The office policy of Signature Realty Services (SRS) when representing sellers is simple: negotiate the best terms for
the seller according to the guidelines they provided. Go here for the official SRS office policy for sellers.
Co-operation Compensation Policy
The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® provides that REALTORS® must advise clients of the REALTOR®’S company cooperative compensation policies.Upon entering into a listing agreement with a seller, SRS must promptly enter the property's data into the Multiple Listing Service. One datum entered is the Buyer Broker Co-op (BBC) fee. This represents the amount SRS will pay at closing to the agency representing your property's buyer. The National Association of REALTORS® requires listing agencies to disclose the BBC to their sellers. It is the policy of SRS to disclose the BBC and its impact on procuring an offer prior to allowing the seller to sign the listing agreement. Go here to read this SRS policy.
Limited agency, sometimes called dual agency, arises when a licensee represents both the buyer and the Seller in a transaction. There are close to 400 REALTORS® in the Bloomington Board of REALTORS® vying for the same buyers, so the chance is small of the listing agent also representing the buyer on the same property. That's why co-operation compensation
(see above) is important and necessary.
Licensees owe their fiduciary duties to their buyer or seller. A unique circumstance arises when the licensee represents both the buyer AND the seller. How can the licensee offer fiduciary duties to both parties at the same time?
SRS implements the following interpretation of the rules governing limited agency:
SRS may disclose information accessible by any other agent in the Bloomington Board of REALTORS® (BBOR). This includes but is not limited to data in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and to public records. Any BBOR member can access this information, so it makes sense that a limited agent could also provide this information to either limited client.
SRS may NOT disclose information obtained in confidence from either limited client. For example, if a seller with a $300,000 tells SRS, "we are MOTIVATED and we would sell this place for $250,000," then sure enough an offer comes in at $250,000 and SRS says, "Well, you did say you would sell for that price ..." that is an obvious violation of the expected confidentiality between seller and SRS. No other agent would have knowledge of the "$250,000 is okay" detail, so SRS may not divulge that with the seller's prior permission.
The same goes for the buyer. If the buyer says, "We'll put in an offer of $250,000 but we love the place and we're happy to pay full price," then — what a surprise! — a counter comes back at full price and SRS says, "Well, you did say you're happy to pay full price," that is an obvious violation of the confidentiality expected between buyer and SRS. Also, it is not a detail that is common knowledge to all BBOR members, so it may not be disclosed with the buyer's prior permission.
The item 2 scenarios are just examples but they clearly represent the boundaries for what can and can't be disclosed in a limited agency situation. Practically speaking, it's unlikely that SRS would ever enter into either scenario. It's the policy of SRS not to ask a seller's bottom line or buyer's top line, and this is for two reasons. One is that a buyer or seller is entitled to change their minds from one day to the next, so SRS can put itself into a situation of disclosing incorrect information, and that rarely benefits a client's realty interests. Also, if SRS is not in a limited agency situation but is in a co-op situation (working a transaction with another BBOR agent) and the other agent asks for the SRS client's bottom or top line, SRS can honestly reply, "No idea," and not worry about having to keep a poker face to not give away a point of negotiation.
SRS finds limited agency to be the best way to represent clients in a real estate transaction for many reason. Among them, communication is easier. A buyer can relay their points and concerns to SRS, who can in turn relay this information to the seller as clearly as it was explained by the buyer. Also, there is less possibility of an adversarial relationship in the transaction. When different agents represent buyer and seller, an "us" vs "them" mentality can impede forthright resolution of hurdles on the way to closing.
Here is the form a buyer and seller must sign to enter into a limited agency situation with SRS. Contact SRS with any questions you may have on limited agency and how SRS works with buyers and sellers.