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When buying real estate, you may have several choices as to how you want a real estate firm and its agents to work with you. For example, you may want them to represent only you (as a buyer's agent ). You may be willing for them to represent both you and the seller at the same time (as a dual agent ). Or you may agree to let them represent only the seller ( seller's agent or subagent ). Some agents will offer you a choice of these services. Others may not.
Duties to Buyer
If the real estate firm and its agents represent you, they must
• promote your best interests
• be loyal to you
• follow your lawful instructions
• provide you with all material facts that could influence your decisions
• use reasonable skill, care and diligence, and
• account for all monies they handle for you.
Once you have agreed (either orally or in writing) for the firm and its agents to be your buyer's agent, they may not give any confidential information about you to sellers or their agents without your permission so long as they represent you. But until you make this agreement with your buyer's agent, you should avoid telling the agent anything you would notwant a seller to know.
Unwritten Agreements: To make sure that you and the real estate firm have a clear understanding of what your relationship will be and what the firm will do for you, you may want to have a written agreement. However, some firms may be willing to represent and assist you for a time as a buyer's agent without a written agreement. But if you decide to make an offer to purchase a particular property, the agent must obtain a written agency agreement. If you do not sign it, the agent can no longer represent and assist you and is no longer required to keep information about you confidential. Furthermore, if you later purchase the property through an agent with another firm, the agent who first showed you the property may seek compensation from the other firm.
Be sure to read and understand any agency agreement before you sign it.
Services and Compensation: Whether you have a written or unwritten agreement, abuyer's agent will perform a number of services for you. These may include helping you
• find a suitable property
• arrange financing
• learn more about the property and
• otherwise promote your best interests.
If you have a written agency agreement, the agent can also help you prepare and submit a written offer to the seller. A buyer's agent can be compensated in different ways. For example, you can pay the agent out of your own pocket. Or the agent may seek compensation from the seller or listing agent first, but require you to pay if the listing agent refuses. Whatever the case, be sure your compensation arrangement with your buyer's agent is spelled out in a buyer agency agreement before you make an offer to purchase property and that you carefully read and understand the compensation provision.