One of the most important things a real estate agent can do for their clients is explain Agency relationship. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission requires that it be explained to everyone up front so there is no confusion for whom the agent is working for. All brokers should review the Working With Real Estate Agents Disclosure with their potential clients before having any detailed conversation with them. You can review the Working With Real Estate Agents for Seller’s and Buyers HERE.
In NC, a Real Estate agent can either be a Buyer’s Agent, a Seller’s Agent, or a Dual Agent.
As a Buyer’s Agent, the broker is working for “Team Buyer,” which means that we owe our fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer. You may begin with an oral agreement, but your agent must enter into a written buyer agency agreement with you before preparing a written offer to purchase or communicating an oral offer for you. The seller would either be represented by an agent affiliated with a different real estate firm or be unrepresented.
As a Seller’s Agent, the broker is working for “Team Seller”. He or she owes their fiduciary responsibilities to the seller. If you enter into a listing agreement, the listing firm and its agents would then represent you. The buyer would either be represented by an agent affiliated with a different real estate firm or be unrepresented
There are times when a broker can work for both the buyer and the seller. In this case, the broker is working as a Dual Agent and is no longer on a “Team.” S/he is working for both the buyer and the seller. In order to do this, the buyer and the seller must BOTH authorize the broker to work in this capacity. When working as a Dual Agent, the broker walks a fine line. S/he cannot divulge any information that would affect either the buyer’s or seller’s bargaining position and cannot advise either side on negotiations. As a dual agent, the only thing a broker can disclose is factual information and material facts.
We’ve spoken quite a bit about the Fiduciary responsibilities of an agent. What does that mean? Investopedia.com defines a fiduciary as “a person or organization that acts on behalf of another person or persons, putting their clients’ interests ahead of their own, with a duty to preserve good faith and trust. Being a fiduciary thus requires being bound both legally and ethically to act in the other’s best interests.” So, what are the fiduciary responsibilities of a broker? Just remember OLD CAR.
Obedience – As an agent of our clients we must obey them, provided that their instructions are legal, ethical and in keeping with the contract.
Loyalty – We owe our loyalty to our clients and always keep their best interests at heart.
Disclosure – We are required to disclose all material facts.
Confidentiality – We do not disclose anything that we learn about our client, their business, financial or personal affairs or motivations.
Accounting – We skillfully account for all documents and funds.
Reasonable Care – We are expected to have a certain level of knowledge of our business, our market and our region.
If you are looking for a Realtor who understands their responsibilities to a seller or a buyer, look no further than the WNC Real Estate Store, Inc! We are a full service, client-centric real estate brokerage that knows how to take care of their clients. Give us a call at 828-944-0664 and let us take care of you!