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Freqently Asked Questions, Part I: General

posted in Real Estate 101 by Kathleen Yamauchi

How do you charge for your services?

The seller is responsible for paying the commission. The compensation is typically divided between the broker listing the property for the seller and the broker representing the buyer.

Can you help me find a realtor in another location?

Yes, we can find you a REALTOR® anywhere.

Do I need an attorney to sell my home?

No, Article 26 of the Arizona Constitution specifically grants real estate agents the legal authority to fill out and complete any and all documentation pertaining to real estate transactions. Real estate agents are recognized by the State of Arizona as an "Attorney in Fact" in matters pertaining to real estate. As an added measure of protection, the language in the Arizona Association of Realtor's documents and forms has been constructed by attorneys to ensure they comply with strict legal and ethical standards.

What is dual agency?

Dual agency occurs when a real estate broker represents both the buyer and seller in the same transaction. Dual agency is legal in Arizona, provided it is fully disclosed and consented to by all parties. If you find yourself involved in a dual agency relationship, before receiving an offer both you and the other party will be asked to consent in writing to this new limited agency relationship.

Since the broker has promised a duty of confidentiality, loyalty and full disclosure to both parties simultaneously, it is necessary to limit these duties in this situation, if both parties consent. This relationship involves the following limitations:

The Agent will deal with the Buyer and the Seller impartially.
The Agent will have a duty of disclosure to both the Buyer and the Seller

However, there are a few exceptions:

The Agent will not disclose that the Buyer is willing to pay a price or agree to terms other than those contained in the Offer, or that the Seller is willing to accept a price or terms other than those contained in the Listing.
The Agent will not disclose the motivation of the Buyer or the Seller to sell unless authorized by the Buyer or the Seller.
The Agent will not disclose personal information about either the Buyer or the Seller unless authorized in writing.
The Agent will disclose to the Buyer the defects about the physical condition of the Property known to the Agent.

What is the MLS System?

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. It is a dynamic and comprehensive listing service for relaying property information to REALTORS®. The MLS system allows a listing agent to market your property to potentially thousands of other subscriber REALTORS®, expanding the marketing of your home well beyond the realm of local buyers.

Buyer's agents almost exclusively utilize the MLS service to access information about the location, price, size, number of bedrooms, architectural style, and special features of your home for their clients. In addition the MLS includes helpful information on available financing, taxes, showing times, and specific closing requirements.
What does FSBO mean?

FSBO (pronounced "fisbo") is an acronym meaning, For Sale By Owner.

What are discount points?

Discount points are paid by the borrower to a lender to reduce the interest rate of a loan. One discount point is equal to one percent of the purchase price.

What is an escrow officer?

An escrow officer is a neutral, third party responsible for overseeing the paperwork and transfer of ownership of property. The escrow officer, who is employed by a title company, performs the title searches, prepares final paperwork, witnesses the document signing, and ensures that the real estate transaction is executed properly and legally.

What is the difference between an agent and a broker?

The difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker lies in the amount ofeducation and experience each has. While both agent and broker may list and sell real estate, the broker has additional administrative responsibilities.

A real estate agent is tested and licensed by the state, is considered an independent contractor, and must work under a licensed broker.

A real estate broker is required to have additional education and experience, is authorized to operate a private real estate firm, and supervises the transactions conducted by the salespeople, to ensure the ethical and legal standards established by the Arizona Association of REALTORS® are upheld.

What is a short sale?

A short sale is the process whereby homeowners who are in default on their mortgage, come to an agreement with the lender to sell the property for less than the balance owed on the mortgage.