From Prospecting to Closing:
Buyer’s Reps Come Prepared
Want to become a better negotiator? Keep a transaction on track after a
troubled home inspection or low appraisal? Make a short sale run smoother?
Or learn how to persuade even the most hesitant client to sign a buyer repre-
sentation agreement? These are everyday situations that real estate buyer’s
agents face, but how to navigate such critical situations is rarely clear-cut.
That’s why the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) has recently revamped its core
two-day Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation course to reflect the pressing
issues that buyer’s agents face in today’s transactions. The ABR® designation, which for the
past 16 years has been affiliated with the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, teaches
real estate professionals the wide-ranging skills needed to advance business relationships
when working with home buyers.
“We all know how complicated a real estate transaction can be, but today’s buyers
sometimes think it’s a do-it-yourself project,” says Lynn Madison, ABR®, GRI, SFR®, SRES®,
co-author of the new course with fellow REBAC instructor Lori Cox, ABR®, BPOR, GRI, SFR®,
SRES®. “By covering the entire buyer experience, we help you with assisting your clients, from
that first meeting through qualifying, showing, and contract writing to negotiating the contract
and guiding the transaction to the closing.” The revised ABR® course is expected to launch in
Stay Out of Trouble: Know Agency Laws
The ABR® course will delve deep into the intricacies of agency law, a critical component that
will help you avoid walking into legal troubles when working with clients. “There are few topics
more important to practitioners than agency,” says Marc Gould, REBAC’s executive director.
“The course will provide insight into who you’re working for and your fiduciary responsibilities.” Indeed, it’s critical to have a solid understanding of the nuances of agency law—from
what’s considered “express” or “implied” agency relationships to vicarious liability issues (see
box). NAR’s 2011 Legal Scan, an analysis of the case law for 2009 and 2010, shows a 36 percent increase in lawsuits involving agency issues over the two previous years. Disputes arising
from agency representation continue to be among the top legal concerns that real estate professionals face. And agency disputes are among the most likely to lead to litigation, arbitration,
mediation, or complaints to a state real estate commission.
In addition to agency, the ABR® course will focus on procuring cause and the disagreements
that can arise over who rightfully earned a commission. Madison, 2011 Illinois REALTOR® of the
Year and a REBAC Hall of Fame inductee, says procuring cause claims are on the rise in real
estate and agents need to learn more about how to protect themselves—and their commissions—to avoid winding up in an arbitration hearing.
What Would You Do?
There are other potential pitfalls, too. The course will tackle sample situations using scripts
and role-playing scenarios to help you gain the know-how and confidence to handle any
situation you may face in the field. Topics will include:
• Pesky “what-if”s. For example, what if your buyer wants to purchase property from
an unrepresented seller? How do you make sure you’ll be paid? What happens if the
compensation on the MLS is considerably less than what you and your buyer have agreed
to—or what if it’s more? And what if you get to the closing table and there’s not enough
equity to pay the commissions?
• Saving the dying transaction. The course will cover lifelines—ways to keep a transaction from falling apart when a property doesn’t appraise the way you expect, a home
inspection reveals serious issues, the buyers get cold feet, or the other agent drops the ball.
• Negotiations. “Negotiating in today’s market is the make-or-break step,” Madison says.
“We cover all aspects of negotiating, from traditional transactions to short sales and REO
properties. We’ll talk about how to handle multiple offers and what to do if you have two
buyers for the same property.”
Transactions and buyer relationships have gotten more complex. The new ABR® course offers real estate professionals insider tips on navigating some of today’s toughest homebuying situations.
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Do You Know Your State’s Agency Law? In some states, these terms are important to your understanding of agency law, but these legal principles aren’t defined or ecognized in the same way in all states. • Vicarious liability: Actions or statements made by agents and subagents are the responsibility of the client. Similarly, brokers have vicarious liability for the actions of affiliated agents. • Imputed knowledge: What one licensee knows, all licensees in the brokerage know. • Imputed notice: Informing the agent is the same as informing the client. Source: REBAC ABR® course
To learn how you can earn your ABR® designation and to get more information about REBAC, visit rebac.net.