Working with a Realtor
Realtors are governed by the legal concept of “agency”. An agent is legally obligated to look after the best interests of the person he or she is working for. The agent must be loyal to that person.
A Realtor may be your agent … if you have clearly established a relationship with that Realtor. But often, you may assume such an obligation exists when it does not.
We as Realtors believe it is important that the people we work with understand when an agency relationship exists and when it does not … and to understand what it means.
In Real Estate, there are different possible forms of representation:
- Seller’s Agent
- Buyer’s Agent
- Multiple Representation
- Customer Service
When a real estate company is a “seller’s agent” (has their home listed for sale), it must do what is best for the seller of that property.
A seller’s agent must tell the seller anything they aware of about a buyer. For instance, if a seller’s agent knows a buyer is willing to offer more for a property, that information must be shared with the seller. Information a seller shares with a seller’s agent must be kept confidential.
A buyer can expect fair service and disclosure of pertinent information about a property from a seller’s agent. Nothing will be misrepresented about a property. All questions will be answered honestly.
A real estate company acting as a “buyer’s agent” (helping them purchase a home) must do what is best for the buyer.
A written agreement establishes buyer agency. It also explains services the Realtor will provide and specifies what obligations a buyer may have. Typically, buyers will agree to work exclusively with that Realtor for a period of time.
A Realtor working for a buyer will keep information about the buyer confidential from a seller.
Occasionally a real estate company will be the agent of both the buyer and the seller. Under this “multiple representation” arrangement, the Realtor must do what is best for both the seller and the buyer, without sharing personal information with the other party.
Your RE/MAX Realtor will discuss multiple representation during conversations dealing with buying or selling a home.
A Realtor can act in multiple representation only if both the buyer and seller agree in writing.
Sometimes a buyer or seller chooses not to be represented by a Realtor, but to be treated as a customer. Realtors are obligated to treat every person in a real estate transaction with honesty, fairness and integrity. A Realtor must disclose known facts to a customer, but does not have a legal relationship with that customer. A Customer Service Agreement between the customer and the Realtor will establish this relationship.