True Fiduciary Agents
We exclusively represent our client's best interests above all others.
One-hundred percent loyalty, one-hundred percent of the time.
Areas of specialization include:
• Exclusive Buyer Agency
• Exclusive Seller Agency
• Residential, Commercial and Income-Producing Real Estate
• Luxury Marketing
• Sales and Brokerage
• Real Estate Appraisal
• Expert Witness Work
• Marketability and Feasibility Analyses
• General Market Trends Analyses
• REO Consulting and Marketing
• Arbitration Panelist
• Construction Dispute Resolution
• Financial Institutions
• Third Party Management and Relocation Companies
• Private Individuals
• Fortune 500
*References Available Upon Request
Tips for Becoming a Powerful Client
Q: What is a buyers broker?
A: A broker with whom the buyer contracts to represent him/her in a real estate purchase.
Q: What is a sellers broker?
A: A broker with whom the seller contracts to represent him/her in the sale of their real estate.
Q: What is a dual agent?
A: A broker that "represents" both buyer and seller in the same transaction, cannot fully represent either party. It is illegal not to disclose the dual agency relationship. There is an inherent conflict of interest because the seller wants the highest price and the buyer wants the lowest price. Dual agency benefits the agent at a high cost to the consumer.
Q: What is a fiduciary relationship?
A: A relationship of trust and fidelity. Real estate brokers owe a duty of undivided loyalty to their clients. The real estate broker must exercise utmost good faith, care, confidentiality and full and fair disclosure at all times—unless they are acting as a Dual Agent.
We Strive to Educate and Inform Our Clients
Benson Stanley Realty provides elite representation without conflict of interest. We will never act as dual agents. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, make certain that your agent represents your best interests, and not those of others. The following are real life examples of what can happen in the absence of exclusive representation.
Know Your Agent's Allegiance
On a whim, a buyer stopped in an open house, fell in love with both the home and the agent's vivacious personality. After about an hour, he disclosed all of his financial information to the real estate agent, including that he would pay the asking price, even though he wanted to start bidding at 80% of the list price. After he left, the agent immediately phoned the seller and told him that she had a buyer willing to pay the list price. If the purchaser had used a buyers broker, the information would have been kept entirely confidential. In this case the seller was cash strapped and would have taken an offer at 75% of the asking price!
By not having his own representation, the buyer ended up paying an additional $125,000 for the property.
Beware Double Agents
One well known top producer signed a contract with a widow to sell her residence. The agent then received two contracts: a lower offer from her own buyer, and a higher offer from an agent with a different firm. The top producer then refused to show her seller the higher offer and submitted only the lower offer. Why? Because she stood to make twice her commission as a dual agent and did not have to share her compensation. She effectively cheated the seller out of $40,000 while getting paid double to do so. This is illegal, but can and has happened when an agent's self interest comes before that of the client. Instead of making $12,000 on the deal, the agent took home $24,000. If the seller had simply refused to allow dual agency, she would have profited an additional $40,000. In Illinois, dual agency is illegal unless all parties have consented in writing.
The Builder Open House Trap
By casually stopping in an open house or going to a builder's new construction sales center, a buyer is often unwittingly waiving their rights to representation—unless their buyers broker accompanies them. The phrase used within the real estate business is "first to show". If the buyer later wants to retain their own agent to negotiate on their behalf, (Can we include a free $40,000 parking space? What about a deck? What is my allowance for lighting? Is $500 enough? What is the developer's reputation?) then their agent cannot represent them. There are few exceptions to this generally accepted practice of stripping the buyer of their rights to independent representation.
Thanks to the Internet, shopping for real estate has never been easier, but keep in mind that the person you contact for more specific information will typically be representing the seller. If you are seriously thinking of buying, and want to retain your rights to representation, beware of registering your name and contact information—especially on new construction websites.
Fiduciary Relationships Are Our Relationships
Black's Law Dictionary describes a fiduciary relationship as "one founded on trust or confidence reposed by one person in the integrity and fidelity of another." A fiduciary has a duty to act primarily for the client's benefit in matters connected with the undertaking and not for the fiduciary's own personal interest. Scrupulous good faith and candor are always required. Understanding the distinction between a full fiduciary and a dual agent is crucial. A real estate agent, under common law and by all statutes, is a fiduciary. An exclusive agent must always provide services and advice in the best interests of their client. Whereas a dual agent may have conflicting interests including their own motives and gain at heart, and while treating opposing sides of a transaction "fairly and honestly," owe full fiduciary duties to neither buyer nor seller. It is generally believed that fiduciaries perform their trades for reasons other than money and feel a sense of responsibility that goes beyond simply making a living. To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Brandeis: "It is an occupation which is pursued largely for others and not merely for oneself. It is an occupation in which the amount of financial return is not the accepted measure of success." Fiduciaries must always act in complete fairness and may not ever exert any influence or pressure, take selfish advantage, or deal with the client in such a way that it benefits themselves or prejudices the client. The utmost good faith is required in all their dealings. Simply put, fiduciaries must exhibit the highest form of trust, fidelity and confidence, and are expected to act in the best interest of their clients at all times. BSR provides elite representation without conflict of interest.
Exclusive brokers are the only real estate service providers that can fully protect their client's identities and financial information. We do not share client information with any parties without express permission. Many high-profile purchasers and sellers of real estate rely on our exclusive representation to maintain and ensure their privacy.
"Most Realtors will ask permission to "represent" both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, when in fact, the Realtor is representing neither buyer, nor seller. Use extreme caution. This "double agent" conflict of interest gets in the way of either party securing the best price and terms. Sara Benson focuses only on your goals, your needs, and what is in your best interest. This dedicated focus is what ensures the highest level of premium client care."
For most people, buying or selling real estate is a huge decision that can create a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress. Another part of the unparalleled client care, provided by Sara Benson's 30+ years in the industry, is her unique sensitivity to help walk her clients through the process of buying or selling from beginning to end.
With the clients list of wants and needs in the forefront, Sara is relentless in finding the finest properties for the best price. She is meticulous in presenting the preeminent options of price, location and features with no hidden agendas. Her goal is to provide unsurpassed value to the clients who want the gold standard in service and outcome.