Before working with a real estate broker, you should know that the duties of a broker depend on whom the broker represents. If you are a prospective buyer or a tenant (buyer), you should know that the broker who lists the property for sale or lease is the owner’s agent. A broker who acts as a subagent represents the owner in cooperation with the listing broker. A broker who acts as a buyer’s agent represents the buyer. A broker may act as an intermediary between the parties if the parties consent in writing. A broker can assist you in locating a property, preparing a contract or lease, or obtaining financing without representing you. A broker is obligated by law to treat you honestly.
The broker becomes the owner’s agent by entering into an agreement with the owner, usually through a written listing agreement, or by agreeing to act as a subagent by accepting an offer of subagency from the listing broker. A subagent may work in a different real estate office. A listing broker or subagent can assist the buyer but does not represent the buyer and must place the interests of the owner first. The buyer should not tell the owner’s agent anything the buyer would not want the owner to know because an owner’s agent must disclose to the owner any material information known to the agent.
If you choose to have a broker represent you, you should enter into a written agreement with the broker that clearly establishes the broker’s obligations and your obligations. The agreement should state how and by whom the broker will be paid. You have the right to choose the type of representation, if any, you wish to receive. Your payment of a fee to a broker does not necessarily establish that the broker represents you. If you have questions regarding the duties and responsibilities of the broker, you should resolve those questions before proceeding.