them arrange the showing so it's clear from the beginning that you have someone representing your interests.

How to Ask Us a Question About Working with a Buyer’s Agent in NC

If you have a question about working with a buyer’s agent in NC that we haven’t answered through this or the What to Expect When Working With a Buyer’s Agent in NC blog post, feel free to reach out to us at marketing@westandwoodall.com. We want you to feel comfortable and confident as you identify a real estate professional to help walk you through this important purchase.

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