Buyer Agents vs Seller Agents: Should they be two different people?

You want to either sell or buy a new home, but you are unsure of what realtor to go with in the process. Understanding the role of a realtor and how they relate to you if you’re a seller or buyer is extremely important. For the first time home buyer or seller you need to be aware of a few facts, and clear out the cobwebs of confusion on the responsibilities and duties of a realtor.

Depending on what state you live in realtors may be committed to act only as the seller or buyer agent. Many times however a realtor may take on a dual role of representing both the seller and buyer, or known as a dual agent. In other words they have a duty to sell the home for the best possible price for the seller, and at the same time are committed to get the best asking price for a buyer. This can be a little nerve racking for many people, but the best defense is being in the know about the legal and moral responsibilities associated with a realtor’s dual agency representation, and how you can feel confident about working with them.

The legalities of the fact for realtors are that in most states they are required to share the knowledge of which party they work for. Most of the time realtors work for the individuals that are selling a home. If you are unclear make sure to ask, so to ease any nervous jitters on your part. Always assume that any realtor is working for a firm that represents both a seller and a buyer, and if you are a buyer, make sure to hold close any information that may affect any deals that are offered for your purchase of a house. Buyer’s agents have a loyalty to the buyer only. This is verified by a signing of a contractual agreement between both the agent and the buyer. The buyer should be aware that agents are held to a legal and moral obligation to not disclose any personal facts not only to the home seller, but to the realtor’s agent. Material disclosure is permissible though about the property, such as any known pest infestations, or problems with the structure itself. A dual agency for a realtor is usually assumed for them if they represent a buyer; make sure to check into the realtor’s status for your own peace of mind. However, contract protection is afforded for anyone that is interested in purchasing a property through an agent that represents a seller’s interest by signing a contract to represent both.

If you are in the market to buy a home you need to expect a reasonable amount of service from any real estate agent that represents you. The goal should be to fully represent your best interests. You need to be informed clearly from your agent if they will require you to sign an exclusive clause contract. This legally binding contract will require you to work with that agent only. Always search for an agent that will allow you to have other realtors working on your behalf. All buyers agents should work diligently to help you sell your home by providing comparisons studies of the in your area, and to handle any inspections, or working with a lender and the loan application process. He or she should be more than willing to consider and respect your wishes when planning an open house for either other realtors or the general public. Agents should always be courteous about general appointment times to meet with you, and should always leave a cell phone in case of unexpected issues surrounding the sale of your home. Your buyer’s agent should clearly explain all aspects of the contract to you. Issues such as contract compensation and their exact fees for selling your home, along with things such as how long you must list your home with them should be covered in a written contract.

Over all the experience of either buying or selling a home should be one that is pleasant for both the seller and buyer. Selling and buying is a serious decision that can affect your financial and emotional well being for years to come – consequences of how informed you are will be long lasting, many years after you have walked away from the bargaining table.   


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