Thursday, February 3, 2011

Changes to Agency Law

Minutes ago, House Bill 1907 passed the Virginia House of Delegates.

This bill makes noteworthy changes to the laws regarding Agency in Virginia.

The highlights of this legislation are:

1. All brokerage agreements (including buyer agency agreements) must be written.  It it has long been a practice to require written listing agreements, and most agents follow this quite well.  However, buyer agency is another animal.  While it has always been a best practice to have a written buyer agency agreement,  it's a step skipped all too often,  especially among friends.

2.  Dual agency, while still legal, requires an enhanced disclosure  which essentially explains that the agent CAN NOT do all the things the client probably wants his agent to do.  I never like to say "Never", but dual agency is, in my opinion, very rarely a good option for anyone in a transaction, and essentially, this new law is that we spell that out for the clients.

3.  Since we never seem to get it right, the Property Disclosure Law is being revised AGAIN.  Now, we're going to require consumers to use a web site maintained by the Virginia Real Estate Board.  I am sort of interested to see how this plays itself out.

4.  Real estate agents are given immunity from law suits for reasonably relying on publicly available information. This part of the legislation is designed to protect real estate agents from getting sued because they represented square footage of a home based on the public tax records for that home. 

Interested in learning more about this bill?  Go to the source:
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