The Dual Agency Agreement and Why You Shouldn't Sign It

When Dual Agency May Occur

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The possibility of dual agency arises when a home buyer is working with a real estate agent who's Brokerage is also listing the property they want to purchase. This means the real estate Broker/Brokerage who has agreed to list a property for a seller is now working with the buyer of that same property. Remember, the Broker already has a fiduciary agreement with the seller of the home.

As a home buyer, you can choose not to sign a Consent for Dual Agency Agreement.

 

You can work with an Exclusive Buyers Agent who is an advocate for you, the home buyer. Exclusive buyer agents are members of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. (naeba.org) Exclusive Buyer Agents are Realtors who work for Brokerages that do not list homes for sale so there is no dual agency agreement. 

When both the buyer and seller have agents working for the same Brokerage, both clients are being represented by the same Brokerage. This creates a potential conflict of interest, particularly for the home buyer. In addition, the Brokerage collects double the commission creating a situation where one Brokerage can list & sell a property. As the home buyer, do you see how this could work against your best interests?

  • Is your agent showing you all the available properties that meet your criteria or are they pushing their Brokerage's in house inventory?

  • Is your agent providing the best guidance on how much to offer for a home particularly if their Brokerage is listing the property?

  • Is your agent sharing insights and strategies that will be an advantage to you, the home buyer?

  • Is your agent looking for the best price and terms for you? How likely is this to happen if the Brokerage already has an agreement with the home seller to work for their best interests?

  • Is your agent protecting your contractual contingencies and always keeping your best interests in mind?

An Exclusive Buyer Agent offers a level of protection and dedication not available under other types of real estate agency.

By the virtue of their fiduciary relationship with the home buyer, Exclusive Buyer Agents will disclose information to the buyer that materially affects a buyer’s best interests, even if that information is detrimental to the seller! The listing agent cannot make such disclosures and must remain loyal to the seller. This is why buying a home from the local "neighborhood specialist" may not be in your best interest.

Remember, your best interest are not being considered if you consent to a straight dual agency agreement. This is when the agent representing the seller agrees to "work" with you to buy the listing. This type of dual agency is illegal in every other profession.

Can you imagine a lawyer coming into a courtroom with the plaintiff and turning to the defendant and saying, "Hey, I can represent you in this case too!" Of course not, this is absurd!  

Exclusive Buyer Agents will work as your advocate, offering advice so you can make an informed decision. Exclusive Buyer Agents have no "in-house" listings to push and no reason to talk you into buying any particular home. Call us so we can discuss your needs and where you want to live in the Greater Washington D.C. or Baltimore areas. We love what we do and look forward to making your home buying experience as smooth as possible. 

Cellphone 301.922.1677 Work phone 301.657.1475 or Email: Victoria@buyersagent.com

Here’s the rub...a dual agent does not exclusively represent either the seller or buyer; there may be a conflict of interest because the interest of the seller and buyer may be different or adverse. As a dual agent, the real estate broker does not owe undivided loyalty to either the seller or buyer.
— http://www.mdrealtor.org/Legal/Legal-Hotline/Frequently-Asked-Questions/PostId/17

Decorative Window Bars and Grilles

Secure Your Home With Attractive Window Bars and Window Gates 

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There are thousands of condominiums in Washington D.C. and we have seen plenty of them! We've toured 550 square foot condo's and 2000 square foot condo's with one and two levels. So many different buildings and styles, there is no generic condo style or building in Washington D.C. 

Condo's and Co-op's offer housing for home buyers who want to live where they work, in Washington D.C. 

Our super cool clients have discerning taste and we finally found their dream condo! We were pleasantly surprised to find a condo with a brand new kitchen, two full new bathrooms and a beautiful master bedroom and bonus room to use as an office. 

It is the most beautiful basement condo we've ever seen in the District

Large windows in the living room and master bedroom allow ample natural light to stream into the living space. 

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~Final Detail~

decorative window bars, grilles & gates 

Our creative homebuyers went through Pinterest and Google images of window bars and window gates.   

They drew up their own design,

NorthEast Ironworks Inc

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constructed the window bars, door gates and grilles. Outstanding work! NorthEast Ironworks slogan, Dedicated to creating works of Art  and for 60 years, they have worked to create beautiful window bars and grilles in Washington D.C. and the surrounding metro area. 

 When we started our search for attractive bars, all we saw were ugly prison style window bars. When our homebuyers suggested designing window bars, we were not sure we would find a company that would take on our project-but NorthEast Ironworkscame through! 

Moral of the Window Bar, Grille & Gate Story 

Persevere-Go the extra mile-Create your own design-Believe in your dream...

&

Find a really good ironworks company that does excellent work 

give them an easy template to follow

and see your design become a reality

The window bars designed by our homebuyers are simple and attractive. The design allows easy open and close features. The window bars are open during the day when our clients are home and locked and closed when our clients are away at work or on vacation. 

If you are buying a home in Washington D.C. and need window bars and grilles, consider creating your own design. Contact professional ironworkers and get estimates. For more details about window bars, grilles and door gates-use the links below. With a little planning, you can create a beautiful design that will enhance the beauty of your home.

We wish you much success in your window bar and grille design efforts

 

NorthEast Ironworks

Mickeys Ironworks

Buyer's Edge

HomesBuyHendersons

National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents 

What Does Love Have To Do With Buying A Home?

"True love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that." Miracle Max

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The 1987 movie Princess Bride is a beautiful story about true love.

Princess Buttercup and Wesley encounter serious obstacles (the entire movie) but eventually end up together and live happily ever after.

True Love Prevails!

This true love story is a lot like buying a home. There is no such thing as the perfect house for everyone! Every home buyer has unique expectations and dreams regarding their home. So if you are planning to buy a home this Spring, consider why love matters!  

  • Love your Neighborhood - You can remodel and fix up a house but you can't do much to change your neighborhood. You need to love your location first and then focus on the house. To love your neighborhood, you'll want to write a list of what's important to you and your partner. How long is your daily commute? Have you actually driven the route and determined you can live with it? Is there an HOA? Do you think you can abide by rules? Loving your location is imperative if you really want to enjoy your daily life.
  • Love the bones of the house - My grandfather had a great expression, "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear." Keep this in mind when buying a home. If it's poorly constructed with cheap aluminum siding with sagging garage door headers-don't buy it. You will regret the purchase even if you do all the right upgrades on the house. 
  • Love the flow - I've seen hundreds of galley kitchens in the Washington & Baltimore area.These kitchen designs were popular back in the day when the wife cooked and then served family and guests in the dining room. Thankfully, those days are gone! If a house you love has a galley kitchen, consider taking down a wall and opening up the space.Galley kitchens are one of the biggest drawbacks for home buyers who are touring older homes. 
  • Love the outdoors - Even if you don't spend lots of time in a yard, it's important to consider who your neighbors will be. Do they have tidy yards? Is there any privacy? If not, is there room for a few trees or a privacy fence? The biggest gray area when buying a home is who lives next door. If you are considering buying a home, drive by in the evening and on the weekend and try to meet a few neighbors. This could help you move ahead with writing a contract or run! 

Love Matters in Real Estate

Best wishes for a happy & successful house hunting adventure this Spring!

 

Should I Test My Home for Radon?

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Unlike the picture above, radon gas is colorless and odorless. Radon occurs naturally. It is the decay of the elements radium, thorium and uranium in rocks and soil. Radon seeps up through the ground and into the air. In some cases, radon dissolves into groundwater and is released when water is used (when you turn on the shower or faucet).

Radon becomes a serious health risk when it's trapped in areas without adequate ventilation.  In fact, any home that is tightly sealed with insulation and new windows is a home that should be tested for radon. 

How should you test for radon gas? Radon levels can change when doors and windows are opened so a long-term test may be the better way to test for radon. In fact, the EPA has a consumers guide to radon reduction.

Once you have tested your home, you will receive results which are measured by picocuries per liter. This is a measurement of the radioactive decay of radon. While there is no acceptable level of radon exposure, the EPA recommends mitigation if the level is 4 pCi/L or higher. 

Mitigation of radon gas is accomplished through ventilation. A pipe is placed under the concrete slab of the home and a small fan is inserted to draw the radon gas through and out of the pipe which vents outside of the home. The installers place a gauge on the pipe so homeowners can see if the pipe is working. The cost of mitigation varies but is usually in the range of $500-$1500. 

  • Test your home for radon
  • If the test results show 4 pCi/L or higher, contact a radon mitigation company
  • Be wary of companies that are significantly cheaper than the rest! You get what you pay for and you want to get this right
  • Do check for references and the Better Business Bureau
  • The work should take about a day or less
  • The fan/motor has a low humming sound similar to the sound you hear from a dryer vent when it is in use.

It's Important to be Kind but you don't have to be Nice

Our daughter just completed her first year of college. 

 

She is double majoring in Political Science and International Relations so we've spent hours talking about world events and Washington DC politics. But a recent conversation, sparked by a psychology class, fascinated me; the difference between being nice and being kind.

According to Merriam-Webster's online definitions- Kindness is the quality of state of being gentle and considerate. Nice means being pleasant and agreeable. 

victoriaray.com
Kindness is a noble trait like honesty, courage, patience and compassion, kindness is a quality admired in others. Practicing kindness can be challenging like when...

 

  • a coworker aggressively expresses his/her political opinions
  • your daughter or son yells that you never listen and you don't understand
  • your dog chews your expensive leather shoes
  • your friend drinks too much at a party, makes a fool of himself and you have to get him home

Practicing kindness, especially when it's a challenge, strengthens the habit. A kind person is loving and giving and acting out of the goodness of their heart. 

Being nice is good at times but if you're too nice, it could be a sign of insecurity or needing approval from others. 

Have you ever been around someone who was nice but you just felt like you couldn't quite trust them?

Whereas when someone is kind it feels genuine and honest.

Trust your gut and remember the golden rule!

Feng Shui

Feng Shui your Home

for happiness, health & prosperity

 

Last Thursday evening, Buyer's Edge hosted a feng shui party. Our guest, Jayme Barrett, author of the book, feng shui your life came from Santa Monica California to offer advice on how to improve our home environment.  

Most people have heard of feng shui, pronounced fung shway, but may not know what it is or how it can improve your life. So first, a definition:

feng shui:  translates as wind & water in English. It is a Chinese philosophical order that harmonizes people with their surrounding environment. Feng shui is linked to Taoism and dates back 3500 years before the invention of the magnetic compass. Feng shui relied on astronomy to find a correlation between humans and the universe. Feng shui involves Qi, pronounced chee, the positive and negative life forces and the orientation of structures & objects.

Jayme Barrett is a popular speaker in Los Angeles and around the world. She spoke about feng shui on the Today Show with Campbell Brown and is a contributor to HGTV.  We were pleased and honored to have her come to our Bethesda Maryland office

Feng Shui Basics from Jayme Barrett

  • Declutter your space - This is where you start. In order to add feng shui elements to your home or office, you need an organized space. Start small, like with the surface areas in your kitchen. Are there piles of papers and various items on your counters? Find a "home" for everything.

For example, I have a large hook that is attached to one of my kitchen cabinets. This hook is for everyone's keys. When guests come to visit overnight or longer, their keys go on the hook too. This is a simple way to avoid the frantic search for car keys when you are leaving the house.

  • Bring nature indoors - Feng shui is about balancing the energy in your space. By bringing plants indoors, you energize your living space. Plants uplift and harmonize the energy in a living space. When you need more energy in your workplace or home, add a plant. Look for plants like peace lilies, ficus trees, bamboo, and philodendrons to energize your space. 
  • Add wind chimes and/or music - Sound vibration is very powerful. Wind chimes offer a calming sound effect and soft music can do the same. 
  • Add a water feature - Feng shui literally translate to wind-water. Consider adding a pond or small water feature in your home. Water fountains invite nature indoors and create a sense of well-being and ease. Adding an aquarium to your home is suggested to increase your wealth and good luck. This explains why you see aquariums in many Chinese restaurants. 
  • Crystals - Crystals refract light and move energy. Crystals will stimulate stagnant corners, where negative energy can collect. Crystals also soften sharp edges in a room defusing any negative energy that may linger in a home or work space.
  •  Scented candles - Adding scented candles boost energy in a room and provide relaxation. Be sure to choose soy candles since these will provide clean non-toxic scents into a room. 

Bring light into every room - This is obvious but light, particularly sunlight, will increase positive energy and lifts the overall energy of a room. Light inspires ideas and improves your mood.  When buying light bulbs, be sure to purchase the full spectrum type of bulb. Full spectrum bulbs simulate sunlight. 

The feng shui points I've highlighted are easy first steps in feng shui. Consider reading more about feng shui and how it can improve the quality of your life. You can purchase Jayme Barrett's book here or learn more about feng shui from other authors

Buying a Condo in Washington DC

Living within walking distance of work enhances your quality of life. You walk to your favorite coffee shop in the morning, you walk to dinner and the theater at night. Life is sweet. This is the lifestyle in Washington D.C. and we are working with home buyers to find the best condos. Here are a few of the big things you want to consider if you are shopping for a condo in Washington D.C. or in the near suburbs of Virginia and Maryland. 

Capital Hill Washington DC

This is the lifestyle in Washington D.C. and we work with home buyers to help them identify the right neighborhood, building and condo association.  Here are a few of the big things you want to consider if you are shopping for a condo in Washington D.C. or in the near suburbs of Virginia and Maryland. 

This time of year, the market slows down just a little bit. Just enough so you can take a moment to understand what's important to consider when buying a condominium.

  • Buying a condo is much like marrying into a family.Like it or not, you will be making decisions on how to run the building with other condo owners.There is a condo association with a board consisting of other condo owners. These board members make decisions about how to spend the condo association funds. Much like a small business, the board decides how to pay and care for the common living areas when to replace the roof or the elevator. The condo association holds regular meetings and all condo owners follow the rules or bylaws. If this makes you uncomfortable, consider buying a rowhouse or townhouse. You can also search for condo's in smaller buildings and fewer people to deal with.
  • What is included in the monthly condo fee? Your monthly mortgage is only part of the story when you buy a condominium. Look for condo fees that include all or most of the utilities. Condo fees in D.C. can range from $250 to over $1,000 a month. Working with your agent and lender, find the monthly range that fits your budget. Remember, condo fees can and will go up. If there is a special assessment, like replacing the roof or washers and dryers in the common laundry area, it's going to cost you money. 
  • What is the condition of the building and grounds?  In Washington DC, some condo buildings are 100 years old. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The question is, 

How well maintained in the condo building? 

like detached houses, maintenance is the key to quality. As you look at the condo, take a good look at the building. Remember, if you buy a condo in Washington D.C., you have a 3 day review period for the condo documents. This means once you have a ratified contract, the listing agent provides the condo documents for review. Check the budget. Make sure that the condo association is paying bills on time and maintaining the property. How many people are delinquent on their condo fees? Do they have any special assessments? Are there pending lawsuits? Examine the budget and bylaws carefully. You will be living by these rules. Make sure they work for you. 

  • Is the neighborhood near grocery stores and restaurants? Just because you live in the city doesn't mean you can easily walk to grocery stores, retail stores and restaurants. In N.W. Washington D.C., near the Washington Cathedral, there are condo's and coop's tucked away from the conveniences of city living. Near Rock Creek Park,you'll find condo's closer to the woods than to a store. If this is exactly what you want, then this neighborhood in NW Washington D.C. is for you! 

Buying a condo in Washington D.C. is a learning process. We work to educate our Buyers and help them identify the neighborhood, building, and condo that suits their needs. This is fun experience!

It is a beautiful time of year to be shopping for condo's in Washington D.C.!