The real estate business in Florida, from the legal obligations of buyers and sellers, to the etiquette surrounding client-real estate agent interaction, is strictly governed by a complex set of industry rules and Florida State law. All Florida licensed real estate practitioners are duty bound to adhere to a code of industry etiquette, state law and principles. When seeking the services of a real estate agent, you should also check that they are also a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which means the agent must uphold an additional strong code of ethics and are an affiliate of a regulated professional body.

So what do real estate agents do exactly? The answer depends on whom they are representing in the real estate transaction. This is something buyers need to pay particular attention to in order to ensure they get the very best representation during the purchase process. An agent’s duty and responsibilities is dictated by whether the buyer or the seller engages them to represent their interests. If the agent is selling a piece of property and actively advertising the home for sale, they have been engaged by the seller to act on their behalf in any contract for sale of the property, thus they are known as the ‘Listing Agent’. Buyers need to bear this fact in mind when looking for property for purchase. The Listing Agent can legally represent both buyer and seller in a contract for purchase so they act for both parties during the process. However the buyer does have the right to engage their own agent, known as the ‘Buyer’s Agent’ to solely represent their interests in their real estate purchase. This I would recommend when ready to seriously ready to start looking at real estate in your chosen area. A buyer’s agent with local knowledge will save you a lot of time and help you make the best choice to suit your needs.

Buyer’s Agent

The first and very best thing buyers need to know is the services of a buyer’s agent are free to the buyer. The seller, when they sign the listing contract with the agent selected to sell their property, agrees to pay a portion of the sales commission due at closing, to the buyer’s agent, from the seller’s funds. This is great news for buyers as it means they get fair and unbiased representation from their own personal agent during the deal without having to pay for it.

Once you have found a buyer’s agent you would like to work with and represent you. The following is a snapshot of the some of things a buyer’s agent can do for you:

· Conduct specific MLS reak time searches based on your property wish list and produce personalized reports of matching homes
· Preview properties on behalf of the buyer in their absence and report back on suitability. Many agents supply photos or video footage for their buyer’s consideration in such circumstances
· Provide expert knowledge on local communities and districts
· Draft and present the buyer’s offer to purchase property using State approved real estate purchase contracts
· Oversee the contract process for the purchase of the property on behalf of the buyer

This is by no means a complete list. Good buying agents do many other things for their buyers; this is just a guide of some of the key tasks that an agent should conduct on behalf of their buyer.

Listing Agent

A seller will engage a real estate agent once they have come to the decision they wish to sell their home. The seller will sign a listing agreement with their preferred listing agent outlining the expectation of both seller and listing agent. Key details contained in this contract include what price the seller would like the home listed for in MLS, how long the agent will represent the seller, what commissions will be paid to each agent at closing etc.

Once the selling agent has secured the listing they then go to work on behalf of the seller and will do the following things:

· Enter the property details into MLS so the public and other agents representing buyers can view the home online and make further enquiries via the listing agent
· Co-ordinate any viewings on the home by buyers and buyer’s agents
· Advertise the home in other media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, online, TV etc.
· Present any offers the selling agent receives for sale and purchase of the property
· Regularly liaise with the title company to ensure all transaction paperwork is in order and the move towards closing is going smoothly

Again this is by no means an exhaustive list and skilled agents will provide many additional services to their sellers.

In summary; what a real estate agent does for their client all comes down to what the person wishes to accomplish – buy or sell property. If the client wishes to buy, the buying agent is a seeker and provider of first class local knowledge. If the client wishes to sell, the listing agent becomes an expert presenter of product in its’ best possible light. Overall the agent should be the client’s trusted adviser and guide through the maze of real estate and utilize their expertise to ensure the client is satisfied and gets the deal they want.

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