By: Sarah Boha
“Who are all of these people”? Buyer Agent, Seller Agent, Dual Agent – There are many roles one Realtor can play in a real estate transaction. As a consumer, it may not seem clear who is who when you’re buying or selling your home. As a Realtor, it is our job to make these business relationships apparent to the public. In the state of Pennsylvania, a consumer notice disclosed by the State Real Estate Commission must be presented by your PA Licensed Realtor upon the first meeting. The Pennsylvania real estate consumer notice is a two page, menu of services describing the agency relationships a consumer may enter into during the sale or purchase of real estate.
Here is a simple guide to understanding the business partnerships you may enter into as a consumer of real estate, inspired by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission’s Consumer Notice.
What is a Seller/Listing Agent?
A seller or listing agent works exclusively with a seller/landlord in the sale of real estate.
A business relationship should not be presumed until you have signed an agreement outlining the terms, commission structure and length of the partnership. Note, you may interview many agents to sell your home prior to your final selection.
Once you have signed an agreement with your preferred Realtor, it is their duty to work exclusively to present a ready, willing and able buyer for your property.
Your designated listing agent must keep all confidential information, confidential, with the exception of known material defects of the home. Known material defects of a home must be disclosed to the consumer.
What is a Buyer Agent?
A buyer agent represents a buyer in the purchase of real estate.
A business relationship should not be presumed until you have signed a buyer agency agreement. In the buyer agency agreement, you may select the length of your partnership with your chosen Realtor.
As a consumer, you have a right to choose ANY licensed Realtor in your state to represent you in the purchase of real estate – (as per a signed buyer agency agreement). Bear in mind, if the agent you wish to represent you is with “ABC Realty”, for example, and you want to see a house with “XYZ Realty”, the Realtor with ABC Realty CAN show you the house listed by XYZ Realty. A licensed real estate agent in your state can show you any home listed in your area that you choose; it is one of many rights you have as a consumer of real estate.
Once a buyer agency agreement is signed, by you and your preferred Realtor, your Realtor is obligated to keep all information you disclose confidential. Your Realtor is strictly bound to represent your best interest in a transaction, unless the agent you’ve selected has a listing in which they are representing the seller; as a consumer, you may opt for a Dual Agency relationship in this scenario.
What is a Dual Agent?
A dual agent represents both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction, with prior written consent from both parties.
A dual agent must work equally for both the buyer and seller and may not “take any action that is adverse or detrimental to either party”.
A dual agent must disclose known material defects about the property.
What is a Transaction Licensee?
A transaction licensee only provides real estate services and does not have an agency agreement with a consumer. With no agency relationship, a transaction licensee is not obligated to keep consumer information confidential.
Although a transaction licensee does not provide you with representation, they are prohibited from disclosing the following:
· The seller will accept a price less than the asking price.
· The buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in the written offer.
· The seller or buyer will agree to finance terms other than those offered.
A transaction licensee must disclose known material defects about the property.
Regardless of the business relationship entered into with a licensee, all agents must deal honestly and in good faith with all consumers of real estate. If it isn’t clear who is representing who when other agents are introduced into your negotiation, it is your right as a consumer to stop and ensure that you are making an informed decision in the buying or selling of real estate.
Click Here to Review the PA Real Estate Consumer Notice