More and more, I am seeing buyers and sellers negotiating and entering into purchase and sale agreements without broker representation, buyers and sellers using the same broker or broker-handled sales/purchases that are more complex than the broker is prepared to manage. In all cases, I can be a useful resource.
If you are entering into a purchase and sale agreement without the benefit of a real estate broker, you lose access to standard Oregon forms (prepared by Oregon Real Estate Forms LLC). In that case, often buyers or sellers resort to pre-printed forms from the Internet or Stevens-Ness. However, those forms may not comply with Oregon Law, may favor one party over the other, or may not address important risks associated with the purchase and sale of real property.
If you are selling or purchasing real property without the benefit of a real estate professional, you should get expert advice about how to shift risk from you to the other party. You will need to make sure that you comply with or receive the benefit of state and federal law regarding property disclosures, understand your options in negotiations and are informed about your legal risks and choices.
If you are buying or selling real property and the broker is representing both you and the other party, you are losing important information related to your options and risks. A broker may legally represent both parties but, because of the conflict of interest, is unable to give either party complete advice. The broker, for example, cannot recommend that you refuse to make repairs, request nonrefundable earnest money, request inspections at the seller’s expense or protect yourself by conducting due diligence that will help you learn more about the property you are purchasing.
If your broker cannot help you to make the most of your purchase or sale, you need someone to help you add terms to the contract that benefit you over the other party, give you options to recover fees and costs if the other party defaults, create contract terms to protect your interests, and protect you from liability that may accrue years after the purchase or sale.
Often brokers are unprepared to give you advice for the more complex transactions you are considering. For example, if you are purchasing new construction and the builder’s attorney has crafted a 30 page purchase and sale agreement with fine print and a lot of legalese, it is important to get legal advice about the meaning and risk of all of those pages. Real estate brokers are permitted to explain the OREF forms but they are not lawyers. You can be sure that the builder’s attorney has shifted the purchasing risks to you. You deserve the benefit of someone who can shift some – if not all of those risks – back to the builder.
For legal assistance on property sales and acquisition issues, please phone my office at 503-972-0400.