Buying a Home: It's a Big Deal

FTC Offers Home Buyers Advice on Choosing Real Estate Services

For Your Information

Home buyers today have a wide variety of choices when it comes to real estate services. The Federal Trade Commission has tips for considering a real estate professional and using the Internet as a new source of information, and explains why new sales models for buying and selling a home mean more choices for consumers.

The new publication, “Buying a Home: It’s a Big Deal,” lists questions to ask when a consumer is considering a real estate professional. It prompts home buyers to determine who the agent works for, and the type of business relationship that they will have with the agent. It also says that consumers need to know whether their agent has made the required disclosures and whether their agent plans to show them homes listed by non-traditional brokers.

The publication also explains some of the new services available from real estate professionals. For example, some brokers might offer to list a home on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for a fee, while they hand off other aspects of the sale to the seller. Other brokers might offer a menu of services from which the seller can choose. The publication notes that while some agents may be reluctant to deal with brokers who are using non-traditional sales models, these new sales models can reduce the cost of selling a home, which, in turn, can result in a lower purchase price.

The publication, online at http://www.ftc.gov/bc/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/zalt001.shtm, also explains the difference between brokers and agents, their role in home sales, and information about negotiating sales commissions.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.

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