By Kay Wilson-Bolton
October 3, 2006
There is a move in the State of California towards the mega-MLS. In one area to the north, REALTORS® and agents in 11 counties have joined together with 40,000 plus members. The major benefit is that agents are given access to a wider area of inventory and opportunity to expand their sphere of working influence. The jury is still out on the long-term effects.
With the expanded number of agents “in the business”, it has been common for a family friend of relative to represent a homebuyer in an area of unfamiliar territory—and the challenges begin.
Although it’s perfectly legal for your friend or relative to represent you, is it a good idea?
A major consideration is the amount of information the agent has about local customs. What the agent doesn’t know might adversely effect the transaction.
Buyers have a competitive edge by having their agent present their offer in person to the listing agent and/or the sellers. An out-of-area agent usually faxes the offer to the listing office.
While it seems contrary to best business practices for real estate agents to invest in the mega-MLS, there are some good business reasons. At some point, MLS boundaries cross over each other. I could live in one jurisdiction and work in another. I may have moved 100 miles away and still want to work in the area where I was trained.
Brokers and owners are having to join many MLS’s around the state, which requires numerous orientation meetings, joining fees, different keysafes, rules and regulations to abide. Therefore, creating an MLS with a wide circle of influence diminishes the need for duplicative efforts.
However, the downside is that agents will be tempted to work in areas with unknown “landmines” such as Redevelopment Agency activities, environmental issues, long-range planning such as airports, landfills or freeways. Many of these issues are not readily apparent and require research.
If your agent isn’t local, you must hope that the seller and the seller’s agent are especially diligent when it comes to providing necessary disclosures.
Good agents have a wealth of information about local conditions and property values. They also know the best inspectors, title and escrow officers, loan brokers, insurance agents, and contractors who can give estimates.
Additionally, if you found your home using the time and talent of a local agent, the right thing to do is to let that agent write the offer.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Ojai Valley and CENTURY 21 Buena Vista. She is celebrating 31 years in real estate and can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her website is www.readysetkay.com