Understanding Agency

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Representing the Sellers: Most sellers of real estate choose to list their home for sale with a real estate brokerage. When they do so, they sign a listing agreement that authorizes the brokerage and the listing agent to represent their interest. As the seller’s agent, the brokerage and listing agent must: follow the seller’s lawful instructions, be loyal to the seller, promote the seller’s best interests, disclose material facts to the seller, maintain confidential information, act with reasonable skill and care, and account for any money they handle in the transaction. In some circumstances a listing broker may also offer "subagency” to other brokerages which could also represent the seller’s interests and owe the seller some duties.

Representing Buyers: When purchasing real estate, buyers usually choose to work with a real estate agent, as well. Often the buyers want to be represented in the transaction. This is referred to as Buyer’s Agency. A brokerage and agent that agree to represent a buyer’s interest in a transaction must: follow the buyer’s lawful instructions, be loyal to the buyer, promote the buyer’s best interests. Disclose material facts to the buyer, maintain confidential information and, account for money they handle in the transaction.

Dual Agency: In some transactions, the same agent and brokerage that represent the seller also represent the buyer. This is referred to as Dual Agency. When an brokerage and it’s agents become "dual agents” they must remain loyal to both clients. They may not advocate the position of one client over the best interests of the other client or disclose any personal or confidential information to the other party without written consent.

Working with a Real Estate Company: A Real Estate Company does represent both buyers and sellers. When a real estate company lists property for sale, all agents in the brokerage represent the seller. Likewise, when a buyer is represented by a real estate company agent, all of the brokerage agents represent that buyer. Therefore, when a buyer represented by a real estate company agent wishes to purchase property listed by that real estate company, the agent(s) involved in the transaction act as dual agents. This is true whether one agent represents both parties or two separate agents from one brokerage are involved. In the event that both the buyer and the seller are represented by a real estate brokerage’s agents, these agents and the real estate brokerage will act as "dual agents”, but only if both parties agree. As dual agents, the brokerage and agents will treat all parties honestly, prepare and present all offers at the direction of the parties, and help the parties fulfill the terms of any contract. They will not, however, disclose any confidential information that would place any one party at an advantage over the other or advocate or negotiate to the detriment of either party. If dual agency occurs, the buyer and seller will be asked to consent to that in writing. If you do not agree to your agent acting as a dual agent, you may seek representation from another brokerage . As a buyer, you may also choose to represent yourself on properties the real estate brokerage has listed. In that instance, the real estate brokerage will represent the seller and you would represent your own best interests. Because the listing agent has a duty of full disclosure to the seller, you should not share any information with the listing agent that you would not want the seller to know.

Working with Other Brokerages: When a real estate brokerage lists a property for sale, it also cooperates with, and offers compensation to other real estate brokerages that represent buyers.


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