|Buyer Agent or Seller Agent? Who's Working for You?|
Any business person who wants to stay in business must treat their customers fairly and with a high degree of service. As a customer, you should be able to reasonably expect honesty and accountability. The difference is that employees owe their loyalty to their employer and agents owe their loyalty to their principal.
An agent owes more than just honesty and accountability. The principal can expect complete disclosure, obedience, loyalty, reasonable skill and care and confidentiality from their agent. This advocacy is very beneficial during the buying or selling process to coordinate all aspects of the transaction. The agent can bring valuable experience to your side of the transaction to provide confidence that your best interests are being represented from start to finish.
Most states have a recognized procedure for the real estate professional to create a formal relationship between themselves and a buyer or seller. This requires a fiduciary/statutory responsibility that places the principals’ interests above the agent’s own personal interests.
In Massachusetts real estate agents are required to provide consumers the Massachusetts Mandatory Licensee-Consumer Relationship Disclosure form at the first personal meeting with you to discuss a specific property. The form explains the types of agency an agent can provide. Although, this has been mandatory for years, many buyers who have looked at properties with other agents often tell me they have never seen the form! Consumers have a right to know who an agent represents.
Additionally, it is in the consumer’s best interest to have a written agreement with an agent who is going to represent them as a buyer agent. It clarifies expectations so there are no surprises or misunderstanding about responsibilities and makes for a less stressful transaction. Here are some of the other advantages of a written buyer agency agreement.
About the author: Marilyn Messenger, a local real estate broker associated with Andrew Mitchell and Company, has been representing buyers and sellers in Wayland, Sudbury, Maynard, and the towns west of Boston for 20+ years. She is a Certified Residential Specialist - less than 4% of Realtors have achieved the CRS® designation, an Accredited Buyer Representative and is an active member of the Real Estate Buyer Agency Council. Visit www.marilynmessenger.com.