PRICE AND TERMS OF SALE
REAL ESTATE COMMISSION
HOW AND WHEN COMMISSION IS EARNED
MULTIPLE LISTING SERVICE (MLS)
AGENCY DUTIES OF A LISTING AGENT
RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES
Price and Terms of Sale
In determining the terms of sale, the most important is the price. Hopefully at this point you have worked with your agent and have a good idea of what your home is worth. Another thing to consider is whether or not any personal property will convey with the house when you sell it. An item is considered personal property if it is not attached or fixed to the home, like washers, dryers, refrigerators, curtains etc. If there is something at it attached or fixed to the property it is considered "real property" and it will convey with the home. In the event that you do not want to include an item like this in the sale, you must exclude it. An example would be a chandelier that has been in your family for generations and want you take it from home to home when you move, since it is attached it must be excluded. It is recommended that any item like this be removed and replace with something comparable prior to listing the home, that way a buyer does not get attached to it.
A lockbox is a unit with a cavity inside where a key to your home can be placed. Only an agent with an electronic key or the combination can get into the lockbox. A lockbox makes it easy for agents to get access to your house. If there was no lockbox an agent would have to call you directly or make arrangements to meet your agent at the house to allow them to show their buyers. This would be inconvenient and since just about every other house has lockbox it would be easier for an agent not to show your property and if you do not have one you could miss out on lots of potential buyers. You can allow or disallow it in the listing agreement with your agent.
Real Estate Commission
Simply put, like everything else in the listing agreement, the commission is negotiable. It is true that there is a certain amount agents expect to earn as a commission and it is typically a percentage based on the sales price. During the listing discussion you and your agent will agree on the amount of the commission.
How and When Listing Commissions are Earned
In your listing contract you agreed to sell for a specific price. Hopefully an agent will bring an able buyer an present you with an offer. If, after negotiation, you reach an agreement with the buyer, then your agent has done his job and earned the commission stated in the listing agreement. Once the sale has closed, the broker gets paid from the proceeds of the sale. If the buyer is unable or unwilling to conclude the sale, the house is placed back on the market and the agent has to begin earning his or her commission all over again. However, if the seller backs out or does not accept an offer that meets the price and terms agreed to in the listing agreement, the listing broker has still earned the commission. They may want to be paid, even though you did not actually sell your home so it is important to consider every detail when completing your listing agreement and accepting an offer to buy your property.
Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
It is best for you to allow your agent to place your house in the local MLS (multiple listing service) because your sales team is greatly multiplied. This is also agreed to in the listing agreement that you sign with your agent.
Agency Duties of a Listing Agent
In a listing agreement it states that your agent is acting in your behalf as a "seller’s agent." This means they are working for you and only you, they have your best interests above all others, in the sale of your home. Sometimes your agent my also have a client interested in your home and in Texas an agent cannot represent both parties in a transaction. Should this situation arise the agent is to notify both parties and give them an option to either get another agent or elect intermediary status. If intermediary is elected, the agent remains a neutral transaction facilitator and cannot give advice or opinions to either party. They are to provide an additional disclosure and treat each party fairly and equally.
Resolution of Disputes
Sometimes disagreements happen and disputes arise and sometimes they are not able to be resolved on your own. The listing agreement states what methods will be used to settle these disputes. Typically through mediation or binding arbitration, both of which ares usually cheaper than hiring an attorney and going to court. Some states require mediation as a first step. You are not required to sign the binding arbitration clause, if you choose not to this gives you the option to hire an attorney and take disputes to court instead. You should consult your attorney for advice on this legal matter.