Who usually represents who in a real estate transaction?
When hiring a real estate agent, it’s important to understand whose side he or she is on. By knowing where your agent’s loyalties lie, you will know what you can tell them and what you cannot. For example, if you are dealing with an agent who represents the seller of a home you want to buy, you won’t want to mention you would pay anything to make this house your home.
Conversely, if you were a seller speaking to the agent representing the buyer you wouldn’t tell him/her you would accept less than you are asking.
Below are different types of agency representations:
Real Estate Listings
Buyer’s agent fiduciary duties are with the buyer and represents their best interest in their home purchase. Any information shared with the agent is strictly confidential, unless otherwise instructed by the buyer.
Seller’s or listing agency
Seller’s agent acts on behalf of the seller and has fiduciary duties to the seller on the sale of their home. Any information shared with the agent is strictly confidential, unless otherwise instructed by the seller.
When a real estate company can be the agent of both the buyer and seller. Dual agency arises when a buyer’s agent shows a property currently listed with the same brokerage. The real estate company can be the agent of both buyer and seller in a transaction providing the relationship is disclosed and is mutually agreed upon in writing by both parties. Dual agents owe both parties fair treatment, advice and guidance and negotiations to mutual agreeable terms and conditions. Lastly, dual agents cannot share price, terms or motivation of either party or disclose any confidential information without the permission of either the buyer or seller.
This option is available when either party is not comfortable with dual agency. In this case, an agent will be appointed to represent the buyer and seller separately in the transaction.
As always, having an open dialogue and good communication with your agent can only result in a smoother transaction.
Laura Cruger, Realtor, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, 203-948-1103, firstname.lastname@example.org