Real Estate Relationships, The Service, The Expertise
There is more to real estate relationships than appointing a real estate agent to buy or sell your home. Real estate agents have different mandates in terms of how they represent their clients; and in many states, agents are required to sign an agency disclosure form that specifies this relationship.
Before a buyer or seller appoints a real estate agent, they should ascertain which of the various real estate relationships the agent operates under.
The real estate license laws are not exactly the same in all states, so you need too familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations wherever it is you are buying or selling property. We’re going to use information supplied by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission to explain agency relationships in real estate.
Real Estate Relationships
The Real Estate License Law in NC requires that licensed real estate agents (a brokerage company or licensee) explain their agency relationship with buyers and sellers and present their clients with completed agency disclosure forms that show who exactly they will be representing in real estate transactions.
When licensees begin working with potential buyers, they need to establish whether the buyer will be their customer or their client.
All real estate agents offer a service, and they should have the required expertise to do the job. But the real estate service they offer will also depend on the real estate relationship that is chosen.
Customer versus Client
One real estate agent cannot be all things to both customers and clients, unless he or she is officially operating as a dual agent. It stands to reason that agents have certain obligations to customers, and certain duties they need to perform for clients. Generally as a customer you will receive information and assistance; as a client a licensed real estate agent will represent you, and negotiate on your behalf.
Here are some more guidelines:
- Customers do not establish real estate relationships with licensees, so the service they get does not include negotiating on your behalf. However the expertise you are assured of will be invaluable, including vital market information.
- Clients sign agreements with licensees who then represent them, and negotiate for them. Buyers and sellers can both be clients.
- Agents are the licensees who act on behalf of buyers and sellers. In NC once the agency relationship has been formalized, the “broker-in-charge” of the agency becomes the agent, with all other licensees in the company becoming sub-agents.
- Dual agents offer their services and loyalty to both buyer and seller, but only provided both parties agree to this situation. This means that both buyer and seller become clients of the same agent. But there are certain limitations: for instance a dual agent cannot disclose confidential information to the other party and they may not negotiate or advise on price or terms.
So while the general service and expertise of real estate agents is the same across the board, there are differences, depending on specific real estate relationships.
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