March 2016: Real Estate Roundup

Understanding residential transactions

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In the coming months, I will discuss some common forms a buyer or seller encounters during a real estate transaction starting with the Agency Disclosure Form. This is the one form you should see in any transaction involving real estate agents and sales of property ranging from single-family residences to four-family homes. Remember that all parties should always be given a copy of any contract or form that is signed.

The Agency Disclosure Form is mandated by New York state. It is presented to buyers and sellers by a real estate agent at “first substantive contact” and tells the buyer or seller who the agent represents.

There are three basic scenarios. The listing agent provides the form to a seller before entering into the listing agreement and the seller signs the acknowledgment. Similarly, a buyer’s agent provides the form to a buyer before entering into an agreement to act as the buyer’s agent and the buyer signs the form. Finally, a seller’s agent provides the form to a buyer or buyer’s agent at the time of the first substantive contact with the buyer and the buyer signs while a buyer’s agent does the same when encountering a seller or seller’s agent at first substantive contact with the seller and the seller signs.

Under state law, an agent who is acting as a seller’s agent represents the interest of the seller and a buyer’s agent does the same with the buyer. He or she has duties of reasonable care, undivided loyalty, confidentiality, full disclosure, obedience, and a duty to account to whoever he or she is representing in the transaction.

The New York State Association of Realtors held its winter business meetings and leadership conference at the Desmond Hotel in Albany from Feb. 7 to 11. Fifteen Realtors from the Jefferson-Lewis and St. Lawrence County boards of Realtors joined me during the five-day event.

One of the highlights was the inauguration of Lisa L’Huillier, Hefferon Real Estate, as president of the New York State Chapter of the Women’s Council of Realtors. In her role, she will work with the eight chapters and more than 600 WCR members statewide as well as her counterparts across the country. Women’s Council is the 12th-largest U.S. women’s professional organization and has one of the most successful communication networks in the National Association of Realtors family. Chapters include real estate professionals who support the objectives of Women’s Council and are interested in serving the industry, the community, and fellow Realtors.

Other highlights included the leadership conference, which was designed to assist association leaders from New York’s 31 local associations with issues that impact them throughout the year. Topics covered were governance, legal, policy and procedure, and economic issues.

During the business meetings, attendees discussed issues affecting real estate in their local area, regionally, statewide, and nationally. They worked on policies and governance issues affecting the real estate industry, heard from industry and governmental speakers, and exchanged ideas and information with real estate professional from around the state.

In addition to Ms. L’Huillier, several other area Realtors have leadership positions in 2016. Linda Fields, Linda J. Fields, Broker, is vice chairwoman of the Education Management Committee. Karen Peebles, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CNY Realty, is the Legal Action Committee vice chairwoman. The vice chairwoman of the Second Home, Resort and Global Markets Committee is Jennifer Stevenson, Blue Heron Realty.

Others attendees from the two associations included Jennifer Dindl, Humes Realty and Appraisal Service, Carolyn Gaebel, Exit More Real Estate, Debbie Gilson, County Seat Realty, Janet Handschuh, Heart Homes Real Estate, Lisa Lowe, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CNY Realty, Al Netto, Weichert Realtors Thousand Islands Realty, Doreen Radway, County Seat Realty, Randy Raso, Raso Real Estate, Nancy Rome, Rome RSA Realty, Charles Ruggiero, Hefferon Real Estate, and Vickie Staie, Staie on the Seaway and Appraisals USA.

Lance M. Evans is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at His column appears monthly in NNY Business.