Who Agents Work For?
In the past, real estate agents always represented the seller. If a prospective buyer had their own real estate agent, that agent would be considered a subagent of the listing agent.
In other words, the buyers real estate agent's main fiduciary responsibility was to the seller, even though he brought the buyer to the transaction. There was much confusion on who represented who, and the real estate industry felt an immediate change was needed to clarify real estate agency.
Times Have Changed
Today, real estate agents either represent the buyer, the seller, or both. If you want to sell your home, you can work with a "seller's agent." If you want to buy a home, you can work with a "buyer's agent."
Most states require real estate agents to disclose to consumers who they represent. Sometimes an agent will represent the buyer and the seller. A buyer who elects this situation should receive full disclosure on representation.
In some states, dual agency affects the real estate professional's fiduciary responsibilities to the seller. The real estate agent you choose should fully disclose how they work with individuals and the options available to you.
Keep in mind that real estate laws differ from state to state and even from locale to locale. For more in-depth answers, talk with a knowledgeable real estate professional and ask about local practices. Be sure you understand and are comfortable with the services of the real estate agent you eventually engage with.
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