Should I work with a Buyer’s Agent? A Seller’s Agent? A Dual Agent?

In the past, real estate agents always represented the seller, whether the agent helped a seller to market and sell a property or helped a buyer find and purchase a property. In other words, agents were at one time legally bound to represent the seller in a real estate transaction. In that scenario, the seller paid both the listing agent and the agent who brought the buyer.

Today, agents either represent the buyer, the seller, or both. If you want to sell your real estate or business, you can work with a "seller's agent." If you want to buy, you can work with a "buyer's agent." Most states require real estate agents to disclose to consumers who they represent. Sometimes an agent will represent the buyer and the seller. A buyer who elects this situation should receive full disclosure on representation. In some states, dual agency affects the real estate professional's fiduciary responsibilities to the seller. The real estate agent you choose should fully disclose how they work with individuals and the options available to you.

With Dual Representation, the Realtor:

  • May not disclose any confidential information that would create a negotiating advantage for either client.
  • Confidential information includes such things as the possibility that the Seller will accept a price less than the listing price or that the Buyer will pay a price greater than the price being offered.