Home Buyer Representation; Florida West Coast
Home Buyer Representation; Florida West Coast
True Buyer Representatives in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee, and Pasco Counties are available for Florida Home Buyers. Florida is a “caveat emptor” state which serves as a “buyer beware” warning that the buyer needs to “be aware” of real estate nuances.
Today, there are more than 450,000 licensed real estate agents in the state of Florida, which is more than any other state, including California.
While there are thousands of “Brokers” to choose from…less than 30 in the entire state actually represent buyers exclusively, without any conflict of interest.
Why so few? Because it takes a high level of expertise and confidence to give up ½ of the business (representing sellers) and still make a good living focusing only on homebuyers. That thought scares most brokers who think they must rely on having “for sale” signs to generate business. Not so.
Besides in Florida, legally you cannot serve 2 masters with opposing interests…which is why Florida is made up of mostly “Transaction Brokers” that offer no loyalty to either party…they just facilitate the transaction without advocating for anyone.
Today, you have found someone you can count on, to represent ONLY your best interest without double talk. We are true Buyer Brokers (also called Exclusive Buyer Agents) who exclusively and legally represent only home buyers for more than 30+ years.
Call Buyers Broker of Florida for a no pressure chat to answer your hardest questions: 727-202-9130.
3 Facts about Florida Buyer Representation that Home Buyers don’t know
1. Florida is the only state that does not have mandatory agency disclosures. Realtors don’t even have to tell you that they don’t work for you. When a problem arises, it will be a surprise to learn that you have no advocate.
Years ago, all agents had to tell buyers who they really represented...but too many brokerages complained that it was causing problems for them.
Traditional RE offices did not want to disclose to buyers that they really don’t work for them, so the Florida Real Estate Commission removed that Broker Agency Disclosure requirement.
2. Today almost all Florida Realtors work as “Transaction Brokers” with absolutely no fiduciary duties to the home buyer. No loyalty, no full confidentiality, no full disclosure....they simply facilitate the transaction...sometimes for both buyer and seller at the same deal. They cannot give advice, or advocate for you, but some may try to convince you differently.
3. Current Florida Agency Laws protect the Broker’s $ commission $, not you, the consumer. Florida’s broker responsibilities have been diluted and in many cases true buyer representation is either non-existent or simply a watered down version due to the potential for conflict of interest.
Do Florida home buyers want representation?
Absolutely! Most home buyers want to be fully represented but are not sure of who works for who or how to even find a true buyer broker.
Blame the “Buyer Representative” confusion on the current convoluted laws in Florida.
By removing mandatory agency disclosures, now brokers do not have to be honest with the consumer. Brokers no longer have to tell you who their allegiance is to.
That is important because either an agent works solely for you or they work for the seller…consumers should be advised of the choice to use a buyer's agent that works exclusively for them, but that is no longer a Florida Agency Disclosure requirement.
At one time, Florida laws did require mandatory disclosures that protected the home buyer, but not anymore…so the more you know, the better chance you will have to find an agent that solely works for you. If the office lists property, they cannot exclusively represent home buyers.
Here’s the untold story about Florida Agency Laws…
Up until the 1990’s all agents represented the seller. Even agents that were working with the buyers were legally required to get the highest price and most favorable terms for the seller. Home buyers had absolutely no one looking out for them.
As a few brokers started representing the home buyer, Florida responded by creating “dual agents” to represent both the buyer and seller in the same transaction. That way, some brokers were still able to keep making that double commission.
However back then, brokers had to disclose their status as a “dual agent,” which sounded too close to the words “double agent”. Those words were easy for home buyers to understand and they rejected “dual agency”.
So again, Florida changed the rules to accommodate the brokers. They re-named “dual agents” to “transaction brokers”, a nicer title, with even less broker responsibility to the consumer.
So today, all brokers are presumed to be “Transaction Brokers”, unless there is a written agreement for single agency representation.
On a positive note, there are some dedicated brokers in Florida that do practice Exclusive Buyer Representation, as a true fiduciary for home buyers. They are called Exclusive Buyer Agents…like us.
What is a fiduciary?
A fiduciary is a person who has a legal or ethical relationship of trust with another party. The duty of a fiduciary is to promote only the best interest of the person(s) who they have established that relationship with.
A fiduciary has greater knowledge and expertise about the matters being handled. Therefore, they are held to the highest standard of conduct and trust above that of a casual business relationship.
The fiduciary must avoid all “conflicts of interest” particularly when the potential benefit to them conflicts with what is best for the person they are supposed to be representing.
For example: A broker who is a true buyer representative cannot recommend their client to use certain services without disclosing the financial benefit or other perks that the broker might receive.
Many seller/listing offices have “affiliate” controlled business relationships with lenders, title companies, inspectors and insurance companies where they may receive some benefit for the recommendation, but disclosures are like muddy water…It is impossible to see clearly.
Who can have a Fiduciary Relationship in real estate?
Single Agent: a Fiduciary relationship is established in writing only with whomever the agent is representing; either the Buyer or the Seller, but not both. Transaction Brokers offer no fiduciary relationships.
- Buyer can have a fiduciary relationship only with a Buyer’s Broker or Buyers Agent.
- A Seller can have a fiduciary relationship only with the Seller’s Broker or Sellers Agent. (also called listing agent)
A fiduciary relationship in Florida must be a written agreement that spells out the duties, requirements and expectations of both parties.
Fiduciary duties for true Florida representatives
Fiduciary duties in Real Estate are: Loyalty, Confidentiality, Full Disclosure and Skill, Care and Obedience.
The problem for Florida Home Buyers is that very few brokers in Florida offer fiduciary duties. Only a seller’s agent or a buyer’s agent can offer a fiduciary relationship...and most of the time it is a “hit or miss” if the agent works in a traditional office.
In other words, most brokers only offer it limitedly, depending on the property they are showing and or which broker has the property listed.
Unless you are working with an Exclusive Buyer Agent (that works in a Buyer Brokerage office) whose office never represents sellers and represents only home buyers 100% of the time, you, the homebuyer, are probably not being fully represented at all.
Now that you know about your best choice for the highest level of representation in Tampa Bay Real Estate, let’s take a look at what other Florida relationships you may encounter.
Here is a simple look into all Broker Relationships in Florida:
Sellers broker/agent AKA the Listing Agent: Represents only the seller with full fiduciary duties and total loyalty to the seller. They are seller advocates. They may transition into a “transaction broker”, in order to assist both the buyer and seller in the same transaction. Please note that “assist” only means that they “facilitate” the transaction with no advice, no loyalty and do not advocate for either party.
Duties of a Seller’s agent: to get the highest price and most favorable terms ONLY FOR THE SELLER.
- A seller’s agent may be extra nice while acting like your best friend, but the law says differently.
- Seller agent's job is to make buyers fall in love with their listing.
- Seller agents' legal obligation is to protect the seller.
- Their moral and ethical obligation is also only for the seller.
- A seller’s agent will not tell you that the property is overpriced, or that there are train tracks a block away or that the house needs a new roof.
- Their obligation is only to protect the seller's best interest, so they cannot tell you negative information about the property or the seller's motives.
SURPRISE; Sellers agents are however legally obligated to tell the seller everything about you. How much money you have, how much you love the house and how much you are willing to pay…
Remember: Since there is no requirement in Florida for a broker to tell you who they are really working for, chances are that you won’t understand how the game is played until you have a problem...which is always too late.
The listing agent typically represents the seller as a sellers agent and that is who has the “for sale” sign in the yard. Don’t call on a sign in the yard!
Studies have shown that home buyers that use the listing agent will not get the most favorable price or terms. Which is why smart home buyers will always find a buyers agent before they start looking at homes.
Biggest home buyer misconception: Some home buyers think that working only through the listing office (seller's agent) will automatically lower the commission and the purchase price to the buyers benefit.
Absolutely not true! A home buyer will never benefit from calling the listing agent...only the listing agent will benefit by keeping both the listing commission and the selling commision...in their own pocket, not yours.
What a Transaction Broker really is…
All brokers in Florida are presumed to be “Transaction Brokers”, unless there is a single agency relationship established in writing. Almost all Florida Brokers practice as “Transaction Brokers” as they “facilitate” the transaction with no fiduciary duties. No loyalty; no total confidentiality, no full disclosure.
While the broker is legally allowed to call that “limited representation”, it is not true representation as common sense would dictate...not at all what you would think. The licensee can use the words “limited representation”, yet no part of that is really any “representation” at all. Read on:
Legal definition of a Florida Transaction Broker:
Florida statute 475 “Transaction Broker” definition states: “Limited” representation means that a buyer or seller is not responsible for the acts of the licensee. In addition, parties are giving up their rights to undivided loyalty of the licensee. This aspect of limited representation allows a licensee to “facilitate” the transaction by “assisting” both the buyer and seller.”
Duties of a Transaction Broker: To be a middle person...a facilitator, to put the deal together. They cannot advocate have anyone’s back. It is simply common sense that sellers and buyers do have opposing interests and are best served by having their own agent.
Remember: The seller always wants the highest price for their property. They also do not want to fix anything or reduce the price for a short appraisal. You, the home buyer, want to pay the lowest price and not be burdened with property deficiencies. For certain, you do not want to pay out of pocket for a short appraisal. It is impossible for a transaction broker to “help” you, which is why every home buyer needs to have their own true buyer agent.
What is a “Buyer Agent” in a traditional listing office?
They may act as your buyer agent if the situation fits. If they are showing you homes not listed with their office, they can probably represent you as a buyer agent. However, if their office agency policy is a “Transaction Brokerage” they must adhere to their office policy and remain as a transaction broker. If the property is listed with their office, they cannot represent you as a buyer agent, as that would be a conflict of interest.
In simple terms…what can a traditional agent do for you?
They may sometimes represent buyers, sometimes sellers, sometimes act as a transaction broker. They can change hats several times a day even when they are showing you homes that same day.
Buyer Agent/ Buyers Broker in an Exclusive Buyer Agency office is a Home Buyers friend. An Exclusive Buyer Agency office is an office dedicated to only homebuyers. As such, they only represent the best interest of the buyer and never the seller. There is no double talk, secrets from the buyer or conflict of interest. They do not act as “transaction brokers” and never make double commission.
Duties of an Exclusive Buyer Agent:
- To promote the buyer's wants and needs.
- To advocate the homebuyers position.
- To disclose everything about the property or about the seller.
- Exclusive Buyer Agents (EBA) have a committed relationship of trust with the Home Buyer only.
- EBA’s never have an obligation to any seller to push any particular inventory on the buyer.
- Exclusive Buyer Agents do have access to any and all properties on the market and will show you all suitable properties without bias.
Buyers Broker of Florida is an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage that represents only the home buyer. We provide all home buyers with the following:
- 100% Loyalty: Only and always on your side on every property, in all situations, with no conflict of interest.
- 100% Confidentiality: We do not blab about your money, your job, or how much you love the property. We keep your personal life confidential.
- 100% full disclosure: We tell you everything...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Absolutely no secrets.
- Skill care and obedience. We stay educated about real estate nuances in order to serve you best and will always obey your lawful instructions.
Remember: Not all Brokers are the same. They all have different relationships and different duties. Brokers also have different levels of experience. You are alway best served by a brokerage that is committed only to you. One that is experienced at buyer representation. We are the most experienced Buyer Brokerage in the State of Florida.
Homebuyers that understand will use Exclusive Buyer Representation in Florida…because having a LOYAL real estate partner makes sense.
- Are you overwhelmed with home buying?
- Stressed about overpaying?
- Not sure what to buy?
- Or where?
- Don’t know who to trust?
We are knee deep in working daily only for buyers. As Exclusive Buyer Brokers we know all the home buying answers and can make you a confident home buyer.
Often, sellers hide problems and sellers agents claim not to know. Even experienced home buyers cannot figure out on their own how to resolve issues...or even how to recognize a red flag…Florida is not like other states.
Here is a true short story...limited to just 3 transactions that are closing at the end of this month.
- #1 Nice luxury home. Inspections reveal that the top-of-the-line washer does not work. Agent wants to replace it with a cheap model, claiming that it is the same model...it’s not. We negotiate a brand new top of the line model for the buyer.
- #2 We negotiate to have the seller fix the roof. Seller does a minor roof repair but skips the most important part; replacing the rotten wood. We make them go back and replace the rotten wood and also provide a receipt.
- #3 New construction, national builder. Buyer signed contract months ago with the builder which included some promised upgrades. Now the builder claims that they can’t, because they no longer provide that in the community...so is it just too bad for the buyer? Not in my book...
There are differences of opinion and problems that come up in most transactions which require a skilled buyer's agent to resolve, negotiate or renegotiate. We at Buyers Broker of Florida are experienced Exclusive Buyer Agents and pros at spotting the red flags. We remove a buyer's stress by resolving issues for them.
Remember: The reason there are two attorneys in every courtroom is so that each side has an advocate and is treated fairly. The reason attorneys are not allowed to represent both the plaintiff and defendant in the same case is because it is an inherent conflict of interest. Think about it.
Would you use the same lawyer that is defending your opposition? I bet not… then why use the broker that is representing the seller or a transaction broker that has “0” loyalty to you? You have a choice…
Commission paid to Tampa Bay Buyer Representatives
Contrary to what many consumers think, the commission to all brokers in Florida is paid the same. Brokers are either paid by the seller, or from a co-op fee from the listing office or a broker fee included in the buyer's offer.
We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your interest in Buyer Representatives in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee and Sarasota County.
(This article is authored by Broker Eve Alexander, formerly an instructor for Florida Agency Rules and an court recognized expert witness in real estate lawsuits where buyers or sellers sue their agent).
TRUE BUYER REPRESENTATION 727-202-9130