Buying or selling a home is often one of the largest financial transactions a person makes. It is important to consider the kind of legal relationship you might be entering into with the real estate agent you choose to assist you. The term “agent” is often used interchangeably with a real estate salesperson, broker, licensee or the real estate firm they are employed with. This brochure will refer to the individual representative as the “salesperson” and the real estate firm he/she works for as “the real estate firm” or “agent”.
When you engage a salesperson to represent you or act on your behalf in a particular matter an agent/client relationship arises between you and his/her real estate firm. This relationship can be created by contract such as when you sign a listing contract for the sale of your home or a buyer’s agency contract for representation in buying a home. It can also arise through the implied conduct and activity between you and the salesperson such as when the salesperson takes on the role of representing you in viewing properties, obtaining information, or assisting in negotiations. Through these actions and conduct, it may become evident that the salesperson has undertaken to represent you even though your legal relationship has never been discussed. In the absence of any written listing or buying contract with the real estate firm, an agent/client relationship can be created when a salesperson undertakes to do something on your behalf which results in your reliance and acceptance of the salesperson’s actions on your behalf.
Once an agent/client relationship is formed, the salesperson and his/her real estate firm take on duties and obligations intended to protect and promote your best interest in the transaction. The following outlines some of their duties arising out of an agent/client relationship in a typical real estate transaction:
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