It's the Law:  Buyer Agency Agreements now required in Virginia


by Adam Hopkins, Principal Broker/Owner
Hopkins Real Estate Group, LLC

Most consumers are now going online first, for everything from buying a car to keeping up with their friends. Finding the right home has also been simplified, thanks to the internet, iPads, and smartphones.

Many web savvy home buyers believe they can do it all themselves, without a Realtor(r), however of you  happen to be one of those savvy buyers and you want to buy a home in Virgina, you are now required to sign a Buyer Broker Agreement before actually taking a look at your next home address.

Effective June 1, 2012 a new law requires you to sign with a Realtor(r) before they can show you ANY property. You will have a right to sign a non-client agreement, but after June 1, if you haven't signed one of these two forms and you view a home with a Realtor, they will be breaking a Virginia law!

As a Realtor who works hard for my clients, I've always trusted that my clients appreciate my service, and I would only have them sign a Buyer Broker Agreement when they were ready to write a contract on a home. This of course will no longer be possible.

I never wanted any of my clients to feel that they were trapped, and should only be working with me because they signed a piece of paper that legally says that they are represented by my broker, with me as their agent. It was always my philosophy that my clients will be totally satisfied by the expertise and service that I provide, as well as my excellent negotiation skills.

Having been in the real estate profession for 12 years, I admit that this new change is positive in nature, especially now that the internet has made many home buyers feel that they don't need the services of a Realtor(r). Surprisingly many people don't realize that working with a Realtor(r) who is acting as a buyer's agent is actually free.  Besides being free, a good Realtor(r) can save you untold sums of money, and help you steer clear of many potential problems throughout the course of your home purchase.

Of course many web savvy individuals who feel that they can handle it all themselves will be upset. They will not be able to work with as many Realtors(r) as they want until they find the home they are looking for. And I must say that this is one positive aspect of the new law.

For some consumers Realtors(r) have the same image as ambulance chasing lawyers or perhaps even car salesmen! But remember, just like you, future home buyers out there who go to your job every day and get paid, good Realtors(r) should also be compensated for the value they provide.

Imagine if you went to your job every day for a week, a month or perhaps even longer, and when payday comes, you were told that you won't be getting paid for your prior work, because your boss has decided they want to work with someone different now. Being a Realtor(r) is a job that requires you to spend lots of money even before you make any, so please don't take your Realtor(r) for granted!

Remember a good Realtor(r) will always be looking out for your best interests! If they are not, then perhaps you should be working with a different Realtor(r)!

There's certainly nothing wrong with being web savvy or trying to find exactly what you are looking for out there on the web. But you might want to consider that working with a good Realtor(r) can also save you not just lots of money, but a great deal of time.

No matter how web savvy you are, Realtors(r) can access much more detailed fashion than consumers are able to out on the web. As an example, I can set up a search for you for something as specific as a 4 bedroom home with full unfinished basement, 2 car garage, with 2 acres of land and a stream in the backyard, in that school district you've always wanted.  Not only that, but I can have these specific listings automatically emailed to you hourly, or daily!

The moral of the story is that you don't need to be intimidated by the new law that took effect on June 1, 2012. Choose a great Realtor(r) that will represent you every step of the way in your home search. I will certainly be happy to help you!

**Realtors are not accountants, lenders, or lawyers so if you need legal or financial advice, you should seek out a professional.**