Agency Relationships In Real Estate Transactions

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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All states require agents involved in real estate transactions to hold a valid real estate license.  As the buyer or seller of a home, it is important that you are aware of the duties required of your real estate agent.

What Is An Agent?

An agent is one who represents another (typically called the principal) in dealings with third parties. This means that anything an agent does or says while acting in the capacity of being an agent for you is as if you did it or said it yourself. Real estate agents are typically employed by brokerage firms.

Licensed Real Estate Agent Relationships

There are several methods that a home buyer or seller can establish an agency relationship with a licensed real estate agent:

What Duty Does An Agent Owe To His Client?

An agent owes his client specific fiduciary responsibilities. Traditionally, a fiduciary responsibility entails one of trust, confidence, loyalty, obedience, full disclosure, skill, care, diligence, and accountability. In real estate transactions, an agent's duty to his client(s) depends on which party(s) he is representing. One requirement in all transaction is that the agent disclose to all parties which party(s) he will be representing. As a licensee may be an agent for the buyer, the seller, or both (in which case the agent is referred to as a dual agent), his duties will vary as follows:

Do I Need An Attorney If My Agent Has Failed To Perform His Duties?

As an agency may be established in any of the three mentioned ways, you should retain an attorney if you believe that you have been represented by an agent who has violated his duties toward you in a real estate transaction. Since an experienced real estate attorney will be familiar with the duties owed to you by your agent, he will be able to inform you whether your agent has breached his duties.

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Last Modified: 04-21-2014 06:23 PM PDT

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