Buying a Home in California

Real Estate Agents, Agency, Finding the Right Home

By Rick Campbell
Real Estate Agents

In California anyone who offers to buy, sell, or lease real property for compensation must be licensed. There are two types of licenses given by the state: Brokers and Salespeople. Any broker or salesperson can also be referred to as a sales agent. It is important to remember that only Brokers can receive compensation for the sale or lease of real property. Therefore, every salesperson must work for a broker. Brokers can also work for another broker. When doing so, they function as sales agents and not as the Broker of Record. The Broker of Record is the person who assumes all responsibility for supervising the sales agents.


Agency is one of the more arcane aspects of real estate law in California. It includes sub-agency, dual-agency and buyer's agency. Agency is in a state of flux at this moment in many parts of the country. Suffice it to say, unless you have signed a contract delineating your agency relationship, the agent you are working with may not owe his primary fiduciary responsibility to you.

Finding the Right Home

This is the first task your agent will perform for you, and it is probably the least important. Before driving all over, your agent will conduct an interview to determine if you are ready, willing and able to buy a home. Don't take this personally, the seller wants to know. Plus, the more ready, willing and able you are to buy a home, the better price you will get.

It's funny how that works sometimes. We've shown people the perfect home at the best price and they decided to wait. One day, one week, it didn't matter. When they finally decided to buy, that house is invariably gone.

Next, the agent will inquire as to the details of the home you are looking to buy. This way the agent can bring you directly to the most suitable homes on the market.

If the first thing an agent wants to do is pop you in his car, go find another agent. Driving willy-nilly around the Desert is an exhausting experience. No experienced agent drives people around without a qualifying interview first.

You do want an experienced agent, don't you?

Also, a good agent will have you begin the loan process immediately. We're not talking about getting pre-qualified, we're talking about getting approved for a loan. This will put you in the strongest possible negotiating position next to buying with all your own cash.

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