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  • Barefoot Realty

Real estate transactions: Your questions answered!

Recently, we’ve had several buyers ask the question: “How does a real estate transaction occur in Florida?” The following describes a real estate transaction and answers questions about representation and commissions.

Can a Realtor® only represent a seller or a buyer? No. There are two sides to every real estate transaction—the seller’s side or the buyer’s side. A Realtor® can represent only one side in a single agent representation or she can give limited representation to both sides, as Florida real estate law allows a real estate salesperson to be a transactional broker, which gives specific limited duties to an agent for both parties she represents. This type of limited representation allows a licensee to facilitate a real estate transaction by assisting both the buyer and the seller providing that the agent does not represent one party to the detriment of the other party when acting as a transaction broker to both parties.

Can a buyer request an agent that is not the listing agent to ensure that he is represented in a transaction? Yes. A buyer can request that another agent represent him if he isn’t comfortable with a transactional agent.

Can a Realtor® show homes that he has not listed? Yes. Since there are two sides to a transaction, the agent would work for the buyer and can show any listing that his client would like to view. This is how a single agent real estate transaction occurs. We have been surprised that we are asked this question frequently as if buyers believe that only listing agents can sell their own properties. That is definitely not the case.

When should I notify a Realtor® that I am already working with another agent? When you begin a discussion with an agent that is not your Realtor®, you should immediately note that you are already represented. It’s important to note that all real estate agents work on commission only. Real estate agents are not paid a salary.

If I’m already represented but I would like to see a home that another agent has listed, can I ask that agent to show it to me? Yes. Again, let the agent know that you are already represented, but because the agent has the listing, she will be compensated if you purchase the home. Note that when you view homes and are already represented, your Realtor® should be with you when you view homes. If your agent is not with you, then you are relying on the listing agent to answer your questions regarding a home and your agent would not have the benefit of hearing the information. What’s important is to be considerate of an agent on either side of a transaction.

Who pays the commission? The seller pays the commission for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent since the seller is the person listing the home. The commission is paid at closing.

What other closing fees does a seller have? In Florida, a seller normally pays the documentary stamp tax, which goes to the state and is charged on most real estate transactions, and the title insurance as the seller must give clear title to the buyer. The title company closing fee is normally divided between the buyer and seller.

What other closing fees does a buyer pay? Buyers will pay document recording fees and in a community like Orange Harbor will pay prorated maintenance fee and share transfer fee. If a buyer is obtaining a mortgage, then all fees relating to the mortgage and the lender will be paid by the buyer.

Why is the title Realtor® capitalized and has a registered trademark? The term Realtor® is a registered trademark of the National Association of Realtors®. Not all real estate agents are Realtors® if they are not members of the national association. Barefoot Realty real estate agents are members of the local real estate board and also the national association so they all have the designation of Realtor®.

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