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Many Realtors remember when the buyer’s agent was the sub-agent of the listing agent; thus, legally an agent of the seller!
Despite the common-sense perception that a buyer’s agent represented the buyer, the industry’s sleight-of-hand favoring sellers persisted for generations and often had unintended legal consequences.
Eventually, this practice was retired for true buyer agency; however, unlike listing real estate for the seller’s agency which must be in writing, a buyer’s agency was usually created through an oral agreement to represent the buyer for finding the property and/or assisting with negotiating the offer and finalizing the transaction for closing.
However, with the evolution of the internet, as real estate market information became less centralized in local brokerages and realty associations, models of service became more varied and competitive.
This was a great benefit for consumers. But with more choices and ever-increasing regulation, came the obligation to understand the differences in how services are provided, how they affect the transaction from a legal perspective, and how the agents are to be compensated.
For these reasons, whether selling or buying real estate, having a Realtor’s assistance in today’s market is more valuable than ever. But like any service agreement involving significant investment, be sure to fully understand and properly memorialize in writing the terms of your arrangement with your agent. Doing so will also significantly reduce the risk of litigation.
Note: The views expressed are solely the opinion of the author.
Source: Richelle Cohen Mossler, General Counsel, Indiana Association of Realtors
Video/Image Source: Indiana Association of Realtors