Should I Work
With A Buyer's Agent? A Seller's Agent? A Dual
You should understand from the
beginning of your relationship with your real estate agent
what type of relationship exists. In most states, real estate
agents (both brokers and sales associates alike) are required
by law to let consumers know whether they represent the buyer
or the seller.
In the past, real estate agents
represented the seller exclusively, whether the agent helped a
seller to market and sell the home or helped a buyer find and
purchase the home. In other words, agents were at one time
legally bound to represent the seller in a residential real
estate transaction. In that same scenario, the seller paid
both the listing agent and the agent who brought the buyer.
However, in today's real estate
market, you may find that you can choose between a wide
variety of options for representation. If you want to sell a
home, you can work with a "seller's agent". If you
are purchasing a home, you can work with a subagent of the
seller's agent and, in many areas, you can engage an exclusive
An additional situation in some
states is dual agency. This type of agency exists when the
buyer decides to have the seller's agent prepare the offer on
the buyer's behalf. A buyer who elects this situation, and all
additional parties to a transaction, should receive full
disclosure of representation. In some states, dual agency also
affects the real estate professional's fiduciary
responsibilities to the seller.
Keep in mind that real estate
laws differ from state to state and even from locale to
locale. And within this framework of variety, laws can change.
For more in-depth answers for your specific situation, talk
with a knowledgeable real estate professional and ask about
local practices. Be sure that you understand and are
comfortable with the options involved when you engage the
services of a real estate agent.