Real Estate Agency Disclosure
Notice to all visitors: By law and by training, I am qualified to represent either the sellers or the buyers of all homes listed or referred to in this website as a "Sellers Agent" or a "Buyers Agent". No decision has to be made by you at this time, but must be made at our first personal meeting to discuss specific properties. The following information will clarify these distinctions.
Buyers & Sellers Agents Defined *Whether you are the buyer or the seller, you can choose to have the advice, assistance and representation of your own agent.
Regulations of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons require that written notice of the agency of a real estate agent be provided to buyers (and sellers) at the first personal meeting to discuss a specific property and that the broker ask the buyer (and seller) to acknowledge receipt of the notice. See Agency Disclosure Form .
A. Today, consumers have a choice when selecting an agent to work with during the property transaction. You may use a seller's agent, buyer's agent, or disclosed dual agent.
As a buyer, you have the option of working with a seller's agent or buyer's agent. The decision will depend upon the types of services you desire and the method of compensating the agent. In addition, a broker who is representing the buyer and shows that buyer a property listed with the broker's office is said to be a "dual agent." Dual agency is permissible provided that both buyer and seller have given informed consent.
Any one of the professionals identified above can help buyers understand housing costs, research properties available on the market within their stated price range, and provide important disclosures about the property being shown. They also can assist prospective buyers in obtaining legal forms and presenting the offer. They can provide information about schools and taxes, as well as provide general information to both buyer and seller concerning issues such as financing and required inspections.
In addition, any of these agents may accompany buyers to the home inspections, however, only the buyer's agent can assist in formal price negotiations on behalf of prospective home buyers.
B. All real estate licensees must act fairly with all parties, including those to whom they are not contractually obliged.
For example, both seller's and buyer's agents must disclose all known material defects in the property to buyers, although he or she is not required to conduct his/her own search to determine such problems.
In addition, a buyer's agent may assist buyers in determining what price and terms to include in an offer or a home and represent the buyer's interests in price negotiation. Brokers who act as a buyer's agent owe the buyer undivided loyalty, utmost care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality and accountability. The broker must put the buyer's interest first and negotiate for the best price and terms for his or her client.
Notably, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® offers a seller's statement of property condition for use by real estate professionals and completion of this form by the current homeowner may assist buyers in learning about the property's history and condition from the seller before an offer to purchase is made.
C. Buyers should understand some important distinctions between these agents, however, and how those distinctions may affect their relationship with their agent.
For example, buyers should be aware that speaking to the seller's agent is no different than speaking to the seller. In other words, buyers should not tell the seller's agent anything they would not want the seller to know, since the seller's agent is obliged to disclose all relevant information to the seller.
A broker acting as a disclosed dual agent works for both the buyer and the seller on the same property, and may only do so after giving full disclosure and receiving the informed consent of both parties. Disclosed dual agents owe the buyer and the seller a duty to deal with them fairly and honestly. However, in this type of agency relationship the broker does not represent either the seller or buyer exclusively. The dual agent will not disclose confidential information received from one party to the other.
Furthermore, a buyer's agent can negotiate on behalf of the buyer and provide advice on how much to offer; a disclosed dual agent cannot. A buyer's agent can discuss with the buyer their objective opinion of a home's value, a dual agent cannot.
* As defined by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
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