What Consumers Need to Know When Buying Real Estate in Alabama

Don’t Be Afraid–Be Aware

Representation

First and foremost the consumer needs to know for sure that they have a qualified Realtor® to represent them whether they are buying or selling. Don’t take this relationship for granted; know for certain. Agency relationships that establish representation cannot be assumed or implied. They must be in writing. Let me explain a few reasons why the consumer needs to be represented by someone.

First, buying and selling real estate is very technical in the sense that certain processes must be completed and in a particular order. Buying and selling real estate is also very legalistic. Most real estate transactions close without any major complications either prior to, or after closing. It is the exceptions to that rule when the consumer finds out just how technical and legalistic real estate sales can be. After- market conflicts are seldom settled between buyers and sellers. Tempers flare, distrust and disbelief sets in, accusations are made toward everyone involved in the transaction. Finally law suits are filed to settle the dispute.

Law suits create a need for both parties to hire legal counsel. In preparation of the case it is determined that you the consumer, was not represented by the Realtor® that you worked with. At the time you began looking at homes you didn’t want to sign any type of contractual agreements. In this situation, according to Alabama law, the Realtor® was working as a Transaction Broker and was limited to the duties they could perform for you. A Transaction Broker is a licensee who assists one or more parties in a contemplated real estate transaction without being an agent or fiduciary or advocate for the interest of that party to a transaction. In order to have been represented in Alabama you would have had to sign a Single Agency Agreement with a brokerage firm. Remember, agency relationships can’t be assumed or implied. They must be in writing. After the fact is a bad time to learn that your best interest was not represented when you made the largest investment of a life-time.

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My Agent Didn’t Tell Me—What Can I Do?

Some situations are confusing!

I was asked by a reader to elaborate on a personal situation that exists in the purchase of a home.  This is what she wrote; “Hi! I was wondering about a situation that I have going on with the company that sold us our home. I am having a hard time buying insurance because my roof has not been replaced in 26 1/2 years. And this was not disclosed at the time of closing. Can you give me some advice?” As you can see she gave me very few facts to work with but I will write this as a response to her.

 I appreciate the fact that you valued our opinion enough to write in seeking a response. First I must disclose that I am not an attorney and do not give legal advice, other than advising you to seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney. I will however, share some Alabama laws and real estate practices that can affect a buyer or seller of real estate in Alabama.

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Meaningful Conversation for Alabama Realtors

Alabama Realtors--Warn Your Buyers

2012 is license renewal year for Realtors® in Alabama and each agent must complete 15 hours of Continuing Education which is required by the Alabama Real Estate Commission. I have been holding CE classes all across the state and have noticed so many agents experiencing difficulties with the delicate balance between our RECAD requirements and having a meaningful conversation when contacting a prospective buyer for the first time. Since I encourage classroom participation, I have heard some of the most experienced, most successful real estate role play their RECAD process. I am shocked at their omission of the most important information we can share. Omitting this type information could affect the financial wellbeing for someone buying real estate in Alabama. Sharing this type information would definitely qualify as having a meaningful conversation. I’m sure you have already figured out that I am referring to the fact that Alabama is a Caveat Emptor state. For those outside the boundaries of Alabama, I will explain the importance of this statutory law.

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