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Agent vs. Buyer’s Agent

What’s the difference?

Before you enter into a discussion with a real estate agent regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand what type of agency relationship you wish to have with that agent. In New York State, a real estate agent is required to disclose which party he or she represents at the first substantive contact with a home buyer. Assume that any real estate agent is a seller’s agent until you know otherwise.

Seller’s Agent:

  • An agent working for the broker that holds a seller’s listing. A seller’s agent can also help you find and purchase property, and must disclose material facts, such as a leaking roof or other known structural problems.
  • A seller’s agent cannot disclose personal and confidential information about the sellers or their property, such as an impending divorce or foreclosure.
  • A seller’s agent has a legal duty to get the best possible price for the seller, so always assume any information you give a seller’s agent may be passed on to the seller.
  • A seller’s agent has an obligation to deal fairly and honestly in the negotiation process with you, but legally cannot negotiate on your behalf such as advising you on how much to offer or what the owner will accept.

Buyer’s Agent:

  • An agent who has agreed to represent your interest.
  • A buyer’s agent’s loyalty is to you.
  • A buyer’s agent cannot disclose personal and confidential information about you, such as your net worth, other properties you own or what you might be willing to spend for the property.
  • A buyer’s agent has a a legal duty to negotiate the purchase of a home at a price and on terms acceptable to you.
  • Some buyer’s agents work exclusively with buyers, taking no listings. We do both.
  • An exclusive buyer’s agency agreement normally ties you to one agent for a specified period of time, and is legally binding.
  • A non-exclusive buyer’s agency agreement does not tie you to one agent.

Dual Agent:

  • An agent who works for the firm that hold’s a seller’s listing, and who has agreed to represent the buyer purchasing that listing.
  • The dual agent cannot offer undivided loyalty to either the buyer or seller.
  • The dual agent cannot disclose confidential personal information about either party.
  • Dual agency must be agreed to in writing by both buyer and seller.

Dual Agency with a Designated Agent:

  • The listing broker’s office assumes the role of Dual Agent.
  • There are two designated agents within the office to work the transaction, one for the seller, one for the buyer.
  • A designated agent cannot offer undivided loyalty to either the buyer or seller.
  • Dual agency with a designated agent must be agreed to in writing by both buyer and seller.

In essence, being a fiduciary requires agents to place the interest of their client above their own. When representing a buyer or seller, an agent agrees to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation of absolute fidelity to the client’s interest does not relieve agents of the obligation to treat all parties fairly and honestly.

Agent Fiduciary Duties:

  • Obedience – act as authorized
  • Loyalty – act in the interest of the client
  • Disclosure – disclose relevant information to the client
  • Confidentiality – never reveal confidential information of the client
  • Accountability – maintain and furnish a true and complete accounting of money
  • Reasonable Care or Diligence – be attentive to the client’s affairs and take care to discover facts and report them to the client

At Gary DiMauro Real Estate we take our fiduciary responsibility very seriously. We represent both buyers and sellers and do so with the utmost integrity.