The Role of the Realtor®

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Who does your Realtor Represent?

Maryland Rules and Regulations, National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics and the City, State and Federal Laws of Agency require that Realtors inform and disclose to all buyers agency representation rules and laws. If you do not choose to hire me to represent you as a buyer’s agent, the law requires that I represent the seller as a subagent or assist you as a presumed buyer’s agent. For help understanding these roles, download this FREE report “Understanding Whom Real Estate Agents Represent.”

During our initial consultation, you will choose one of three different ways we can assist you during the buying process.

Please review and compare the merits of each of them;

Presumed Buyer’s Agent (no written agreement):

When a person goes to a real estate agent, either initially or at any time, the agent is presumed to be representing the buyer and can show the buyer properties that are not listed by the agent’s real estate company. A presumed buyer’s agent may not make or prepare an offer or negotiate a sale for the buyer. The buyer does not have an obligation to pay anything to the presumed agent.

Buyer’s Agent with written representation agreement:

A buyer or tenant may enter into a written contract with a real estate agent which provides that the agent will represent the buyer or tenant in locating a property to buy or rent. The agent is then known as the buyer’s agent. During the home buying process , we represent you, the buyer in evaluating properties and preparing offers, and negotiating in the best interests of the buyer . As a buyer’s agent, we will represent your best interests by monitoring the transaction from start to finish while providing full disclosure to the seller. Most of the time, the commission is paid by the Seller on behalf of the Buyer.

With Buyer representation, the possibility of dual agency arises when the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent both work for the same real estate company, and the buyer is interested in property listed by that company. The real estate company, or broker, is called the “dual agent”. Dual agents do not act exclusively in the interests of either the seller or the buyer, or landlord or tenant, and therefore cannot give undivided loyalty to either party. There may be a conflict of interest because the interests of the seller and buyer may be different or adverse.

If both seller and buyer, or landlord and tenant, agree to dual agency by signing a Consent For Dual Agency form, then the real estate company (the “dual agent”) will assign one agent to represent the seller or landlord (“the seller’s intra-company agent”). Intra-company agents may provide the same services to their clients as exclusive seller’s or buyer’s agent, including advising their clients as to price and negotiation strategy, provided the clients have both consented to be represented by dual agency.

If either party does not agree to dual agency, the real estate company may withdraw the agency agreement for that particular property with either the buyer or seller, or both. If the seller’s agreement is terminated, the seller must then either represent him or herself or arrange to be represented by an agent from another real estate company. If the buyer’s agreement is terminated, the buyer or tenant may choose to enter into a written buyer agency agreement with an agent of his or her own but simply to receive assistance from the seller’s agent, from another agent in the company, or from a cooperating agent from another company.

No matter what type of agent you choose to work with, you have the following rights and responsibilities in buying or renting property:

  • Real estate agents are obligated by law to treat all parties to a real estate transaction honestly and fairly. They must exercise reasonable care and diligence and maintain the confidentiality of clients. They must not discriminate in offering of properties; they must promptly present each written offer or counteroffer to the other party; and they must answer questions truthfully.
  • Real estate agents must disclose all material facts that they know or should know relating to a property. An agent’s duty to maintain confidentiality does not apply to the disclosure of material facts about a property.
  • All agreements with real estate agents should explain the duties and obligations of the agent. The agreement should explain how the agent will be paid and any fee-sharing agreements with other agents.
  • You have the responsibility to protect your own interests. You should carefully read all agreements to make sure they accurately reflect your understanding. A real estate agent is qualified to advise you on real estate matters only. If you need legal or tax advice, it is your responsibility to consult a licensed attorney or accountant.

Any complaints about a real estate agent may be filed with the Real Estate Commission at 500 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. (410) 230-6200.

As a Buyer’s Agent with written Representation agreement :

  • Realtor® pays full attention to the buyers needs
  • Buyer can talk freely, everything said is held in confidence
  • Realtor® suggests alternative solutions, increasing the supply of appropriate properties
  • First opportunity to view new listings always given to those who have committed
  • OKAY for Realtor to give advice accompanied by facts to assist in making an objective evaluation of the property both positive and negative aspects
  • Realtor® educates the buyer by comparing competing and closed properties
  • Realtor® educates the buyer by planning a negotiating strategy
  • Realtor® suggests procedures that will strengthen the buyers negotiating position
  • Price counseling will be given to buyer with all recent sales data
  • Contract will be written with buyer protective clauses included
  • Financing alternatives will be suggested that have the buyers best interest in mind
  • Realtor® negotiates on behalf of the buyer
  • Realtor® continues service to the buyer during negotiation, by searching for other appropriate properties for the buyer, to enhance the buyers negotiating position
  • Realtor® strengthens the buyers negotiating position by telling about past offers and any other information about the sellers that would aid the buyer
  • Realtor® shares all information about the seller unless the buyer agrees otherwise, any information that would aid buyers position must be disclosed
  • Follow through after the purchase contract has been negotiated attempting to solve problems to buyer’s satisfaction
  • Realtor® is available to buyer after closing. Keep all information confidential and provide assistance and referrals

Seller’s Subagent cooperating with the seller’s Agent:

A Seller’s Subagent works for a real estate company different from the company for which the seller’s agent works. The Seller’s subagent can assist a buyer or tenant in purchasing or renting a property, but his or her duty of loyalty is only to the sellers or landlords.

  • Realtor® maintains loyalty to seller’s needs
  • Realtor® tells seller all that you learn about buyer that would enhance sellers negotiating
  • Realtor® focuses on the seller’s property only
  • Realtor® has lower level of responsibility to the buyer
  • Material facts and positive aspects will be given but negative aspects of the property will not be mentioned
  • Realtor® protects the seller’s interest by not comparing properties
  • No education outside material facts is provided to the buyer
  • Implement negotiating strategy that will strengthen the sellers position
  • Price counseling will be given to support the seller’s price
  • Contract will be written to protect the seller from buyer protective clauses
  • Financing will be directed to protect the seller’s interest
  • Realtor® negotiates on behalf of the seller
  • During the term of negotiation, continue to market the sellers home in an attempt to receive a competing offer for the seller
  • Realtor® maintains the strength of the sellers by not discussing the details of previous offers or financial position or need to sell
  • Realtor® shares all information about the buyer unless the seller agrees otherwise, any information about the buyer must be disclosed
  • Follow through after the purchase contract has been negotiated attempting to solve problems to seller’s satisfaction
  • Be available for the seller only after the closing.

If you have any further questions about what a Realtor is required to do for you, feel free to contact me at any time.