A real estate broker or salesperson must tell you who he or she represents in a prospective transaction. This disclosure of the relationship the agent has with you or another party must be made in writing at the time of your first personal meeting to discuss a specific property or properties.
Types of Agent Relationships
If you engage the services of a listing broker to sell your property, you become the broker’s client. That broker represents you, the seller, and owes you undivided loyalty, confidentiality and accountability. In negotiating for the best price and terms, he must put your interests first.
You may engage the services of a broker to represent you exclusively as a buyer of real property. In this case, the broker represents you and is accountable to you. She must obey your instructions and keep confidential anything you tell her that may affect your purchase of real property. In negotiating for the best prices and terms, she must put your interests first.
Disclosed Dual Agent
A broker can work for both the buyer and the seller on the same property provided the broker gets the consent of both parties and provides each with a written notice of the relationship. In this case, the broker is considered a “disclosed dual agent.” This broker owes both the seller and buyer a duty to deal with them fairly and honestly. In this type of agency relationship, the broker does not represent either the seller or the buyer exclusively, and neither party can expect the broker’s undivided loyalty. Undisclosed dual agency by a broker is illegal.
When a real estate agent works as a facilitator that agent assists the seller and buyer in reaching an agreement but does not represent either the seller or buyer in the transaction. The facilitator and the broker with whom the facilitator is affiliated owe the seller and buyer a duty to present each property honestly and accurately by disclosing known material defects about the property and owe a duty to account for funds. Unless otherwise agreed, the facilitator has no duty to keep information received from a seller or buyer confidential. The role of facilitator applies only to the seller and buyer in the particular property transaction involving the seller and buyer. Should the seller and buyer expressly agree a facilitator relationship can be changed to become an exclusive agency relationship with either the seller or the buyer.