Your Relationship With a Realtor

Buyer, selling or leasing real estate is probably the most important and potentially rewarding financial transaction you'll make in your life. So it is a good idea to take a moment and consider the kind of relationship you might be entering into with a REALTOR. The more you know, the more satisfied you will be with the results.
REALTORS®, Brokerages and real estate boards need to collect, use and disclose some personal information to help you sell, buy or lease real estate.

The Agency Relationship

REALTORS® work within a legal relationship called agency. The agency relationship exists between you, the principal, and your brokerage, the company under which the individual representing you is licensed. The essence of the agency relationship is that the brokerage has the authority to represent the principal in dealings with others.
Brokerages and their licensees are legally obligated to protect and promote the interests of their principals as they would their own. Specifically, the brokerage has the following duties.

You can expect competent service from your brokerage, knowing that the company is bound by ethics and the law to be honest and thorough in representing a property listed for sale or lease. Both buyer/tenant and seller/landlord can be represented by their own brokerages in a single transaction.

Dual Agency

Dual agency occurs when a brokerage is representing both buyer/tenant and seller/landlord in the same transaction. Since the brokerage has promised a duty of confidentiality, loyalty and full disclosure to both parties simultaneously, it is necessary to limit these duties in this situation, if both parties consent.
If you find yourself involved in a dual agency relationship, before making or receiving an offer, both you and the other party will be asked to consent, in writing, to this new limited agency relationship.
This relationship involves the following limitations:

  1. the brokerage will not disclose that the buyer/tenant is willing to pay a price or agree to terms other than those contained in the offer, or that the seller/landlord is willing to accept a price or terms other than those contained in the listing;
  2. the brokerage will not disclose the motivation of the buyer/tenant to buy or or lease or the seller/landlord to sell or lease unless authorized by the buyer/tenant or the seller/landlord;
  3. the brokerage will not disclose personal information, not otherwise necessarily disclosed in the transaction documentation, about the buyer/tenant or seller/landlord unless authorized in writing.

When There is No Agency Relationship

You may also choose to use the services of a REALTOR® without having any kind of agency relationship. This might occur, for example, when you are being shown a property by the seller's/landlord's agent.

The REALTOR® you choose to work with in this manner has a legal and ethical duty to provide you with accurate, honest answers to your questions and may provide all these services:

A REALTOR® who is not your agent cannot:

You should not provide a REALTOR® who is not your agent with any information that you would not provide directly to his or her principal.

Members of the public are aware that, in most cases, properties offered for sale by members of the real estate profession have a commission or fee that the seller/landlord has agreed to pay to the listing brokerage.

The listing brokerage traditionally shares this commission/fee with the cooperating brokerage. Commission and fee may vary.

A printer friendly version of 'WORKING WITH A REALTOR' is available in PDF format.

If you do not have PDF viewing software you can quickly download a free version of Acrobat Reader from Adobe.



2008-05-01 (c) Christine Wolter