If you're endeavoring to get or sell a house, you'll probably need the help of knowledgeable land agent. But it is not uncommon for buyers and sometimes sellers to work with a real estate agent without asking the crucial question: who does the real estate agent represent?

Sometimes the real estate agent only works for the seller, at times just for the buyer, and other times both clients.

Buyers and sellers can be misled into thinking that an agent is working exclusively for them when that is not the case. Quite often, this happens when a real estate agent practices dual agency. Dual agency occurs when a real estate agent “represents” both a buyer and seller in one real estate transaction.

The problem with the dual agency relationship is it is impossible to truly represent both a buyer and seller when they have conflicting goals. Additionally, when you become a dual agent, you’re not allowed to provide advice like you would in a traditional buyer’s agent or seller’s agent relationship. In other words, the very reason why a consumer hires an agent – to get the best advice possible.

Most states have disclosure laws where real estate agents must explain agency law to a prospective client. Even so, sometimes, either the important realtor doesn’t explain agency well, or the buyer doesn’t know it .

Even worse, many land agents don’t know it either. Do you know how many real estate agents think they can give a consumer advice in a dual agency relationship? TONS! It is frightening how many agents don’t understand agency law in their own state. This is more commonplace than it should be.

Smart consumers secure exclusive interests of a respective buyer’s agent or seller’s agent, depending on what side of the fence they are on. They know that by doing so, their interests are protected throughout the transaction.

The best real estate agents understand that the goal isn’t to make a sale at all costs but to protect the best interests of the client they serve. For example, most homeowners would like to sell their property for the most money possible. On the flip side, most buyers want to make a purchase knowing they didn’t overpay.

Functions of Real Estate Agents
A real estate agent should have expertise in all aspects of buying or selling a home, no matter which side of the fence they sit on. Of course, this suggests passing a state-required test and getting licensed. While the end goal of a real estate agent is to help buyers purchase a home and help homeowners sell a home, not at the expense of violating their fiduciary responsibilities.

Consumers should also understand that the words Realtor, Real Estate agent, and broker all have different meanings! Read the detailed resource at Maximum Real Estate Exposure to know how they differ.

Below is a brief clarification of the kinds of real estate agents and their functions.

An Agent of The Buyer: Known as a Buyer’s Agent
The buyer’s agent works only with the buyer and guides them in every step with their best interests at heart, from finding a home to completing the transaction. It’s crucial to understand why you should have a buyer’s agent when purchasing a house. In particular, the buyer’s agent will do the following:

1. Assists in finding a property that matches the buyer’s search criteria.2. Consults with the seller’s agent on all aspects of the transaction.3. Directs buyers to professionals such as home inspectors, mortgage brokers, and attorneys.4. Assists the buyer with all paperwork in purchasing a home.5. Provides the buyer with advice and expertise from start to finish.

Real Estate Agent For The Seller: Known as a Seller’s Agent
The agent of the seller works only with and to the highest interest of the homeowner, advising them on everything from home staging, to proper pricing, and everything in between to completion.

The following are some of the primary roles of a seller’s real estate agent:

1. Guides you to prepare to sell your house2. Lists your house in MLS3. Provides online and offline marketing4. Communicates with the seller throughout the transaction5. Displays your home to buyers by providing photography and marketing expertise6. Consults with the buyer’s agent before and during the sale

You can see a superb summary of all of the items a true realtor does for both buyers and sellers here. What’s written above only scratches the surface on what a buyer’s and seller’s agent does for his or her clients on a day to day .

A Dual Real Estate Agent
As previously mentioned, he or she represents both the purchaser and the seller in a single transaction. This is lawfully allowed in some states but not in others with the assent of the buyer and the seller. Note that hiring a dual real estate agent can bring a conflict of interest since the real estate agent cannot advise the buyer or seller. Giving advice in dual agency is ILLEGAL. An agent doing so would be practicing illegal dual agency.

Designated Agency
Designated agency is when a real estate transaction is conducted in-house by the same real estate company with one agent serving the seller as a seller’s agent and another agent serving the buyer as a buyer’s agent. In this circumstance, the broker of record becomes a dual agent.

Designated agency differs from dual agency in the fact that each party has a real estate agent who is representing their best interests. Designated agency relieves the conflict of interest that is inherent with dual agency. Both buyer and seller have an agent they will rest on for advice.

Cooperating Real Estate Agents or Sub-Agents
Cooperating land agents or sub-agents is simply another name for an agent who is functioning for a buyer.