Caveat Emptor, or Buyer Beware in Virginia.

Advice from a Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent

I would have to admit, I thought I would never need to use Latin when I was at Stonewall Jackson High School all those years ago. My teacher, her name eludes me at this time, would be shaking her finger and telling me that she told me so and that it isn’t a “dead” language. She would, though, be very happy that I am about to teach others a little bit of Latin that will be very important in the home buying process.

Caveat Emptor means “let the buyer beware” and is good advice for buyers in the state of Virginia if they do not have their own real estate agent representation. Virginia, in the not to distant past, only allowed representation by a licensed real estate agent/broker to the sellers of a property. What that meant was if you were buying a property and had a real estate agent/broker by your side, he or she was required to maintain loyalty to the sellers. This was the case even if the sellers had never met the agent, and why Virginia was a “buyer beware” state.

On October 1st 1995 Virginia General Assembly defined buyer agency so buyers could be represented by their own real estate agent. This has turned out to be a very good thing for buyers and the real estate market as a whole. When a buyer wants representation by a licensed real estate agent they will have to sign a buyer-broker agreement. The challenge here is that many buyers do not understand if they do not have a buyer-broker agreement with the agent, that agent is still required to maintain loyalty to the sellers.

Let’s give you some examples, if you are looking at homes to buy and the agent that is showing you those homes does not have a buyer-broker agreement with you this is how it works: The agent has to protect the sellers, keep the sellers information confidential, give the sellers all known information about you, get the best offer for the seller, cannot compare competing properties with you, and many other requirements. Now here are a few things an agent can do for you if you have a buyer-broker agreement. The agent can protect and educate you the buyer, keep all information about you confidential, share all known information about the sellers, find the best properties, and negotiate the best deal for you.

Many of the people I meet believe they are real estate experts since they have owned a home, rented a home and even if they have just lived in a home. I want to ask you to please be careful when you are looking at homes whether they are new or old, have a signed buyer-broker agreement and the agent with you. The funny thing is the agent will not cost you anything because his or her commission is paid by the sellers, some situations are excluded. The best agents will help in more real estate transactions in two or three months then most people will buy and sell in a lifetime. This kind of experience should be by your side when you are considering to buy and/or sell- contact us today if you’re looking for a Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent.