As of July 1st of this year, amendments to the Virginia Code went into effect that clarify new laws relating to buyer agency in Virginia. Many consumers may not be aware of the ins and outs of agency law, but they do know they can hire a real estate brokerage firm to represent them in the sale, purchase or rental of a property. These new amendments to the code seek to clearly identify who represents whom (and how they are represented).
In her article, “Mount Vernon Real Estate Report: Buyer, Be Aware!,” Patch.com reporter Rachel Carter explains these changes. Before July 1, some buyers may never have signed anything until they wanted to make an offer on a property. Now the agent is required to offer a buyer exclusive representation, limited agency, or non-representation before viewing a property. The buyer won’t be required to sign anything, but an agent is now required to ask the buyer to sign something, unless the property is that agent’s listing.
For dual agency situations, Carter writes, “The new amendment to the law has expanded the disclosure for dual agency that explains that if buyers and sellers agree to use an agent to handle both sides of the transaction, the agent can no longer advise or give counsel to either party. The agent plays the role of communicator between the two parties and is not allowed to negotiate on behalf of either side.”