There are a myriad of service levels a seller can opt into when selling their home, with a payment system to match. There are flat fee commission based services, percentage based commissions, discount/limited service commissions and full service commissions that can vary in percentages, depending on the negotiations that take place between a seller and agent.
Realtors must be very careful in their role in the process, being sure that they perform their fiduciary responsibilities as promised in the Agency Disclosure. Sometimes the line between representing their buyer and a seller who chooses a limited service brokerage can get very blurry.
As an example, we have a buyer who chose to purchase a home which was listed by a limited service, discount brokerage. Our agent brought the sellers their offer (as instructed in the MLS). The sellers didn’t know what they were suppose to do if they wanted to counter and were very open about their confusion. Our agents gave them a counter offer form, explaining that she could not advise them on how to complete it without violating agency. They got through that hurdle and the offer and counter were accepted. Required disclosures were another huge hurdle….the sellers didn’t have any. Reluctantly, our agent provided the sellers with blank disclosures to complete.
Sellers who do not understand what is required of them present buyers agency with a dilemma. While the agent wants their buyer to get the house, they do not want nor should they do the work of a listing agent or seller. It presents huge liability issues since the agency representation becomes very gray.
Sellers who choose a discount and limited service brokerage need to have an understanding of the responsibilities they take on when doing so. They should not rely on a buyers agent to walk them through the process by default.