What Does It All Mean? Part 4

Posted December 11, 2023 in Real Estate Trends

tracie demars, Clark County WA real estate agent

I mentioned Mutliple Listing Services (MLS) before. These are services that a Realtor belongs to where we advertise our listings to the public. There are other sites like Redfin, Zillow, etc, but those are marketing sites. The MLS sites are owned and paid for by the REALTORS® that belong to them. The public can absolutely access these sites, and we want you to do so. Think of MLS as a modern-day “Homes for Sale” newspaper. The difference is that being a member of this MLS means that a REALTOR® also has to abide by the rules regarding transparency when listing that home in the MLS. This is good for the public. Most (not all) REALTORS® will hire a professional photographer to come take photos of their listing.

Each MLS is going to have different paperwork for making an offer, or even listing a home. In the SW Washington area, there are two local MLS associations. Some REALTORS® are only members of one, and some REALTORS® are members of both. Most of the Clark County homes are listed just in the local RMLS as, but the further north we go, we might list that home in both the local RMLS and the NWMLS. I have many clients who purchase in Cowlitz County so I must be a member of both MLS associations as again, the further north we go, the more likely a home may be in only one of the MLS associations, and not both. When listing a home in the RMLS, I will use the RMLS paperwork. If I am listing a home in the NWMLS, I will use the NWMLS paperwork. If that home is being listed in both MLS then I will need to use both the paperwork for the RMLS & the NWMLS. When I am writing up an offer for a home, I will only use the Washington State approved addendums as those are the legal forms for the transfer of real property. Currently, when writing up an offer, the average contract is 16 pages for just the basic offer contract. It can be more depending on additional addendums like septic, well, a buyer contingency, etc. There are also legal disclosures which can number between 8-10 pages. This is a long way from the 6 when I first began my real estate career.

In Washington, Oregon, and most of the West Coast, a REALTOR® is a Limited Legal Liability Representative. This means that I am NOT a real estate attorney, but I do have the limited legal authority to fill out the legal documents regarding the transfer of real property as has been provided to me by the real estate attorneys for the state associations and MLS associations that I belong to. It is another level of responsibility and risk that your REALTOR® takes on during your real estate transaction. It is also another fee that we pay to our brokerages as many of our brokerages charge some attorney or liability insurance as there is risk involved. We take many classes offered by the attorney for our state association on how to fill out these forms in a way that best protects the public, our clients, and ourselves.

Real estate is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for someone who is not willing to continually be learning, growing, or honing their craft. One of the best things for real estate, in my opinion, that came out of the late 1900’s was the separation of agency. Let’s talk about agency.

A quick recap of the types of REALTOR® is probably in order first though.

There are 3 types of REALTORS®:

The Sellers REALTOR®:
This is the REALTOR® hired by the seller (or builder) to represent the seller (or builder) in selling the home. Their job is to market the home or community. Their main job is to represent the SELLERS (or builders) to the ‘best of their ability’. This includes experience, education, and knowledge. The Sellers/Builders REALTOR® works for them.

The Buyers REALTOR®:
A buyer’s REALTOR®’s job is to assist the buyer with getting the best home they can in the price range they are pre-approved for. To work WITH the buyer’s lender to keep things moving, and to assist the lender with any information they need for the buyers loan. It’s important that the buyers REALTOR® and lender work as a team for the buyer.

I did say there were 3 types of REALTORS®, right? So what is the 3rd type of REALTOR®? This is the Dual Agent. We’ll discuss the Dual Agent next time.

(To be continued next week)