It amazes me on how many of my Real Estate colleagues I interact with everyday – do not know the basics – or the laws.
Today I asked a Listing Agent for the property disclosures on one of their listings. My buyer wants to make an offer and part of the process is reviewing the property disclosures. In Washington DC, property disclosures are required to be filled out by all sellers; with very few exceptions. Foreclosures, court-ordered sales and brand-new construction are the most common allowed exceptions. So when I asked for these disclosures; the agent simply replied; “He disclaimed knowledge of the property; he’s an investor.”
Now “Disclaiming” is allowed in the state of Maryland; and is the norm for all properties in Virginia; but in DC; Disclosure is ALWAYS required unless one of the very few exceptions applies. The fact that the owner is an investor is irrelevant.
So I figured this must be a new Real Estate agent; or at least new to DC. Not that “new” is a reason to not know the law of land – but at least there is some reason.
Any guess as to how long this agent has had a DC Real Estate License? Come on guess. GUESS…. Drum roll…. Six Years. Yes – Six.
How do you make sure your agent knows what they are doing? Well they may be nice enough. They might have been in business for years. They may have even sold many homes. That doesn’t mean that they are not doing real estate by the seat of their pants!
Look for agents who have taken additional training or who have designations. Now I personally find it a bit obnoxious seeing agents with 25 letters behind their name. There is 1 agent I know that displays their name like : Jane Doe, Realtor, MBA, GRI, ABR, CRS, SRES, E-Pro. HUH? Maybe this real estate person should spend a little more time working with clients than in class…
Yes, additional training is great; but let’s not get crazy. You should also check to see if they have any complaints filed against them (and make sure they even have a license in the state they are working). Yes, I once worked with an agent that I found out towards the end of the transaction – wasn’t even licensed in the state she was working.
Do your homework and protect your interests.