Should Realtors Disclose if They Haven’t Represented a Short Sale?

Should Realtors Disclose if They Haven’t Participated in a Short Sale Transaction?

I thought of this question last week while contemplating the molasses-like pace of Realtor politics and maneuverings … does a Realtor have an obligation to disclose to a potential client if they have not yet done a short sale in Charlottesville?

It’s really a rhetorical question, but I’ll answer it anyway … yes.

Article 11 of the Realtor Code of Ethics states: (bolding mine)

The services which REALTORS® provide to their clients and customers shall conform to the standards of practice and competence which are reasonably expected in the specific real estate disciplines in which they engage; specifically, residential real estate brokerage, real property management, commercial and industrial real estate brokerage, land brokerage, real estate appraisal, real estate counseling, real estate syndication, real estate auction, and international real estate.

REALTORS® shall not undertake to provide specialized professional services concerning a type of property or service that is outside their field of competence unless they engage the assistance of one who is competent on such types of property or service, or unless the facts are fully disclosed to the client. Any persons engaged to provide such assistance shall be so identified to the client and their contribution to the assignment should be set forth.

Short Sales in Charlottesville are common now, and likely aren’t going away anytime soon … knowing about them is now a core competence. Knowing how they work, whom to call locally who is expert in the matter, what data to read, what blogs and industry reports are pertinent …

This Article speaks to at least a few things:

1 – A mentoring program for the real estate industry is beyond needed.

2 – Customers/potential clients (they’re different things by the way; see Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-2) should be interviewing their potential representation as if they are hiring someone to represent them in the biggest financial transaction of their lives. Because they are.

3 – If a Realtor is not doing at least five (and some have argued ten) transactions a year, they are most likely not up to speed on the most recent happenings, changes, relationships that are crucial to client success in this market. As it stands right now* fewer than 7% of Realtors in the Charlottesville MSA have met the “at least ten transactions” criteria. Fewer than 18% have met the “at least five.”

4 – The (Charlottesville) real estate market is evolutionary and changing every single day. I’ve spoken to eminently qualified Realtors in Charlottesville whom I respect and trust who state that even they feel like new Realtors in this market. If you’re not doing this full-time – living, breathing, eating, sleeping, real estate – you’re likely doing a disservice to yourself, your profession and most importantly your clients who depend on their representation to be competent.

Advice for buyers of short sales: Be patient. And prepared.

(Buyers) put in an offer and they wait and wait (sometimes for months). They hope that at any moment their real estate agent will call and say the magic words, “The bank approved your short sale!”

Part 2: I’m a Top Producer, So What?

* Right now – Monday morning, 9 August 2010.

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  1. Julie Emery August 9, 2010 at 14:20

    Wow! There still are such creatures? In our market they must not be doing much business!

  2. Mark Walker August 9, 2010 at 14:44

    I couldn’t agree more.The challenge is who does the training??? It is a major flaw that an agent that sells less than a house a quarter can represent client without disclosure.

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  4. Mark Boyd August 12, 2010 at 09:03

    I agree with Mark Walker and really with the post entirely. It’s all about integrity and doing what’s right. I’ve encountered so many horror stories of legal issues that have arisen in short sales because the agent wasn’t knowledgeable enough of the process. More work for less money and, ironically, it requires even more knowledge. Thanks for a great post!


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