Musings from the Mountains

As a Realtor® I don’t usually look forward to July 1st.  That is when our forms we use for real estate transactions change each year.  The North Carolina Real Estate Commission and the North Carolina Bar Association confer and update our forms as necessary.  It seems this year they have outdone themselves.  Due to several nationwide lawsuits over seller and buyer paid commissions, much has changed.  Multiple listing services will no longer be permitted to list commissions paid to Realtors® for their services and their time involved in a real estate transaction.  Also, we now must have a written agreement with a buyer as to the compensation for our services before we can tour a home with that buyer.  I believe that most sellers will still want to pay commissions for a buyers’ agent, as they have in the past.  However, that is now totally up to each seller as to whether they will offer any compensation for buyers’ agents, and if they do offer commissions, how much they will offer.  If I am representing a buyer who wants to make an offer on a home, it appears I will have to contact the listing agent for that home to ascertain if the seller is offering a commission to a buyer’s agent.  If there is no commission offered for a buyers’ agent, we can attempt to negotiate a commission into the buyers’ offer.  The bottom line though, if the seller will not negotiate a buyers’ agent commission, then the buyer will be obligated to pay the commission agreed upon in the written buyers’ agent agreement.  For some buyers, this may not be an issue at all.  For others, for instance a young couple who are first-time buyers, this can be very difficult.  First time buyers will not only have down payments and closing costs to cover, but also the buyers’ agent commission if none is offered by the seller.   Many first-time buyers will simply not be able to write those checks, effectively preventing them from purchasing a home.

All this is very new to us.  Hopefully, as we implement the new process, we can get the kinks worked out.  If you have any questions about how these new regulations will affect you, please let us know.  We will be happy to go over the new forms and procedures with you individually.