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Let Me Speak to the Listing Agent-How You are Represented in Florida

Posted by Benjamin Dona on Thursday, December 21st, 2017 at 3:52pm.

Advice about Agent Representation in SW FloridaA familiar phone call each week comes in, "I want to speak with the listing agent for property such and such." A very common occurrence in our office as our website lists all active properties for sale in the six major areas that we cover (Bonita Springs, Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva Islands – known as the Lee Island and Paradise Coasts). Let's chat a few minutes about representation in Southwest Florida and what you should know before making this inquiry.

You’re in a quandary when on the receiving end, because first and foremost the person on the other end isn't really interested in anything you answer, only whether or not you'll direct them to the listing agent. OK, with thousands of properties listed on our site – I'm always trying to figure out the easiest response since I already know the best one!

Why do you want to speak with the seller's agent? If you're interested in buying a property and want to speak with the seller's agent, then I assume you believe you'll get the property for less because you think the seller's agent will reduce the commission, thus reducing the price of the home. In some cases, that may well be true. My experience is the larger the company, the less likely this occurs. Typically, their policy is if the seller buys another property through them, then they will reduce the commission on that next transaction to the seller – now a buyer for them. But, this is a big but, they don't like working on the "if come" so reducing the commission on a sale, when the seller may not buy, or doesn't close, means the reduced commission is on the "if come" of a buy. Therefore, the buyer asking for a listing agent would receive nothing less than what the seller gave in any case.

More importantly, what does it mean when you, as a buyer, is not represented on a purchase in Florida? Quite simply, the agent representing a seller and a buyer needs written permission changing the relationship to a transaction broker with limited duties to both parties, or they are working as the seller's agent and are not representing the buyer at all. No in-betweens here, either it's limited representation or no representation. You should ask for the disclosure describing how, and who, the agent is representing. The state of Florida assumes all agents are working as Transaction Brokers (limited duties to both parties) unless specified by written agreement. Agents and brokers are required, by Florida law, to give you a disclosure explaining this relationship.  Keeping in mind, transaction brokers owe you a limited financial duty which makes it much harder for you to sue them if they mess it up.

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