A few days ago a buyer contacted me to write an offer on a Destin area “For Sale By Owner” property. He asked how much I would charge to “fill out the contract”. I responded with my fee, which I thought was fair. Here is what I wrote the buyer:
“Most ‘For Sale By Owners’ (FSBOs) gladly pay a buyer’s agent, but I understand if this particular party won’t do it and am grateful you asked me to help. However, if I get involved writing contracts I am immediately taking on responsibility, liability, care, diligence, etc., and thus there is a fee.” I suggested he contact an attorney to write his offer if that were more suitable in terms of fee for representation. The minimum form of representation a real estate broker in Florida can provide to the public is called “No Brokerage Representation”. Those duties to the buyer or seller include:
1. Dealing honestly and fairly;
2. Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of the residential real property which are not readily observable to the buyer; and
3. Accounting for all funds entrusted to the licensee.
The minimum form of representation I provide, however, is at a higher level, called “Transaction Brokerage”, which in Florida means:
(a) Dealing honestly and fairly;
(b) Accounting for all funds;
(c) Using skill, care, and diligence in the transaction******
(d) Disclosing all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property and are not readily observable to the buyer;
(e) Presenting all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing;
(f) Limited confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party. This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price, that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer, of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property, that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered, or of any other information requested by a party to remain confidential; and
(g) Any additional duties that are mutually agreed to with a party.
Notice, importantly, that omitted by the “No Brokerage Representation” designation is that of using “skill, care and diligence”. I could not, in good conscience, write a contract for a buyer nor represent a seller not using skill, care and diligence. What are the opposites of these attributes?
Skill is something that has been “acquired by training”. The opposite is “inability”.
Care is “judiciousness in avoiding harm”. If I weren’t careful in writing your offer, what harm could be caused to you?
Diligence is “conscientiousness in paying attention to a task”. Who would accept the opposite– sloppiness and inattention?
Writing a real estate contract in Florida, or presenting one to a seller, to me, requires, at a minimum, skill, care and diligence. A real estate transaction is commonly one of the most substantial financial transactions a person makes in his lifetime. Who would you want representing you?
It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.