There are several revisions in New York State real estate law that will affect buyers and sellers in the new year.
Starting Jan. 1, those looking to sell or purchase a home will be asked whether they want to check off an extra box on the standard buyer and seller disclosure form that will give advanced consent for a so-called "dual agency" situation. Such a scenario exists when one real estate agent is representing both the buyer and the seller of a property -- which can put into question how one agent can serve two masters. Another scenario is when a buyer’s agent shows a potential buyer a listing from the agent’s own agency, which, if the interest leads to an offer, would put the agent in a situation of negotiating against an office colleague.
Also, disclosure forms will apply to condo and co-op transactions for the first time under the rule changes. However, several agents who specialize in condo and co-op listings say that they have been getting the written consent anyway.
Disclosure of real estate agency relationships has been required in the state since 1991 to explain to the client the type of agent being hired (a buyer’s agent versus a seller’s agent). Currently, dual agency consent is required only when and if a potential conflict arises.
“This new form benefits all parties," says Cathy Nolan, counsel to the Long Island Board of Realtors. "It will avoid the delays and confusion associated with going back to both the buyer and seller for consent to the dual agency when the situation presents itself, which is particularly difficult if the seller is in Florida or otherwise unavailable."
Commack real estate attorney Lita Smith-Mines says the new standard makes sure that all consumers know that in a dual agency situation "they may not get devoted fiduciary duties and/or loyalty from their agent."