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I have a few friends that are real estate agents (most became such after our friendships began), and one confirmed for me what all real estate professionals pretty much knew, anyway:  agents work for themselves, no matter what the paperwork says.

Imagine that you’re a buyer and spending $10,000 more on a house means you can’t buy a new refrigerator and redo the 50 year old main bathroom.  Or imagine you’re a seller who just needs $10,000 more on a deal to cover the two mortgages and the maxxed out credit cards you’ve used to carry this home and your new home in another state for the last year-and-a-half.  I’m not taking sides or debating merits, mind you, just helping you picture how big a deal $10,000 can be to the average seller or buyer.

Now picture yourself dealing with an agent who will be working for about 1% of the ultimate sales price (mileage may vary, but for our purposes, the listing broker and agent will share 2% and the selling broker and agent will split the other 2%). On $10,000, that’s $100!  So while you’re stressing out over spending an extra $10,000, or sweating whether you’ll walk away from the closing table with the $10,000 you need to break even, the person working on behalf of one (or both) of you to put the deal together may not go the extra mile for just $100.  “After all,” said this friend, “if I am getting five or six thousand dollars already on a deal, am I going to give up a few more nights and another weekend to bring in an extra $100? I don’t think so.”

photo bybormang2

I know some exemplary agents who would do whatever it takes for whichever party is paying them, but for many agents “loyalty” is an amorphous word, bandied about but signifying nothing. 

Oh, yeah, the point of this long cynical explanation was to introduce New York State’s newest disclosure law on who can expect fiduciary duty from an agent:




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