By Emily Marek
December 5. 2023
Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the state of Washington will require real estate agents to enter into broker services agreements with both buyers and sellers, changing the way agents and clients form relationships.
These revisions to Agency Law require that brokers enter into a brokerage services agreement with their client before — or as soon as reasonably practical after — the provision of real estate brokerage services. This contract will include stipulations like length of partnership, exclusivity vs. non-exclusivity and the rate of compensation.
Washington is the first state to enact such legislation.
Looking at the law
It may sound confusing, but, according to Annie Fitzsimmons, a lawyer for Washington REALTORS®’ Legal Hotline, it’s a way to ensure that buyers are informed about their real estate transactions, like what real estate services will cost and how those costs will be paid — before the buyer agent provides services.
“ ‘Buyers and brokers will now enter a brokerage services agreement at a time that is earlier than either of them may be comfortable to enter that agreement’ … If that’s the only sound bite you hear, that probably sounds alarming,” Fitzsimmons told Seattle Agent. “But it makes sense in the long run,” she said. “Buyers need to know what it is they are entering into when they agree to work with an agent.”
Fitzsimmons explained that the statute simply requires brokers to disclose to the buyer, upfront, what their services will cost, the same way that, say, a consumer would expect an auto mechanic to explain what servicing their car would cost. She called the process “identical” to a body shop asking a consumer to sign something acknowledging receipt of the repair estimate.
So, then, why weren’t these laws in place prior to Jan. 1? Read More
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