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      The 2011 spring market is upon us! I have received 3 calls in the last week from people who may be putting their homes on the market in the Frick Park area. Rates are still excellent. The 2-2011 post gazette mortgage page is showing you can get a 30 year fixed rate for 5% or below. Pretty good. I remember when I came into the Real Estate business in the early 1980’s rates were hovering at around 18% and the only sales we did were Purchase Money Mortgages (Owner holds mortgage), and Land Contracts (Sellers holds more or less a lease purchase)! It was a very different world.
    In this article I thought I would speak about Agency and how it has changed through the years, and how Buyers and Sellers have been affected by the change.
     It wasn’t long ago that the majority of Agents represented the Seller (s). Whether they or the Buyers they were working with at the time knew it that was the case. Whomever was paying the commission was who the Agent was representing and in almost all cases the person paying the commission to the Agent, both listing and selling, were the Sellers of the home. If you explained this to the Buyers you were working with they always had a hard time understanding it, and for good reason.
    Let me setup the situation. An agent would be sitting at his or her desk at the office and in would come a call from a buyer looking for a home, or calling to see a specific home. As an agent you were glad to setup an appointment to show them property. In most cases you drove them around for days, weeks, and sometimes months on end until they finally found what they were looking for. But, if you asked them who the person they were being shown houses by was representing, 10 out of 10, (unless they were another agent or an attorney) would answer, ME. Of course; they were spending a great deal of time with this potential buyer. The agent would be explaining information that seemed was in the best interests of the buyer (s), and for an uneducated agent sometimes they were in fact doing just that which was actually against the law and surely unethical. And most times the agent had a personal relationship with the potential buyer (s) from spending a great deal of time with them e.g. driving around looking at homes, possibly going out to eat and discussing making offers and explaining closing costs, meeting other family members, and sometimes socializing outside the real estate relationship. But, it was in almost all cases the Seller (s) who would be paying the commission to both the listing agent (the person who put the home on the market/multi-list) and their prospective company, and the selling agent (the agent who would bring the offer of the buyer that they have been working with), and their prospective company! Agency!
    I remember many years ago one new agent at the end of a closing saying to me within earshot of the Seller, “My buyer told me before they got on the plane after we wrote up the offer, if you need to go full price that is fine with me.” The agent had brought an offer of $30,000 less than the asking price and never mentioned that the buyer would go any higher! We took that offer. Hearing her words after the closing made my seller furious. I had explained as I always did and continue to do who represents who and my Seller knew that that agent was to be representing my sellers’ best interests. A fiduciary relationship.

Fiduciary definition-  A fiduciary has a duty to act primarily for the client's benefit in matters connected with the undertaking and not for the fiduciary's own personal interest.  Scrupulous good faith and candor are always required. 

 In this case if the seller is the client and they were, this agent was surely doing the exact opposite. Knowing that the buyer would go to the full asking price and withholding that information from the agents client-the seller, was in direct contradiction of her agency duties.
   Now agency has acknowledged the relationship of the selling agent and the buyer (s). Agents today must disclose whom they are working for. Today the term “buyers’ agent” has become common. The buyers’ agent now, although in most cases is still paid by the Sellers’ but is allowed to represent the buyer (s), but it must be disclosed in writing at the beginning of the agent/buyer relationship, and disclosed to the seller (s) of the home at the presentation of the buyer (s) offer.
     It is a very different world we live in now compared to not more than 20 years ago when most buyer (s) assumed incorrectly that the agent answering their questions, driving them from place to place, eating out and discussing real estate with them in fact represented the Owners of the home they were going to buy.

   I expect that spring 2011 will be a better market than last year. I believe that prices will go up a bit from the previous years of decline and new buyers wanting to live in wonderful neighborhood with a meriad of great assests will bring a breath of fresh air to our Real Estate market! JMO.  

If you are thinking of selling or buying a home or know of someone who may please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email at

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The information of this article has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, and although every effort has been made to be accurate, it is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to the accuracy and the writing shall not be held liable for any accidental errors.