Tryon Realty Partners serves clients in North and South Carolina. While the two states are similar in a number of ways, the proceeding guide on the Home Buying Process will highlight areas where the two states differ. If you have any questions, feel free to use the chat box or send a message through our Contact Us form.
The Role of a Realtor
Whether purchasing a home for the first time or as a seasoned Buyer, having an advocate who can look out for your best interest is key. An experienced Realtor will not only understand the housing market, they understand the contract to ensure that you are protected throughout the purchasing process. They should also be knowledgeable of the area, aware of local school assignment changes and other plans that may impact the community.
In North Carolina, Real Estate Agents and the Firm they work for, can represent either the Buyer exclusively, Seller exclusively, or both Buyer and Seller (called Dual Agency). Most of the real estate transactions in North Carolina involve exclusive representation by multiple firms, each exclusively representing their clients. Before you begin shopping for a house, the first question you should ask yourself is who represents you?
The agent (and Firm) on the sign in the front yard represents the Seller and is contractually obligated to negotiate in the interest of their client. Share something that you would like to remain confidential, like your interest in the property, and that agent is obligated to share it with the Seller.
Dual Agency is where either the Firm or two agents within the Firm represents both Buyer and Seller. While this is legal in North Carolina, it does come with a big caveat in that neither agent is no longer allowed to negotiate on behalf of their respective client and no confidential information may be shared with either party.
Knowing who represents you and their interest in the transaction is critical.
In South Carolina, the role of agents is mostly the same as in North Carolina (both Buyer and Seller exclusive representation and dual agency) however South Carolina does allow for Transaction Agency. In short, Transaction Agency involves an Agent representing the transaction, not interest in either Buyer or Seller. They are a neutral party facilitating the deal through closing.
Frequently Asked Questions on Agency
Who pays the Buyer’s Agent / Realtor?
In most cases, the Seller’s Agent / Firm, in connection with the agreement that they have established with the Seller, will provide compensation to the Buyer’s Agent. If there isn’t a Buyer’s Firm (the Buyer is unrepresented) or the Seller’s Firm / Agent is representing both Buyer and Seller, the Seller is still obligated to pay the entire agreed upon amount to the Seller’s Firm (so don’t expect a discount or special deal if you work with the Seller’s firm instead of having exclusive representation).
Are you required to have an Agent to make an offer?
No! You can, as an unrepresented Buyer, purchase a home without the assistance of a agent / Realtor. Some Seller’s agents may push the Buyer into an agency representation agreement but nothing is required by law.
When should I hire an agent?
Ideally, the best time to enlist the help of an agent is before you physically start exploring homes (viewing properties). In some cases, once you, as the Buyer, steps foot on the property, any additional representation is rendered invalid and will not be recognized.
Do I need an agent to purchase a home from a Builder / New Construction
While one is not required, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A new house isn’t a perfect house and an experienced agent can help you through the new construction process and ensure that the Builder meets their contractual obligations to you.
What happens in the situation where the Seller is not offering the pay the Buyer’s agent?
This is a conversation that you need to have with your Realtor. In most situations, Sellers Firms will offer compensation by way of their listing agreement to the Buyer’s firm. Even with For Sale By Owners, compensation from the Seller is usually possible. However, there could be a situation where the compensation offered is not sufficient and in that case, the Buyer would be responsible for paying the difference at closing.
What is the difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent?
A Realtor is a real estate agent that member of the National Association of Realtors.