If you’re in the market to buy or sell in Brooklyn, then you may be wondering what documents you will need to fill out throughout the process, and what each document is actually used for.
Below is a quick summary of common real estate documents in Brooklyn and although it doesn’t cover every single document that you’ll encourage during a real estate sale, it does cover the most common documents.
If you have any questions about these documents and/or their purpose, feel free to Contact Us.
Agency disclosures explain the types of agency relationships that a consumer can consent to or reject. These disclosures are presented to all parties at the start of the agency relationship.
The purpose of agency disclosure is to protect consumers by keeping them informed of their options and the duties owed to them under various agency relationships. At a minimum, agency disclosures include who’s representing whom, and information about the kinds of representation available.
It’s important to provide an explanation of basic agency duties to clients and how they differ from your duties to customers. That way, you’re being honest about any agency relationships that exist (like telling a prospective buyer that you represent a seller) and explaining what an agency relationship would look like if you entered into one.
For the sake of legality and professionalism, all transaction parties must be provided with agency disclosure. When consumers understand the scope of services they can expect from you, they’re more likely to develop a good working relationship with you.
Agency disclosure also offers you some liability protection. For example, if you’ve made it abundantly clear to a seller—in writing—that you represent a buyer, and that seller still chooses to tell you that he’d be willing to take $50,000 less than list price, it would be difficult for a seller to make a case for misrepresentation or dishonest dealing.
Agency disclosure must be made to any unrepresented or prospective party to a transaction.
A listing agreement is a binding, written employment contract specifying the duties the real estate professional owes to her client, as well as any obligations the client has to the agent.
With an exclusive right to sell agreement, the seller is prohibited from listing the property with another broker prior to the expiration date in the contract.
With an exclusive agency listing, one broker lists the property for the term of the contract, and a commission is due only if the listing broker (or any other broker) finds a buyer. If the seller finds a buyer, he doesn’t owe the broker a commission. A listing contract of this type is similar to, but not quite as restrictive on the seller, as an exclusive right to sell contract.
Buyer Representation Agreement
A buyer representation agreement formally sets up your working relationship with a buyer, detailing the services you’ll provide and what you may expect from the buyer in return. Components of a buyer representation contract include:
- Parties’ names
- Agreement period
- Broker’s obligations
- Client’s obligations
- Broker fee / commission
- Fair housing statement
- In-house sales
- Other potential buyers
- Purchase offer money
- Additional terms
- Property info
A buyer representation agreement may also include a retainer fee that buyers pay to the broker. The dollar amount may vary with the price range of homes and the difficulty of locating a home that meets the buyer’s specifications. This fee covers gasoline costs and time in the event a buyer ends up not buying any property even after the agent shows the buyer a large number of homes.
A buyer representation agreement may state that the retainer fee will be waived if the buyer purchases a home. Regardless, all fees must be paid through the agent’s broker. Signing the buyer representation agreement indicates a commitment to the agent that the buyer is serious and loyal. However, when you sign an agency agreement with a buyer, it doesn’t mean that the buyer has to buy one of the homes you’ve shown. A buyer can also change the search criteria by informing you.
Purchase Offers (AKA Binders or Sales Agreements)
All parties to a purchase agreement must sign to create a legally enforceable contract. Although you’re not responsible for drafting real estate contracts, you should be very familiar with basic contract content and required elements, and should be able to generally explain these to your clients without entering into uncharted territory (unauthorized practice of law).
The following contract elements are typically required:
- Property description: A proper description of the property, including the land surrounding any buildings, must be included. The contract should also stipulate evidence of title, property taxes, and any liens or judgments.
- Purchase price: The sales price must be printed on the contract and clearly indicated.
- Competent parties: Some individuals, such as the mentally impaired, can’t enter into a legally binding contract.
- Meeting of the minds: Each side must be clear on and agree to the essential terms of the contract.
- Legal purpose: A contract is void if it calls for illegal action because it can’t be enforced.
- Signatures: To be enforceable, a real estate contract must be entered into voluntarily (not by force or duress), include a specific settlement date, and be signed by all parties.
Hope this information is helpful. As mentioned earlier, if you have any questions about any of these documents, feel free to Contact Us anytime 718-968-5538