It’s only fair: Buyers need to be represented in real estate transactions at least to the degree that sellers have always been. For too many years the catch phrase “Buyer Beware” ruled. The concept that real estate agents served only the needs and wishes of the owner of the property meant that, many times, buyers were kept in the dark about building or negotiation conditions that could have benefited them. Each time a buyer called the listing agent they were cooperating with the agent who had pledged to work in the sellers’ best interest
In the first seven years I worked in real estate I both listed and sold properties. But I grew increasingly uncomfortable in keeping knowledge from the buyer folks that I may have spent several days with. In the course of showing properties (most of which belonged to owners I had never met and with whom I had no direct contact) I would become very attached to my buyer “customers.” It was pointed out to me time and again by management that my “client” was the unknown owner and that I owed only a clerk-like courtesy to buyers to whom I owed no “fiduciary responsibility.” And then there were the agonizing times when I found myself working for both buyer and seller. In real estate parlance that meant I was “working both sides.” A financially desirable position since it meant that I would receive a commission for listing the property as well as selling it. I drank lots of Maalox during those transactions, not wanting to be unfair to either side. Actually my hands were really tied since I couldn’t legally do much in the way of negotiation. I felt I was trying to serve two masters at the same time – a real conflict of interest.
When the time came that I wanted to go out on my own, it didn’t take me any time at all to act on my desire to bring a sense of “client level services” to the people I would work for. It would mean that I would be taking on more liability and would be restricting my business to only one half of the market. No matter. I chose and continue to choose to work “for the buyer’s side.”
In addition, I have made it a point to restrict my business to the greater Lake County geographical area. In Montana, licensees are allowed to practice real estate anywhere within the state boundaries. However, it is my belief that I can only best serve my clients if I am knowledge about the area. Of course I don’t know everything there is to know about Lake County and its people. But I know where to go to get the information if I do not. It is my policy to make a referral to another agent (albeit one who is not exclusively a buyers agent) more knowledgeable about any other location.
I believe that an informed buyer should be the goal before any contract is signed. Although Montana law is clear that I do not have to disclose facts about a property that relate to illness or death, I will disclose every single thing I know about a property and let my clients determine whether the fact is significant to them. Of course I will reveal anything I know about the structures or location’ ie; flooding, fire damage, etc.- that is called disclosing a “material defect.” It is also my policy to stress the importance of getting a home inspection prior to any purchase. It is also my policy to go over the entire nine page Buy/Sell Agreement prior to a clients signature.
I work for Buyers Only. Buying real estate in Lake County Montana and within the Flathead Reservation presents unique circumstances. I am familiar with local conditions such as, water rights, tribal jurisdictions, state and local subdivision laws, and community issues in general. New construction, resale properties, foreclosed homes, recreation or ranchette, I have dealt with them all over the last 20+ years in real estate. Beyond that I have lived here since 1974.
Whether retirement, work, family, or outdoor life draws you here; if you are thinking of relocating to Western Montana please check out the website for lots of local and state links. Golf, sailing, Mission Mountains, freshwater lake fishing, small communities, good schools and the Western Montana lifestyle, it’s all here.
I’m here to be “on your side.”