New Buyer Agency Law: Starting January 1st, 2024, all real estate agents (brokers) in the state of Washington are required to deliver the Washington State Agency Law Pamphlet and enter into a service agreement with the buyer or seller “as soon as reasonably practical”.
Full Disclosure: A typical real estate service agreement would be a Listing Agreement or a Buyer Agency Agreement. A listing agreement between the property owner and the broker is expected and has
been required by the state for years. So, for this article, I’m focused on the Buyer Agency Agreement which until now has not been required by the state.
Washington state has had a buyer brokerage agreement and an Agency Agreement since 1997. Brokers have been required to timely deliver the agency pamphlet since that time. However, until now, brokers were not required to enter into a Buyer Agency Agreement. Until now, only about 30% of agents used the agreement in the past.
This will be a big change for buyers and brokers that have not utilized a buyer agency agreement in the past. Buyers have been able to work with brokers without a buyer broker agreement obligating buyers to pay for services. For the buyer agency agreement includes the area to be searched for homes, an expiration date, and how the broker is compensated.
Agents must enter the agreement with the buyer “as soon as reasonably practical”. Further explained, before the broker delivers real estate services. This would include before consulting with a buyer to discuss buying strategies, explaining the contracts, searching for properties, or assisting the buyer in their home search.
This will encourage buyers to be more selective of the agent they choose to work with. Buyers should interview brokers before signing the Service Agreement just as sellers have been doing for years. Brokers are
expected to deliver services with reasonable skill. What is a reasonable skill? The state has a standard in RCW 18.86.120 for general broker duties but there isn’t a set outline of practical tasks or services required by the state.
Every buyer broker will assist buyers in a different way. Their system, experience, and effort will be theirs and theirs alone. At the same time, every buyer will expect a level of service different for other buyers. Simple interview to find if the broker has the skill and expertise meet the buyer expectations will allow both parties to enter the service agreement. Checkout my “No Stress” Buyer System and use it as a baseline.
So, why this new requirement. On the national level, there have been lawsuits, and settlements across the country based on allegations implying price fixing and lack of transparency by some real estate brokers. Our local MLS and Realty Executives were not listed in the suit. That said our MLS and the state are have been listening and staying ahead of the rest of the country by delivering the choices and transparency the people want. See Article.
Check REX2020.com for more blog posts and information about the market and strategies for sellers and buyers. This information is valuable and timely for today’s real estate market. Let me know if you have been thinking about a move … it’s always best to plan ahead.
Contact me directly to schedule a time to meet with me to discuss your needs and expectations. Whether it’s time to buy now or in the future, you will receive options that will help you to put a plan of action in place. Contact Tom Directly.
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