NO ONE DOES!
That is, unless you have a written agreement with the agent. The Massachusetts Licensing Board’s Consumer Brochure on Real Estate Representation says, ‘Unless you have a written agreement, you should not expect the agent to promote your best interests or to keep your bargaining information confidential.‘
REAL ESTATE TIP for buyers and sellers:
Before your first meeting with a real estate agent, make sure you understand how Real Estate Representation works in Massachusetts:
- A SELLER’S AGENT has the duties, as defined by law, to represent the seller’s interest in the sale of the property.
- A BUYER’S AGENT has the duties, as defined by law, to represent the buyer’s interest in the sale of the property.
Simple enough. However, it can get complicated when you consider that you can have:
- DUAL AGENCYwhere a real estate agent represents both the seller and buyer, but only if both parties give written concent to the agent to represent both parties. Or,
- A FACILITATOR where the real estate agent assists the seller and buyer in reaching an agreement but does not represent either party and has no duty to keep information received from the seller or buyer confidential.
Before you share information with an agent about your need, motivation, time line or financial concerns, be sure you know if the agent is working in your best interests or not. Find out WHO THE AGENT REPRESENTS and GET IT IN WRITING!
Download and read the The Massachusetts Licensing Board’s Consumer Brochure on Real Estate Representation before you talk with an agent about buying or selling a house.
MY CLOSING WORDS:
A good real estate agent will give you an Agency Disclosure Form and explain the different types of agency relationships in your first meeting. But, you’ll have enough other things to think about without having to hear about this for the first time.
– Merle Braley