Real estate agents are frequently involved in real estate transactions and work under various arrangements, including providing limited services for reduced fees. If you see an advertisement for a house for sale, the agent is working for the seller, as you’d expect, under a “listing” contract. That agent has professional obligations to look out for the seller’s interests.
In recent years, a new type of agent relationship has become increasingly popular – that is, the buyer’s agent. The buyer’s agent is professionally bound to represent only the buyer’s interests and is paid by the buyer. The agent can tell you information about the seller or the property that might be useful to you. And the agent won’t disclose information you prefer the seller not know about you.
Is a buyer required to work with a buyer’s agent? No. Many buyers work satisfactorily under the traditional agent arrangements.
Whether the agent is primarily the agent of the seller (under a listing contract) or of the buyer (under a buyer agency contract), the agent owes a duty of “fair dealing” to all parties. Part of that duty is to keep confidential anything that someone wants or would reasonably expect to be kept confidential.
If you decide to work with a real estate agent, have your attorney review the agency agreement before you sign it, to be sure the arrangement is exactly what you believe it to be.