Choosing a Real Estate Professional

Selecting a real estate sales professional is one of the most important choices you’ll make during the process. It’s a good idea to interview several sales professionals before selecting one to represent you. Consider these Interview Checklist questions when comparing sales professionals.

In a real estate transaction, sales professionals may represent the seller, the buyer, or both parties. This representation is called an “agency.” Traditionally, a sales professional is the seller’s representative. So, unless otherwise stated and/or documented in writing, you should assume the real estate professional is working for the seller. In many regions, real estate sales professionals are legally obliged to disclose, in writing, information on the types of real estate agency relationships that exist. It is important to understand the differences between these agencies whether you are buying or selling a home.

Real Estate Representation

Seller’s Agent—A sales professional becomes a Seller’s Agent by entering into a listing agreement to represent the seller’s interests. Seller representation also exists when a sales professional shows a property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a “buyer agency” isn’t established. A Seller’s Agent may provide information to assist the buyer but must place the interests of the seller first.

  • Do not disclose anything to the Seller’s Agent you don’t want the seller to know.

Buyer’s Agent—A sales professional becomes a Buyer’s Agent by entering into an agreement to represent the buyer. A Buyer’s Agent can assist the seller, but must place the interests of the buyer first.

  • Sellers should not tell the Buyer’s Agent anything they do not want the buyer to know, because the Buyer’s Agent must disclose pertinent information to the buyer.

Dual Agent—Dual agency occurs when a sales professional represents both the seller and the buyer. It also occurs when the Listing or Seller’s Agent works for the same firm as the Buyer’s Agent. In many states, the buyer, the seller, and the sales professional must agree to a dual agency in writing.

  • The Dual Agent is required to treat the buyer and seller honestly and impartially, but the potential for conflict of interest exists.
  • The Dual Agent’s duties are more limited. Sometimes a Dual Agent is described as a transaction broker or an intermediary.